Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing – Trouleshooting Guide – DIY Appliance Repairs, Home Repair Tips and Tricks (2023)

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Many Whirlpool washers these days come with a sensing function. When you start a new wash cycle, the cycle begins with the washer sensing the load inside. It can automatically choose an optimal water level based on the number of clothes you’ve put inside.

A Whirlpool washer should only stay in the sensing stage for 2-3 minutes. When it gets stuck on sensing, it’s likely because of a faulty water inlet valve, shift actuator, drive motor, or main control board. A fault at any of those parts can prevent the washer from advancing past the sensing stage.

Diagnosing this issue can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. This guide will show you the affected parts, what they do, how they fail, and what you can do to resolve the issue.

Why Is My Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing?

There are a handful of reasons why your washer won’t progress past its sensing stage.

This section will help you understand each affected part, what it does, and how you can fix it.

Water Inlet Valve

What this part does: The water inlet valve on your Whirlpool washer controls the inflow of all clean water into the machine. It’s a mechanical component with moving parts, and the washer controls its actions electrically.

When you start a new wash cycle, the valve will open and allow water to flow into the drum.

As soon as the drum has enough water inside, the washer will signal the water inlet valve to shut and stop water from coming in. That will prevent the washer from overflowing and flooding your laundry room floor.

What’s likely happening: There’s a likelihood that the washer is taking too long to fill with enough water. It seems to be stuck in Sensing and doesn’t start the wash cycle you selected.

A slow fill could result from a water inlet valve that has failed mechanically or electrically.

Mechanically, the valve could have dirt or corrosion around the valves that prevent them from opening completely. That will delay the filling process.

(Video) My washer is stuck in sensing mode. It’s a whirlpool maybe 5

Besides that, an electrical failure could result in the water inlet valve not receiving enough power to function correctly.

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How to fix it: Unfortunately, the water inlet valve is not repairable. So, you’ll have to replace it with a new one regardless of if it suffers a mechanical or electrical failure.

You can access the valve inside the washer at the back. First, remove the screws that hold it in place, then disconnect the wiring and attached hoses.

Mount the new water inlet valve in the same place and reconnect everything the same way.

Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing – Trouleshooting Guide – DIY Appliance Repairs, Home Repair Tips and Tricks (1)

Read: Whirlpool Washer Code F21 – Troubleshooting Guide

Shift Actuator

What this part does: The shift actuator has several functions. Generally, it helps the washer advance to the next stage of the wash cycle.

Inside your Whirlpool washer, the actuator physically shifts the splutch cam ring when necessary. At the same time, it monitors the position of the splutch to ensure that it’s in the correct position at all times.

The shift actuator also has an optical sensor built into it that monitors the position and speed of the Whirlpool washer’s transmission.

What’s likely happening: When your Whirlpool washer is stuck on sensing, another possibility to consider is that the shift actuator is no longer working. As a result, the washer fails to advance to the next stage in the wash cycle.

(Video) Washing Machine Stuck on Sensing or Not Washing Don't Throw It Away Try This Cheap Fix!

The shift actuator fails due to a mechanical or electrical failure.

Mechanically, the actuator’s moving parts might have broken off. That will prevent it from shifting the splutch cam ring.

Electrically, the part might have suffered damage from an electrical fault, like a short circuit or damage from a power surge. In addition, a water leak at the tub seal could cause water to damage the shift actuator.

How to fix it: Whether it fails mechanically or electrically, you’ll have to replace the shift actuator. Before you do that, though, you should inspect the actuator visually and with a multimeter.

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Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
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Once you confirm that the part is damaged or does not have electrical continuity, you can replace it with a new one.

Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing – Trouleshooting Guide – DIY Appliance Repairs, Home Repair Tips and Tricks (2)

Read: Whirlpool Washer Code F27 – Troubleshooting Guide

Drive Motor

What this part does: Think of the drive motor as the heart of your Whirlpool washing machine. It uses electricity to generate the power to spin the washer drum in both directions.

While your Whirlpool washer is in the sensing stage, the drive motor will turn the drum occasionally. That will help the washer sense the load inside and adjust the wash cycle accordingly.

What’s likely happening: Your Whirlpool washer is stuck in the sensing stage because there’s a problem with the drive motor. Unfortunately, the motor can also suffer from electrical damage and general wear.


A problematic drive motor can prevent the washer from completing the sensing stage and advancing to subsequent stages of the wash cycle.

Firstly, the drive motor in a Whirlpool washer can experience electrical damage like other components mentioned in this troubleshooting guide. For instance, a short circuit or power surge could damage the motor’s components and prevent them from working correctly.

However, you must also consider the age of your Whirlpool washer. The older the washer is, the higher the likelihood that the motor has simply worn out.

