Modern Whirlpool washing machines come with tons of useful features to make getting your laundry done easier and more convenient. One of these features is a digital display that can display lots of pertinent information, including error codes. Of course, you have to understand what these codes mean in order to take action if they appear.
The Whirlpool washer error code F20 indicates that there’s a problem with the water supply entering the washer. If for whatever reason water fails to enter the washer at the right time or the washer fails to sense when water is entering, the washer will display this error code and automatically cancel the wash cycle.
In this article, we’ll be going over the various issues that can cause your Whirlpool washing machine to present an F20 error code and showing you how to resolve these issues. We’ll also walk you through how to run your washer’s diagnostic mode and how to reset it if you have to.
Causes of an F20 Error Code
There are multiple reasons why your Whirlpool washer might be displaying an F20 error code, but in general, this only happens when the washer fails to detect water entering it during the wash cycle.
In most cases, this happens because the washer actually has been cut off from its water supply, but it can also sometimes happen due to an internal error within the washer.
Let’s now go over the possible causes of an F20 error code and explain why they happen and how you can deal with them.
Water Supply Is Not Properly Connected
This is a pretty simple cause of an F20 error, and one that is pretty easily resolved. Before anything else, you should first make sure that your washer is properly hooked up to its water supply.
Your washing machine has two inlet hoses, one for hot water and one for cold water. Both of these hoses need to be connected to the corresponding faucets in your home for the washing machine to work properly. If one of the faucets is turned off or one of the inlet hoses isn’t connected, the washer won’t have enough water to run.
Even if you’re only using your washer for cold water washes, your washer still uses some hot water for this (in washing machines with a cold water wash option, the water is generally kept between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit), so if you’re thinking about hooking your washer up to just your cold water supply then that is unfortunately not going to work.
Fortunately, as we’ve said, this is an easy issue to fix. Just make sure that your inlet hoses are properly connected to your water supply faucets and ensure that the faucets are turned all the way on.
Water Inlet Hose Is Kinked
This is another very simple problem with a simple solution. The inlet hoses for your washer obviously need to be clear and unobstructed for enough water to get through. If even one of the hoses gets blocked somehow, it can trigger an F20 error code.
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This can happen if one of the hoses gets kinked, which shouldn’t happen if you install your washer correctly. However, if you’re a bit careless during the installation or if you need to move the washer around for something, you might end up inadvertently kinking up one of the inlet hoses.
To solve this problem, just look around the back of your washer for the inlet hoses and see if any of them are kinked. If they are, straighten them out and try running your washer again.
Inlet Valve Screens Are Clogged
The inlet hoses that we’ve mentioned connect to your washing machine via its inlet valves. These valves are located on the back of the washer, and contain screens to prevent debris from getting into your washer via your water supply.
The downside of these screens, however, is that if enough debris builds up over them it can prevent water from being able to get through the inlet valves. When this happens, you’ll be presented with an F20 error code.
To solve this problem, turn off the water supply to your washer, then disconnect the inlet hoses from the valves and see if there are any particles or other blockages on the screens. If there are, remove whatever you find, then reconnect the hoses, turn your water supply back on, and see if that solves the problem.
Pressure Switch Is Broken
Your washer contains a pressure switch, which is used to regulate how much water enters the washer when it’s running. If this switch fails, however, your washing machine might overflow or it might not fill up at all, in which case you’ll see an F20 error code.
You can use a multimeter to see if the pressure switch is still working, although accessing the pressure switch can be a little tricky. The exact method of accessing your washer’s pressure switch will depend on the model of washer you have, but here is basically how it’s done:
- Unplug your washer from its power supply, and move it away from the wall it’s sitting against.
- Unscrew the top panel from your washer. The location of the screws keeping the top panel in place will vary depending on the model of washer, so it’s best to consult your owner’s manual to find out how to complete this step.
- Find the pressure switch inside the washer. The switch is round, and should have a wiring harness attached to it. Remove the wiring harness from the switch.
- Use your multimeter and test the pressure switch by inserting the multimeter probes into the slots where you would normally connect the wiring harness. If during any of your tests the multimeter gives you a reading of anything other than 0, it means your pressure switch is bad and will have to be replaced.
Improper Use of Detergent
Believe it or not, using your laundry detergent incorrectly can actually cause your washer to display an F20 error code. This is because using too much detergent, especially if it’s high-efficiency detergent, can cause oversudsing, which in turn can mess with your washer’s pressure switch and prevent it from detecting when water is entering the washer.
If you’ve accidentally added too much detergent to your washer and oversudsing is happening, you can eliminate the suds by adding a cap of fabric softener into your wash and running your washer for an extra rinse cycle.
Flood Prevention Device Is Shutting Off Water
If you’re using a flood prevention device with your washing machine, this might be what’s cutting off your water supply and causing your washer to give you the F20 error code. Flood prevention devices contain a valve that closes automatically if it detects that the flow rate through the device is too high.
If the device is loose on the water supply end, it may end up letting in more water than intended, which can trip the device and shut off the flow of water to the machine. It could also be that the device itself is faulty somehow.
Check to see if the device is loose, and if not, try installing a replacement flood prevention device.
How to Reset Your Whirlpool Washer
There are a couple of ways to reset a Whirlpool washer that is giving you an error code. You can either reset the washer via its control panel, or you can perform a hard reset by unplugging the washer from its power source. Let’s go over how to reset your washer using both of these methods.
To reset your Whirlpool washer via the control panel, find the button marked “Pause/Cancel” and press it twice. On some washers, the washer will start draining when you start it for the first time after resetting it. You won’t be able to cancel this drain cycle while it happens, but this is normal so don’t worry about it.
The other way to reset your washing machine is to disconnect it from its power source and leave it powered off for at least half a minute or so. You can do this either by unplugging the washer from its power outlet or by turning off the circuit breaker that the washer is connected to; whatever’s more convenient for you is fine.
How to Put Your Whirlpool Washer Into Diagnostic Mode
The diagnostic mode in your Whirlpool washer can be used to view any recent error codes and help you test different parts of your washer to determine if any of them aren’t working.
To put your washer into its diagnostic mode, you first need to make sure that the control panel is off and the washer’s door is closed. You can then activate diagnostic mode, which can be done with any of the buttons on the control panel (aside from the Pause/Cancel and Control Lock buttons).
Press any one of the buttons on the control panel and hold it down for 2-5 seconds and release it for 2-5 seconds. Repeat these two steps once, and then once more hold down the same key for 2-5 seconds. Once you press and hold the key for the third time, the washer should then start up in diagnostic mode.
The washer will then cycle through the last four error codes it displayed, and then run a quick test cycle. You can then exit diagnostic mode by pressing the power button twice.