What does F21 mean on Whirlpool Washer? I have a Whirlpool Duet front loading washer that keeps flashing the F21 code. When this code appears, the washer refuses to finish certain cycles. What causes the Whirlpool error code F21? Is there anything I can do to fix it myself without having to call an appliance repair service?
The Whirlpool washer error code F21 means the washing machine has a “water draining issue”, meaning the drain pump itself, or the drain hose is clogged and the washer is having problems draining the water out. In other words, the washer is taking too long to drain the water out of the tub.
Most COMMON reasons for the F21 error code to display on Whirlpool washer:
-The washer drain hose located at the back of the washer may be blocked with lint or may be bent.
-The drain filter on the drain pump can be blocked or clogged.
-The washer drain pump located in the bottom of the washer may have major blockage.
-The washer drain pump could be faulty and needs to be removed and replaced.
Other UNCOMMON reasons for the F21 error code to display on Whirlpool washer:
-The drain pump wiring harness is damaged or the harness itself does not have a secure connection to or from the main control board.
-There may be a loss of communication from the drain pump to the main control board if the pressure switch is faulty.
-The drain where the washer drains out the water may be blocked. (The drain in the wall or floor where the drain hose drains into)
Try this first to see if the Whirlpool will CLEAR the error code… Press PAUSE/CANCEL two times to clear the display.
Here is what to do when your Whirlpool washer shows F21 error code:
1 – Check the drain hose located at the back of the washer to be sure it is not clogged, bent, or blocked in any way. Remove the drain hose and check to be sure there is no large lint blockage that is preventing the washer from expelling the water. Also be sure the drain in the wall (where the drain hose drains the water out) is not blocked or clogged.
(Use caution sliding the washer forward – pay attention to the water lines and the electrical cord so you do not pull them out)
NOTE: If the drain hose was clogged and you cleared the drain hose of any blockages or bends, run a test wash to see if the F21 error has now cleared.
2 – Remove power to the washing machine to gain access to the drain pump, the drain filter, and the wiring inside the washer by removing the lower bottom access panel.
(You can access the drain pump and drain pump filter by removing the screws on the front lower panel on the washer – you will then see the drain pump, the drain filter (lint trap), and the wiring on the drain pump)
Whirlpool Duet washer will not drain – F21 Error Fix
3 – Once power is removed from the washer and the bottom panel is removed, place a large towel or low profile cooking tray on the floor to catch any water that is still in the drain filter. Unscrew the drain filter, some water will drain out and there will likely be many foreign objects inside blocking the water flow. Clean the debris filter (lint trap) out and put cap back on.
(Commonly the drain pump filter is filled with debris and when the water tries to drain out, the debris in the filter prevent the water from draining out and therefore the F21 error displays)
NOTE: If the drain filter was clogged and you cleared the filter of any blockages, put everything back together and run a test wash to see if the F21 error has now cleared.
4 – Check that the wiring harness on the drain pump itself is secure and there is no visible damage to the wires.
(Loose or damaged wiring will not allow power to be sent to the drain pump and therefore the drain pump cannot drain)
NOTE: If the drain pump had a loose wire harness and you secured it, put everything back together and run a test wash to see if the F21 error has now cleared.
5 – Check the water drain lines that are connected to the drain pump to be sure there is no blockage in the lines.
(The water drain lines attached to the drain pump may have become clogged with lint or other foreign debris and preventing the draining process which leads to the error code F21)
6 – Check the pressure switch/water level switch to be sure it is working properly.
(To get to the pressure switch, remove power to the washer, take off the top panel, remove 3 screws in the back of the washer and the pressure switch is on top to the right and looks like a small disk with a small hose connector on the side of it)
7 – After cleaning out the drain filter, checking the pressure switch (if applicable), the drain lines, and checking the wiring harness, you can put panel back on, apply power back to the washer to attempt a test wash. Run a test wash. If the test wash is successful and no F21 error code displays, you have fixed your washer.
(If the error code F21 reappears after doing all of the above, you will need to remove power, remove the panel, remove the drain pump from the washer and find whether the drain pump is clogged internally, mechanically faulty, or electrically faulty)
If after troubleshooting and you assume the drain pump IS the issue, be sure the drain pump is receiving power when the drain cycle starts. The drain pump should be getting 120vac voltage when pumping. If so, it may seem as if the drain pump is not working but may actually be that the control board is faulty and not sending power to the drain pump when the drain cycle begins.
After being sure the drain pump is getting power from the washer when the drain cycle starts, you can then assume the issue is the drain pump itself. You will need to troubleshoot the drain pump. You can take it apart and check it internally for blockage. If the drain pump is mechanically faulty or electrically faulty, you will need to replace the drain pump.
NOTE: Officially the F21 Error Code on Whirlpool Washers means there is an issue with the DRAIN PUMP. We have found the F21 error code will display even when another part of the washer fails or is clogged. This is usually in conjunction with the drain pump having partial blockage and another component of the washer has failed, is damaged, is blocked, or is clogged.
Whirlpool washing machine drain pump replacement and diagnostics
If you have any questions concerning the F21 error code on your Whirlpool washer, please ask us by using the comments section below.