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Whirlpool Washer Error Code F21 – DRAINING ERROR – How To Fix

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?

Whirlpool Washer Error Code F21 - DRAINING ERROR - How To FixWhirlpool Washer Error Code F21 – DRAINING ERROR – How To Fix?

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.

Whirlpool Washer - F21 Error Code on DISPLAYWhirlpool Washer – F21 Error Code on DISPLAY

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)

How to access the drain pump and filter on Whirlpool Washer with F21 Error CodeHow to access the drain pump and filter on Whirlpool Washer with F21 Error Code


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.

Whirlpool Washer with Error Code F21 - Check Pump and Filter for BlockageWhirlpool Washer with Error Code F21 – Check Pump and Filter for Blockage

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.

Whirlpool Washing Machine Parts - Drain Pump - Pressure Switch and moreWhirlpool Washing Machine Parts – Drain PumpPressure Switch and more

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.

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26 thoughts on “Whirlpool Washer Error Code F21 – DRAINING ERROR – How To Fix”

  1. Hi there. Machine (wfw9550ww10) is showing an F21. I did all the work up above. Including replacing the drain pump and pressure switch. When I run the diagnostic it does not get past C00 and gives me F21. Weird enough, at one point I ran it with the pressure valve hole not attached to the valve. In this case it gave me error f64 but the water and hot water was going into the drum so the inlet valve looks to be ok. When i plugged the hole into the pressure sensor again I got F21 again. All holes and drains were removed, checked and cleaned. Nothing was really dirty but i cleaned anyway. Any ideas what else it could be? .

  2. I’m wondering what the issues are if it is the pressure switch/water level switch? I checked the drain filter and the pump actually works, but never at the end of the cycle without sitting for awhile. For some reason, it will drain when water settles and I turn it to “drain & spin”.
    No blockages seen in the tubing. Help!

  3. This was very helpful! Saved me calling a repairman and spending a lot of money for an easy fix.


    You saved me from buying a new machine because I couldn’t find anybody to work on it! 5 people in one house and three hours to run one load of laundry….NOT where it’s at!
    It was so easy to take off the panel and clean the trap. So awesome! I’m one happy Momma!

  5. I received the F21 error code on the Whirlpool Duet Washer.
    I took the front panel off and noticed that the drain was indeed clogged.
    After cleaning the drain, I assumed we would be good to go….not the case.
    I received the F21 error code again.
    After watching more videos, i realized that the cause could be a clothing item stuck in the tubing boot that leads to the pump assembly.
    I took the clamp off between the pump and the boot and put a small snake up there….nothing.
    I then took the upper clamp off (a bit of a pain) and reached my hand in the hole to find a sock.
    Problem solved….nope.
    Put everything back together (getting up clamp back on was a major pain) and still F21 error code.
    I then took the pump out by simply undoing 2 clamps, pulling up on the orange tab, and lifting up…really easy.
    I took the screws for the pump off (3 of them) and go to the blades…the blades had a lot of play which apparently is a sign that the pump is bad.
    I ordered a new pump and the pump came the next day.
    Hooked up the new pump in 5 minutes and problem solved.
    I am NOT handy at all.
    The hardest part was taking off the factory installed clamps that can take 10 minutes.
    After that and with the new clamps, it was simple.
    It would have cost $250 to get it fixed for literally a 10 min. job after I figured out using auto clamps.

  6. I have revisited your post a few times now over the last year. I am now starting over from step one and going through them again before i buy a part. still getting f21 code here and there for no particular reason. cleaned out drain pump in past and has been nasty. now starting with drain lines. seem to blow the outlet at times, too. i will be back to see how i make out. your post has been very helpful.

  7. Hope this post saves someone some time & money. Had sporadic F21 code (approx every 3-4 washes). Followed the troubleshooting guide above. Found lint/debris in the filter. Cleaned the filter, the hose from the tub to the filter, and the hose from the pump to the outside drain. Ran a diagnostic test, and everything seemed to work. Now, an F21 code occurs about every 10-15 washes. Rechecked the filter and all the drain lines–everything clear. Got curious as to where the water drains from the tub to the filter. Ran my hand (inside the washer) between the tub and the rubber door seal–low & behold a GRUNGY SOCK. Removed and no more F21.

