Whirlpool Washer F21 Error Code Explained

Register Appliance
May 6, 2024
Washer Repair

It’s always stressful when an error code appears on one of your appliances; however, error codes can be helpful! They help you understand exactly what type of error your appliance is experiencing, which makes it possible to troubleshoot and fix the issue. 

In Whirlpool washers, the F21 error code means your washer is experiencing drainage issues, and the drum is not able to fully drain. This sounds daunting, but in many cases, it’s a relatively easy fix—there are a few potential solutions that even a novice DIYer can use to solve the issue. Let’s dive in!

This guide applies to all popular models of Whirlpool washers, including:






















Try a Reset

It may sound almost too simple, but the first step worth trying when you have any error code is to reset your washer. If your washer has experienced a glitch, power surge, or random software problem, it can cause an error code to display even when there isn’t an underlying reason. 

In this case, resetting your washer can totally solve the issue and restore normal function without having to undertake any repairs. Note that if the error code doesn’t clear, or if it immediately returns, this indicates there is a deeper issue and you will need to investigate further.

To reset:

  1. Disconnect your washer from the power source. You can either flip the circuit breaker that corresponds to the washer, or you can unplug it. It must be completely unplugged, not just turned off at the outlet. 
  2. Wait for at least two minutes to allow the electrical charge to completely dissipate. 
  3. Reconnect the washer to the power outlet and check if the error code is still displaying. 
  4. If there’s no error code, run a test cycle to make sure the error code doesn’t return during the drainage part of the cycle. If it does, move on to the next step in our guide.
  5. Keep an eye out for the error code recurring in the future, particularly during the drain phase.

Check the Drainage Hose

The drainage hose is the conduit for removing dirty water from your washer both during and at the end of the wash cycle. If the drainage hose is obstructed in some way, like if it is kinked, clogged, or in the wrong position, it can mean your washer won’t drain successfully. This can trigger your washer to display the F21 error code, which tells you that water is still remaining in the drum. 

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Locate the drainage hose. In most washers, the drainage hose will be located at the back of the appliance and connected to a drainage pipe or laundry sink. 
  2. Check the drainage hose for kinks or pinches. If the drainage hose has a sharp bend, or if something is pressed against it and pinching it, water flow out of the drum can be restricted. Straighten out any bends or pinched areas to ensure easy water flow. 
  3. Make sure the hose is installed properly. If the hose is too high or low, it can cause drainage and backflow issues. It should ideally be 30 inches from the floor in top loaders and 24 inches from the floor in front loaders.
  4. Check for any internal clogs. Remove the drainage hose from the back of your Whirlpool washer, and remove the other end from the drainpipe. Check for any blockages, and use a length of wire to clear out any clogs. Run water through the pipe to ensure it is unobstructed before putting it back in place. 
  5. Run a test cycle. Do this to make sure the error is fixed and doesn’t recur. 

Clean the Filter

The drain pump filter’s job is to catch lint, coins, and other loose, small items that might end up in the washing machine. If the filter gets clogged, the water flow to the drainage hose can be impeded, meaning water can’t fully drain. This prompts the Whirlpool washer to display the F21 error code. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Locate the pump filter. In most models, this is at the bottom front right of the washer, behind a small panel. If you can’t find it, check your Whirlpool manual. 
  2. Prepare for leaks! Get some old towels and a shallow pan or bowl ready to catch any water that might leak out. 
  3. Open the filter cover panel. If your washer model has a mini drainage hose, use this to drain any residual water. Then, unscrew the filter cap and remove the filter unit. 
  4. Clean the filter thoroughly. Rinse it under running water to remove any debris. Use a brush if necessary to get all the dirt off. 
  5. Clean the filter housing. Check that there is no remaining debris in the filter housing that could be impeding water flow. 
  6. Replace the filter. Then, put the cover back on, and run a test cycle to make sure the error code has been resolved. 

Check the Drain Pump for Damage

The drain pump in Whirlpool washers works to pump water out of the machine during the wash cycle. If the drain pump is broken or obstructed in some way, water won’t be able to drain, leading to the F21 error code. The pump might be experiencing electrical problems, or it could be blocked by something that was put in the washer accidentally. 

Note that fixing the drain pump is a bit more technical than the other fixes in our guide, so if you don’t feel confident, make sure you call in an experienced technician.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Unplug the washer and locate the drain pump. Check your manual to find out how to access it in your particular model.
  2. Check for foreign objects that might be blocking the pump or the pump impeller. This could be coins, buttons, or even tiny clothing items like baby socks. 
  3. If you can’t see any blockages, it’s time to check if the pump is functioning. Disconnect it from the wiring harness and test the pump with a multimeter for continuity. 
  4. If the pump shows no continuity, you can either purchase and install a replacement pump or engage a professional technician to do this for you. 
  5. Once the pump has either been cleared or replaced, reassemble your washing machine. 
  6. Run a test cycle to make sure the machine is working and the error code is gone.
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