That’s especially true if you’ve overworked the motor repeatedly with heavy laundry loads over the years.

How to fix it: The drive motor is another part that you can only replace because it’s not repairable. However, the motor is a costly part, so you’ll want to inspect it very closely before you decide to get a new one.

Washing machines and their drive motors generally last about 10 years. Depending on the age of your Whirlpool washer, it might also be worth considering a new machine altogether.

Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing – Trouleshooting Guide – DIY Appliance Repairs, Home Repair Tips and Tricks (3)

Read: Whirlpool Washer Code F22 – Troubleshooting Guide

Main Control Board

What this part does: While the drive motor is the heart of your Whirlpool washer, the main control board is its brain. It’s a printed circuit board (PCB) loaded with plenty of tiny components, each controlling a different function in your washing machine.

What’s likely happening: When you’ve finished troubleshooting everything else but still can’t find a solution, a failed main control board is the final possibility.

Typically, a problem on the main control board will only affect some of the machine’s functions. So, even though your washer turns on and looks like it’s working at first glance, a fault board could be causing the machine to stay stuck on sensing.

How to fix it: Technically, it is possible to repair only the affected components on the main control board. Unfortunately, not many places provide that expertise, so it’s not the most practical solution.

(Video) Fixing A Kenmore/Whirlpool HE Washing Machine Stuck In Sensing Mode!

Once you’re sure that the main control board is to blame, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.

The board has a separate housing inside the washer, so you’ll have to remove it and disconnect all its electrical wires.

Then, you’ll fit the new board into place and reconnect all the wires the same way as before.

Read: Whirlpool Washer Code F20 – Troubleshooting Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few more questions and answers to help you troubleshoot your Whirlpool washer that’s stuck on sensing:

How Do I Reset My Whirlpool Cabrio Washer?

The quickest way to reset your Whirlpool Cabrio washer is through power cycling. First, disconnect the washer’s plug from its wall socket. Then, leave the washer alone for 5 minutes before reconnecting that plug.

What Does Resetting A Washing Machine Do?

Resetting a washing machine will clear any electronic faults that might have occurred. Situations like power interruptions and surges, for example, could cause your Whirlpool washing machine to behave in unusual ways. Resetting the machine will help restore regular operation.

How Long Does A Whirlpool Washer Stay On Sensing?

The sensing stage on a Whirlpool washer typically lasts 2-3 minutes. However, the washer might take a little longer to do that, in some cases, so give it a few extra minutes before troubleshooting it for problems.

What Does Sensing Mean On My Washing Machine?

Some washing machine models start the wash cycle with a sensing stage. Its purpose is to allow the washer to measure the load inside. That’s part of the sensing process and should complete within 2-3 minutes.

How Does A Washing Machine Sense Water Level?

A Whirlpool washer senses the volume of water inside using a pressure switch. It’s a mechanical switch connected to an air tube somewhere inside the machine. So as water fills the tub, it’ll cause the air in that tube to trigger the switch when it reaches a particular level.

Read: Whirlpool Washer Not Spinning And Clothes Are Still Wet?


Why does my Whirlpool washer keep saying sensing? ›

If the water level seems too low, or if the washer does not fill completely, auto-sensing helps stabilize the amount of water used. The washer senses the size of the load and adds the correct amount of water for the load size. You may notice during a cycle that the wash load is not completely submerged in water.

How do I reset my Whirlpool auto sensing washing machine? ›

Rotate your dial until you have the following three lights illuminated: RINSE, WASH, and STOP. Then turn off your washer and unplug it for ten seconds. When you turn it back on it should be reset.

How long should a washer be in sensing mode? ›

These sensing spins may take 2 to 3 minutes before water is added to the load. The washer will then move the load briefly, pause to allow water to soak into the load, and resume adding water. This process may repeat until the correct amount of water has been added to the load.

Why is my Whirlpool washer sensing but not filling with water? ›

One common reason for a Whirlpool washer not filling with water is that the water inlet valve is not open or is clogged. The water inlet valve supplies water to the washer, and if it's not open or does not supply enough water, your Whirlpool washer will not fill up.

How do you bypass a washing machine sensing? ›

Here is a simple way to do this:
  1. Let us say you have 2 lbs of clothes.
  2. Add the 2 lbs of clothes in the washtub.
  3. Before commencing the wash cycle, pour 4 lbs of water over the clothes and let water to soak into the fabric.
  4. Start the wash cycle. ...
  5. You have successfully bypassed water level sensor.
Nov 5, 2020

How do I manually reset my washing machine? ›

If you see no change, you can try a Master Reset. This will reset all of the onboard componentry and is often successfully used by appliance technicians. Open and close the door of the washing machine 6 times within 12 seconds. Then, run the rinse/spin cycle without clothing to see if your problems are resolved.