  8. Norman,

    Thank you for the post! That was my problem after all.
    For all those out there….this is what I did that worked.
    1) F21 error….internet says look at pump trap.
    2) Unscrewed pump trap……coins, usb key, other crap. Cleaned and replaced. FYI….when unscrewing the pump trap do is SLOWLY and let the water drain out little by little into a pan….this way you don’t get water all over the floor.
    3) Worked for one load. F21 again.
    4) Checked pump trap again (it could have gotten clogged again.) Nope, it was clean.
    5) Ran it again in spin cycle only. I could hear and feel pump turning……I LOOSENED the trap screw very little until I heard air get sucked into the system…then, magically, I could hear and feel that the pump was now pumping water. It worked! (but for two loads only…F21 again)
    6) I started it again and I reached under the washer behind the trap and could feel a rubber hose – except it was flat. When I opened the pump trap screw to let air seep in, the hose popped into it’s correct tube shape. This told me something was happening in the hose.
    7) I looked underneath and saw that the hose is connected to the drum with a huge-ass hose clamp. I tried to remove it….no luck…don’t have the right tool for it.
    8) Gave up, called the repair guy. He came and immediately told me to replace the pump. ($206 plus $60 install)
    9) Told him no…it’s not the pump, nor the computer, nor the drain, nor the trap….check the hose. He did not want to do it saying that if he removed the hose and it was NOT blocked that he would leave it as it is and he suggested I buy another washer. If it was blocked, he put the hose back and put back the hose clamp. I told him that was a deal.
    10) Hose clamp off……sock found……Hose clamp replaced with a screw type.
    11) Washing again.

    The way I see it…..the two major common problems must be blockage or pump failure….Always check blockage first.
    Good luck.

  9. Glad I came across your comment after several days of trying to figure out my F21 error. Ordered and replaced pump but didn’t fix the code. Turns out a sock was stuck between the tub and the rubber hose. When draining, it would suck flat like you say. Wasn’t hard to take the back access panel apart but I had to fight to try and get the clamp back on the rubber hose. Anyways, washer works great again and I have a spare drain pump..just in case:) .

  10. Your instructions we’re awesome! I was able to troubleshoot my way to my plugged drain pump, and cleared my F21 error code. Now I feel like a DIY Superwoman! Thank you for your help!

  11. Norman,

    I had the same problem, but it turns out there was part of a shirt or leggings stuck in the large rubber drain hose! I only noticed this after I replaced my drain pump a second time as I thought this was the culprit (anybody want to buy a slightly used drain pump?). After I removed it and cleaned the drain hose out it does not suck flat when draining and works like it should. It is tricky to get the clamp back on the drain hose, but otherwise you should be able to fix this yourself. Leave that raquetball-sized plastic ball in the drain hose, it prevents siphoning/backflow.

  12. Got F21 error. Followed these instructions and still was getting the error. Checked drain pump and it seemed to run fine. The washer was also not filling with water to begin with, so went to check hoses thinking maybe it was confusing a lack of water draining with a lack of water coming in in the first place and upon disconnecting hoses heard pressurized air escaping. Turned out faulty inlet valve was actually the culprit in our case.

  13. My Whirlpool Duet Steam Washer. When I’m doing a load it will not drain and it has the f21 code. When I push the Pause/Cancel button it drains all the water out with no problem. I did check the filter and nothing is in it. How can it drain with Pause/Cancel but not when it is doing a load? Any help would be great

  14. THANKS! NO MORE F21!!!! been frustrated for 3 years. Tried all ideas except understanding that drain pumps wear out. Replaced the pump. Now 2 weeks later and over 12 loads and NO MORE F21!!!! thanks. Cheaper on Amazon than buying a new stacked w/d. :-)

  15. Hello, i have a duet front loader. I have it all apart. The large rubber drain hose on the bottom of the drum sucks itself flat, it seems like it should be getting air from a vent of sorts in order to drain. Help.

  16. money in filter nylon stocking in pump , fixed, tip: dip out the water in the tub then pull out the filter :) :) :)

  17. I was getting the f21 error code, and to make matters worse, the machine wouldn’t shut off. It would act like it was powering off, making the noises, changing !ights, etc, but would continue to try to drain until I killed the breaker. I cleaned out the filter (flooding the laundry room in the process as i would have needed a bathtub to catch all the water), yet I still have standing water in the tub. The error code is gone though. I have someone coming out to replace the board, since it wouldn’t respond correctly, but I don’t think that will fix the standing water.

  18. My whirlpool front load washer is flashing F21 and i have cleaned the drain hose on back and replaced the the pump. I have standing water in the bottom of wahers that won’t drain. When i turn it on you can hear the pump motor running but its not pumping water out. Could it be blocked in the hose that comes from the tub. Any help would be appreciated thank you

  19. Thanks to your thorough list of all the possible issues around an F21 error I found the problem. A small nail perfectly embedded in the impeller. And now the drain filter is also free of those pennies, wrappers, and toy jewelry that had been slowly disintegrating for years!

  20. I have gotten 3 f20 errors in the past couple weeks and today I got this F21 error. I pressed cancel/reset and the machine drained, but wouldn’t do anything else, so I cleared all by unplugging the machine, and restarted it. Could some computer board be failing, or maybe a loose wire harness?

  21. How do I convert the illuminated lights (sensing, wash, rinse, drain, spin and done) to actual codes like F21?

  22. I am receiving the f21 error code, I have change the pressure sensor and pump, verified that all lines and pump is clear, did so by blowing air and getting bubbles easily, even the outlet line was clear. Which control center would be the issue?

  23. We have replaced our pump twice and now it still reads f21.
    The hoses are not clogged.
    No issues with the switch.

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