Why is My Whirlpool Washer Stuck on Sensing?
The most common cause of a Whirlpool washer that is stuck on sensing is a faulty actuator. However, this problem may also be caused by a clogged drain pump, a failed door latch/lid switch, a torn drive belt, a faulty pressure switch, or faulty water inlet valves. The sensing function on a Whirlpool washer detects the size of the laundry load and adjusts the amount of water in the washer accordingly. If your washer is stuck on this sensing cycle, it will be unable to advance through the rest of the cycles and clean your laundry. This guide will show you how to troubleshoot these faulty parts and get your washer running normally again.
Faulty Whirlpool Washer Shift Actuator
The shift actuator is responsible for controlling the movement of the washer's agitator and spin basket during the wash cycle. It ensures that the washer switches between washing, spinning, and other cycles smoothly. If the shift actuator is faulty, it will be unable to move through the cycles and may leave your washer stuck on one cycle, such as the sensing cycle. You will need to replace the shift actuator to fix your washer.
How to Replace the Shift Actuator to Fix a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Ensure the washer is unplugged from the electrical outlet to guarantee your safety while working on it.
- Turn off the water supply to the washer and disconnect the hoses.
- Depending on your model, there might be screws at the back or end caps that need to be removed to release the control panel.
- Lift the control panel and locate the actuator. It's typically positioned near the motor.
- Disconnect any wires attached to the actuator, making a note of their positions for reassembly.
- Remove any mounting screws securing the actuator to the washer.
- Install the new shift actuator in the same position and secure it with the mounting screws.
- Reconnect the wires to the appropriate terminals.
- Put the control panel back in place and secure it with screws or clips.
- Reconnect the water supply hoses.
- Plug the washer back in and run a test cycle to ensure that the new shift actuator is functioning correctly.
Clogged Whirlpool Washer Drain Pump
The drain pump is responsible for removing wastewater from your washing machine through the drain hose and into the drainpipe or washtub. If the drain pump is clogged, the washer cannot advance through its cycles, thus leaving your washer stuck on sensing. To fix this issue you will need to remove any obstructions that may be blocking the drain pump.
How To Access and Clean the Drain Pump in a Whirlpool Washer
- Disconnect your washing machine from the power outlet.
- Depending on your washer model, you may need to either remove the back panel of your washer to access your drain pump or you may need to remove the console and front panel. Check your user manual for the exact specifications.
- Locate the drain pump at the bottom of the washer, near the front or rear side, and place a bucket or towel underneath the pump area.
- Disconnect the hoses connected to the drain pump. It is normal for water to spill out at this point.
- Remove the mounting fasteners that secure the drain pump to the washer and pull it out.
- Remove and clean the pump filter if your model has one. Simply place it under warm rushing water to clear it of any debris.
- Inspect the inside of the pump housing for any debris or small/loose items such as coins or buttons.
- Inspect the pump impeller for any obstructions and ensure it can rotate freely.
- Once you are done, place the filter back onto the pump and return it to the washer.
- Secure the pump in place and reattach the hoses.
- Reassemble your washer in reverse order and run a short cycle to check that your washer is now functioning properly.
Faulty Whirlpool Washer Pressure Switch
The pressure switch helps to detect when the washer is sufficiently filled with water. It tells the control panel when it is time to start flushing out the water and tells the control board when the machine is empty, so that the spin cycle may begin. If the pressure switch experiences electrical issues or is physically damaged the washer will be unable to detect when it is time to advance to the next cycle. You will need to find a new pressure switch to replace the faulty one.
How To Test and Replace the Pressure Switch in a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Unplug your washer and turn off the water supply.
- Locate the pressure switch. It is typically found either under the control panel or under the top panel of your washer.
- Remove the air pressure tube from the old pressure switch gently, using a pair of pliers.
- Disconnect the wire harness from the pressure switch and remove the screws holding the switch in place.
- Inspect the switch for signs of damage and replace it if necessary.
- If there is no damage, you should test the pressure switch for continuity.
- Set your multimeter to the lowest setting or “ohms” setting.
- Connect the prongs on your multimeter to the two outside terminals.
- Blow into the hose to create pressure and check the reading on the meter. The reading should be close to “0”. If it is out of range, then the pressure switch will need to be replaced.
- Take your new pressure switch and place it in the same position as the old one.
- Reconnect the wire harness and secure the switch using the mounting screws.
- Reattach the air pressure tube and reassemble your washer.
