Frigidaire is well-known for its range of washers and laundry centers that work pretty well. Still, like any other brand, they’re designed to flash error codes when experiencing a problem. One of those codes is the E21 error code related to the washer’s draining function.
The E21 error code on a Frigidaire washer means the appliance is taking too long when draining water. The most likely triggers are a clogged drain hose, faulty drain pump, and failed main control board. Once you’ve resolved the root cause, you can reset the washer to clear the error code.
This guide will walk you through the most likely triggers of the E21 error code and show what you can do to fix them.
What The E21 Code Means On A Frigidaire Washer
When your Frigidaire washing machine displays the E21 error code, that means the appliance is not draining water fast enough.
One of the most critical functions of a washing machine is to drain used water out of the drum and remove it from the appliance. That used water, also known as ‘grey water’, contains diluted detergent, as well as dirt and lint, washed away from your laundry items.
Only when the washer is drained of all greywater can it refill with clean water and continue cleaning your laundry effectively.
The washer allows itself a specific amount of time to drain all of the water out. When that process takes too long, that’s a clear sign that there’s a problem.
Possible Causes And Solutions
The most likely reasons for slow draining in your Frigidaire washer is a clogged drain hose, a faulty drain pump, or a failed main control board. Let’s look at each of these components, how they become problematic, and what you can do to fix them.
Clogged Drain Hose
What it is: The drain hose is what connects your Frigidaire washing machine to your household or building’s drainage system. It’s a detachable hose that connects to the rear of your washer where used water flows out.
The hose itself is flexible, which allows you to position it any way you need to, which also gives you more options for where and how you position your washer in your laundry room.
How it fails: As mentioned earlier, using water from your washing machine includes diluted detergent, dirt, and lint. Unfortunately, those substances can get trapped inside the drain hose and cause a buildup that grows more severe over an extended period. When that happens, the flow of water will become increasingly restricted.
Besides that, the flexible drain hose can also become kinked or pinched, especially when heavy items fall on top of it.
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In both of these scenarios, the outflow of drain water will become too restricted, causing water to back up into the washer. That will trigger the E21 error code.
How to fix it: Thankfully, fixing this problem is very straightforward. Firstly, inspect your drain hose to ensure that it is free from any kinks and that no heavy objects have fallen onto it.
Then, detach the hose from the back of your washer and take it outside. Using a garden hose, flush the drain hose from both ends to remove any clogs inside.
Once the hose is clear, you can reattach it to your Frigidaire washer.
Faulty Drain Pump
What it is: The outflowing water from your Frigidaire washer won’t be able to drain entirely on its own. That’s why the washer requires the help of a drain pump.
This pump is designed for only one purpose: to help drive water out of the washing machine via the drain hose. So, when the pump is working correctly, the washer drum full of water will have no problems draining quickly.
How it fails: Unfortunately, the drain pump can also become faulty after a while. Remember: the water it drives out from the washer isn’t clean and contains diluted detergent, lint, dirt, and other impurities.
When the pump becomes faulty, it’s likely that those impurities have clogged the pump and are now preventing it from working correctly. Besides that, foreign objects from inside clothes pockets may have also gotten trapped in the pump.
Suppose your Frigidaire washer has been in use for many years. Well, in that case, it’s also likely that the drain pump might have become faulty due to excess wear and old age.
How to fix it: To resolve this issue, you must first inspect the drain pump. You can do this by removing the panel on your washer that gives you access to the area underneath the drum. There, you’ll be able to detach the pump’s electrical connections and remove them from the drum.
Careful, though. Any water in the drum will flood out when you detach the pump, so prepare a bucket, tray, or pieces of cloth to catch it.
Firstly, check for any clogs or foreign objects that you can remove from inside the pump. However, if the pump still won’t work after you’ve cleared it, that means you must replace it with a new one.
With the old one removed, all you have to do is mount the new drain pump in its place and replace the electrical connectors the same way as with the old one.
Failed Main Control Board
What it is: The main control board is like the brain of your washer. It consists of a printed circuit board with lots of tiny components attached to it. Each of those components controls the actions of a different part of your Frigidaire washing machine.
Depending on the wash program you’ve selected, the main control board will turn other washer components on and off as needed to finish washing your laundry.
How it fails: When experiencing the E21 error code, the failure is likely with the components on the control board responsible for the draining function. When those components fail, your washer will not be able to drain fast enough if it drains at all.
The components could have failed due to electrical damage (like a short circuit or electrical surge) or because water and excess heat have seeped into the control board and damaged it.
How to fix it: When a control board fails, you must replace it entirely. You can do so by removing the top panel of your Frigidaire washer and locating the main control board housing. Once you’ve done that, you can remove the existing board and replace it with the new one.
The trickiest part of this replacement is with the electrical connectors. There will be many of them, so take a photo before you remove anything. Then, you can use that photo as a reference when reconnecting them to the new control board.
How To Clear The E21 Code On Your Frigidaire Washer
Clearing the E21 error code requires you to resolve the root cause of the issue. You can do so by following the troubleshooting steps detailed above.
Once you’ve done that, you won’t have to worry about it triggering the code again.
Besides that, you can also clear the code by resetting the washing machine.
How To Reset A Frigidaire Washer
To reset your Frigidaire washer, you’ll have to turn it off and on again. This procedure is known as ‘power cycling’ and can be done following these steps:
- Firstly, the washer must be completely disconnected from its power source (i.e. the wall socket or the dedicated circuit breaker).
- Secondly, leave the washer alone for 30 seconds to drain any remaining electrical power inside.
- After that time, your washing machine is reset. Reconnect its power and continue using it normally.
How To Test Your Frigidaire Washer After Fixing It
Once you’ve fixed your Frigidaire washer, you can test it by running a complete wash program from start to finish. Since the E21 error code is related to the washer’s draining function, you’ll want to pay attention towards the end of the program to ensure the washer drains without any problems.
You can save time by choosing the shortest wash program available for this test.
How To Enter Diagnostic Mode And Read Error Codes On Your Frigidaire Washer
For a more thorough test of your washer, you can enter its diagnostic mode. The steps to do so are:
- Press these three buttons at the same time: Power, Extra Rinse, and Soak. The display will start blinking when you’ve entered the diagnostic mode.
- Once in diagnostic mode, you can test the washer’s functions individually by pressing the following buttons:
- For the wash test, use the Soil Level button.
- For the spin test, use the Temp button.
- For the water valve test, use the Fabric Softener button.
- For the auto-sensing test, use the Delay button.
- Finally, press the Power button to end the current test if you want to start another one.