What are the most common problems on a Whirlpool washing machine? ›

Here are seven of the most common problems on a Whirlpool washing machine and potential fixes for them.
  • Washer Making Unusual Noises. ...
  • Washer Won't Start. ...
  • Washer Lid Won't Lock. ...
  • LD Error Code Appears. ...
  • Washer Leaves Deposits on Dark Clothes. ...
  • Washer Has a Burned Plastic Odor. ...
  • Rust Spots Appear on Washer Lid.
Jun 14, 2022

Why is my machine stuck on sensing fill? ›

There are several possible reasons why your washing machine may be stuck on sensing fill. The most common reasons include overloading of the drum, a clogged inlet screen, a faulty inlet valve, or a failure of the main control board.

What is a washing machine doing when sensing? ›

The Initial sensing

Your washing machine automatically adjusts the amount of water needed and the cycle time necessary based on the weight of the laundry in the drum before starting the washing cycle.

What causes a Whirlpool washer not to drain or spin? ›

Drain hose kinks or blockages are often responsible for a Whirlpool washer not draining. If the hose is jostled or pushed too closely against the wall a kink can form and restrict the flow of water. Sometimes, the hose can be gently straightened to remove the kink.

Where is the load sensor switch on a Whirlpool washer? ›

This sensor switch is located in the top console of the washer, and is usually labeled as the water temperature control (A.T.C. control). This switch senses the load inside the washer, and automatically adjusts the water level in the tub to the proper level.

Why sensor of washing machine is not working? ›

Inspect the tube for kinks and/or holes. Correct any problems by straightening or replacing the tube. Clean and clear the tube if you find gunk in it. A good cleaning may be all that's needed to correct a malfunctioning switch, but continue troubleshooting with the next step.

Can you manually unlock a washing machine? ›

Turning off the machine at the mains should allow the door lock to cool down, and after a few minutes, you'll be able to open the washing machine door. The interlocks can take some time to release at the end of the cycle, so be patient. The most common cause is water left in the machine. Try running a spin/drain cycle.

Does unplugging a washer reset it? ›

Reset your washing machine

What you can do instead is power cycle it: Unplug it (or turn off power at the circuit breaker), wait some time for the electrical charge to clear out of the washer (usually 1 to 5 minutes at most), and then power it up again. This is the closest you can get to a "reset" of the washer.

Do Whirlpool washers have a reset button? ›

Follow these steps to reset a Whirlpool washing machine: Make sure the power to the washer is turned on at the wall, but keep the Power button on the control off. Hold the Program button down while simultaneously pressing the Water Level button two times. When done correctly, the control panel lights should illuminate.

What is the cost of washing machine sensor? ›

₹449.00 FREE Delivery.

What is the first step in troubleshooting a not functioning washing machine? ›

A first step when troubleshooting any appliance is to confirm that it's drawing power. If your washing machine isn't showing any signs of life, check that the machine is plugged in. You can also test the outlet with another appliance, such as a phone charger.

What is a powerwash reset? ›

A Powerwash factory reset erases all the information on your Chromebook's hard drive, including your settings, apps, and files. The factory reset won't delete any of your files on Google Drive or an external hard drive. Before performing the reset, back up your files on Google Drive or an external hard drive.

How do you diagnose washer control and program problems? ›

How to Diagnose Washing Machine Control and Program Problems
  1. What You Will Need: ...
  2. Switch Off Your Appliance. ...
  3. Check 1 - Turning The Machine On. ...
  4. Check 2 - Recognise That It Is Filled With Water. ...
  5. Check 3 - Heating The Water & Proceed With Wash Cycle. ...
  6. Check 4 - Drain The Water & Proceed With Rinse Cycle.

How do you bypass the lock sensor on a Whirlpool washer? ›

Access the lid lock switch by unplugging your washer from the wall and turning off the water. Press a magnet against the lid lock mechanism for a quick, easy way to bypass the lid lock.

What does sensing mean on washing machine? ›

Your washing machine automatically adjusts the amount of water needed and the cycle time necessary based on the weight of the laundry in the drum before starting the washing cycle. Normally it is called 'Load Sensing' or 'Initial Sensing' when the appliance detects the laundry weight before the water fills the drum.

Why is the sensing fill light flashing? ›

See the following troubleshooting link: http://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=16539 If the fill light flashes, check your house water supply. As soon as the light starts to flash, the washer will initiate a 4 minute lock-out period.

How do you reset a deep fill washer? ›

To reset the electronic controls on your washer, shut off the circuit breaker or fuse to the washer or unplug the washer for 2 minutes. For models that have a timer control knob, turn the knob around and back to any position other than final spin for the interrupted cycle. Then, restore power.


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