Faulty Whirlpool Washer Water Inlet Valve
The water inlet valve controls the flow of water into the washing machine drum. If the valves are damaged or faulty, they will be unable to carry out this function. Your washer may remain stuck on the sensing cycle because it is unable to adjust the water levels in the washer due to the failure of the water valves. Browse our selection of genuine Whirlpool OEM water inlet valves to find a new one for your washer.
How to Replace a Faulty Water Inlet Valve in a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Disconnect the washing machine from the electrical outlet, and turn off the water supply.
- Pull the washing machine away from the wall.
- Disconnect the water hoses from the back of the washing machine.
- Remove the rear panel of the washer and disconnect the wiring from the faulty water inlet valve.
- Remove the mounting fasteners holding the valve in place, and carefully pull it out of the washer.
- Mount the new valve in place and secure it using the appropriate screws.
- Reconnect the wiring to the new valve and reassemble the washer in reverse order.
- Reconnect the water hoses to the new valve, and ensure each hose is in the right position.
- Restore the power to your washer and check whether it is properly functioning.
Faulty Door Latch
The door latch is responsible for keeping the washer door shut. When the door is closed, it engages with the strike, which communicates to the washer that it is safe to begin a cycle. If the door is unable to stay closed or communicate that it is closed, your washer may stop mid-cycle or fail to start altogether. You can explore our genuine OEM Whirlpool door latches here.
How to Replace the Door Latch to Fix a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Disconnect the washer from the power outlet.
- Open the washer door and carefully peel the door boot off the washer frame.
- Undo the mounting fasteners that hold the door latch in place. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced.
- If there is no visible damage, use a multimeter to test the switch for potential electrical failure.
- If you find that the latch should be replaced, simply discard the old one and position the new one over the mounting holes.
- Reconnect the wire harness and secure the new latch in place.
- Remember to return the door boot to the washer before closing the door to test that the latch is functional.
Faulty Whirlpool Washer Lid Switch
The lid switch is a safety mechanism found under the washer lid that. It is responsible for ensuring that the washer lid is securely shut so that the wash cycle can begin. If the lid switch is damaged or faulty the washer may not start, spin, drain or it may remain stuck on the sensing cycle, unable to advance. You will need to find a new pressure switch to replace the faulty one.
How to Replace the Lid Switch in a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Disconnect the washer from the power outlet.
- Take a putty knife and slide it under the top panel of the washer to release the clips the hold the lid in position.
- Carefully pull the top panel up and rest it against the washer.
- Disconnect the wiring harness. It may be helpful to take an image of how the wires are routed for reinstallation later.
- Inspect the switch for any physical damage and test the switch for continuity using a multimeter.
- Once you have established that the switch needs to be replaced, you can remove it from the washer and discard it.
- Place the new switch on the underside of the cabinet and secure it with the appropriate fasteners.
- Reattach the wiring harness using your image from earlier.
- Return the top panel of the cabinet to the washer.
- Reconnect the washer to the power outlet and check that it is now working.
Faulty Whirlpool Washer Drive Belt
The drive belt is a thin rubber strip that connects the motor to the drum, allowing it to spin. If the belt is frayed, loose or broken, it will be unable to transfer the power from the motor to the drum. The drum may not spin at all or become stuck on a cycle. You will need to replace the drive belt to restore your washer's functions.How to Replace the Drive Belt in a Washer Stuck on Sensing
- Unplug the washer from the power source, and turn off the water supply to the washer.
- Disconnect the water supply hoses from the back of the washer.
- Remove the fasteners along the back panel of the washer and pull the panel off.
- Inspect the drive belt to verify whether it is in good condition. Replace the belt if it can no longer maintain tension or it is visibly cracked.
- Rotate the tub drive pulley to release the old belt.
- Loop the new belt around the motor pulley and place the other end on the tub drive pulley. Ensure that the grooved side is facing inwards.
- Rotate the tub drive pulley to secure the new drive belt.
- Reassemble the washer in reverse order and reconnect the water supply hoses.
How to Reset Your Whirlpool Washer
Your washer may be stuck on the sensing cycle due to a control board error. If you have tried the steps above and your washer is still not working you can follow the steps below to reset your washer.
- Disconnect the washing machine from the power outlet. To perform a hard reset, you can also turn it off at the circuit breaker.
- Leave the washing machine unplugged for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Reconnect the washer to the power outlet and turn it on at the circuit breaker.
- Run a short cycle to check that the washer is now working. If you would like more detailed instructions on how to reset your washer, follow our Whirlpool reset guide.
We know how frustrating it can be when you can't do your laundry. Following the guide above should help you to fix your washer and allow it to advance past the sensing cycle. Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning will help keep your Whirlpool washer running efficiently for many more years.