Whirlpool manufacturers a wide range of household appliances, including washing machines. Aside from effectively washing laundry, they’re also designed to display error codes to let you know whenever they experience a problem.
The F21 error code on a Whirlpool washing machine indicates that there’s a drain problem. More precisely, the washer is draining too slowly or even not at all, resulting in leftover water in the drum and clothes that are soaking wet after washing. The most likely reasons for this problem are a kinked or pinched drain hose, a clogged drain filter, or a faulty drain pump.
In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into the meaning of the F21 error code, what triggers it, and how you can fix it.
What the F21 code means on your Whirlpool Washer
Suppose you find that your Whirlpool washer is showing the F21 error code. If that’s the case, that means the machine is experiencing a drain problem. For example, the water might be draining too slowly or not at all. As a result, the F21 code gets triggered to alert you of a problem.
Draining is one of the most crucial functions of a Whirlpool washing machine, regardless of the model. Water must be able to flow into the machine and drain out efficiently so that all of your laundry will come out clean and free of stains.
So, in other words, the F21 error code is something you should take seriously. The sooner you troubleshoot the problem, the sooner you’ll be able to use the machine like usual.
As mentioned above, the F21 error code is caused by a drain problem. So, there are some tell-tale signs that you can look out for to confirm the problem. Two of them are:
- Your washing machine takes too long to drain water from the drum completely.
- At the end of the wash cycle, you find that there’s water remaining in the drum and your clothes are still soaking wet.
Washing machine error codes can sometimes be inaccurate and misleading. So, when you see the F21 code accompanied by these tell-tale signs, that confirms the presence of a drain problem.
Before troubleshooting and repairing your Whirlpool washer, be sure to disconnect it from its power and water sources. Taking this precaution will reduce your overall risk of electrocution and injury.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Here are the most likely reasons you’re experiencing the F21 error code and what you can do to fix them.
Kinked, Pinched, or Clogged Drain Hose
What it is: When used water is drained from your Whirlpool washer, it exits the machine and flows through a drain hose. That hose is designed for one purpose only: to carry wastewater out of the machine and into your household’s drainage system.
You’ll find the drain hose on the back of the machine, closer towards the bottom. It’s detachable and also flexible so that you can position it in whatever way is necessary based on your laundry room’s layout.
How it fails: The fact that your washer’s drain hose is flexible makes arranging the machine a lot easier. However, that flexibility also means that the hose can get kinked or pinched quite easily.
For example, the drain hose might be pinched underneath the back of the washing machine by mistake. The same can happen if the washer is pushed against the wall behind it with the drain hose caught in between.
On top of that, the drain hose might also be clogged with lint, dirt, and debris. This problem can happen over a long period as the lint builds up until it becomes a full-on blockage.
When any of the above happens, water flow through the drain hose becomes restricted, causing it to back up all the way into the washer. As a result, the F21 error code will be triggered.
How to fix it: Fixing this problem is pretty straightforward. Firstly, inspect the length of the drain hose for any kinks or pinched sections. Then, straighten the hose as needed.
Once you’ve confirmed that the hose’s position is alright, you can check inside for a clog. Next, detach the hose and flush it out with a garden hose outside to clear any blockages. Then, reattach the hose.
Clogged Drain Filter
Source: Hello Homestead
What it is: As water is drained out of the drum, it flows through a drain filter before it leaves the machine. That filter is located at the bottom of the front panel, concealed behind a small door. The filter is primarily meant to catch lint and dirt. However, it also catches any foreign objects from clothes pockets like coins and pens.
How it fails: Like any other filter, the drain filter in your Whirlpool washer will get saturated over time. Small bits of lint and dirt will eventually catch more of the same until the filter is completely covered. At that point, water can no longer flow through the filter, causing a backup of wastewater and triggering the F21 error code.
How to fix it: To fix this, simply remove the drain filter from the washer. Before doing that, drain the water out into a tray or bucket using the tube next to the filter. Then, twist the filter counter-clockwise to remove and clean it in your kitchen sink or elsewhere.
With the filter now cleaned, you can reinstall it in your washer.
Faulty Drain Pump
What it is: The drain pump is located towards the bottom of the machine, under the drum. It’s designed to drain water out efficiently and drive it out through the drain hose. This pump will turn on one or more times throughout the wash program and once more at the end during the spin cycle.
How it fails: Drain pumps can fail electrically and mechanically. For example, the pump might lack continuity, so it doesn’t run even when supplied with power. Besides that, the pump’s impeller might be damaged, or a foreign object might be stuck inside the pump.
How to fix it: When it comes to a damaged drain pump, the best solution is to replace it entirely. The drain pump is located towards the bottom, whether you’re working with a top or front-loading washer. So start by removing the washer’s panels to gain access to the pump.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to disconnect the hoses and electrical connectors attached to it. Then, you can unthread the bolts holding it in place.
From there, you can remove the old pump and replace it with a new one. Then, reconnect the hose and electrical connectors the same way as before.
How To Clear The F21 Error Code On Your Whirlpool Washer
The most effective way to clear the F21 error code for good is to first troubleshoot and fix the root cause by following the steps described above. Otherwise, the error code will persist and return shortly after you clear the code.
Once that’s done, you can clear the code by pressing the Pause/Cancel button. If that does not work, you can then proceed to reset the washing machine.
How To Reset A Whirlpool Washer
Resetting a Whirlpool washer is very straightforward. You can do that by following these steps:
- Firstly, unplug your washing machine entirely from its wall socket.
- Next, leave the washer alone for at least one minute. During this time, the machine will discharge any retained electrical charge it has inside.
- Lastly, reconnect the washer’s power supply and continue using it like normal.
How To Test A Whirlpool Washer After Fixing It
Once you’ve repaired and reset your washing machine, you’ll want to test and ensure that it’s in good working condition. You can do that by running a complete wash program and seeing if all the washer’s functions are working correctly.
Seeing as how the F21 error code is related to draining, you’ll have to wait until the end of the cycle to ensure that the drain function works as it should. If you’d like to save time, select the shortest cycle available, such as the Drain ; Spin cycle, which only takes 15-30 minutes to complete.
Besides that, another way to test your washer more thoroughly is to enter the diagnostics mode of your washer.
How To Enter Diagnostic Mode On A Whirlpool Washer
The diagnostic mode can be very helpful in troubleshooting your washer. When you enter the diagnostic mode on your Whirlpool washer, the machine will run through several different testing stages. Each stage will test a specific function of the washer, and you’ll see an error code is displayed if there is a problem.
To enter the diagnostic mode on your Whirlpool washer, follow these steps:
- Firstly, turn the dial to Clean Washer.
- Next, press the Start button four times, all within 5 seconds. Doing this will put the machine into diagnostics mode.
After that, the machine will spend the next few minutes going through different stages to test functions like the fill, spin, and drain functions. If there are any problems, the washer will display error codes.