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Whirlpool Washer Won't Start? Fix it Easily: Expert Tips & Solutions

November 9, 2023

Is your Whirlpool Washer not starting? Discover easy-to-follow expert solutions to this problem. Fix your washing machine in a jiffy and save time.

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Everyone dreads the moment when a household appliance suddenly stops working, particularly when it’s an essential item like a washing machine. Problems with a washing machine don’t develop overnight; usually, there are early signs that homeowners can pick up on. Whirlpool is a popular brand known for its high-quality washers that cater to a wide range of customer needs. However, even the best appliances occasionally run into issues and your Whirlpool washer is no different. Some common models include the Whirlpool WTW5000DW, WTW7000DW, WTW4616FW, and WFW6620HW among others.

All these models, though slightly different in design and features, function on the same basic principles. Therefore, understanding common problems that can arise and troubleshooting techniques can go a long way in helping Whirlpool washer owners rectify issues with their machines before they become too serious.

Key Takeaways:

  • Troubleshooting your Whirlpool washer stuck on sensing cycle involves checking power supply, control board, water supply, drainage, lid switch, pressure switch, sensor connection, and calibration to resolve the issue effectively.
  • Regular maintenance and proper care are crucial for the long-term performance of your Whirlpool washer. By following the troubleshooting steps, you can confidently resolve the issue of a stuck sensing cycle and minimize disruptions in your laundry routine.

Recognizing the symptoms

Often, machines exhibit certain signs and symptoms that signal an underlying problem. One common indicator of a failing washing machine is unusual sounds. These could range from loud, thumping noises to constant, subtle rattling during operation.

Error codes on your washer display are another surefire sign of a problem. These codes are designed to help you identify the specific issue with your machine. The complexity of these codes can vary greatly, so it may require some research to decipher. For more insights, read up on the meaning of various error codes on your Whirlpool washer’s manual.

Besides noises and error codes, you might also physically inspect your washer for any leaks, cracks, or visible damage. The sight of water pooled around the machine or soap residue on its body could signify a problem.

Safety measures before troubleshooting

Just as a doctor wouldn’t perform surgery without anesthesia, you shouldn’t attempt to troubleshoot your washing machine without first taking some important safety measures.

Firstly, always unplug your washing machine from the power source. This step is crucial because working with electricity can be dangerous. Working on an unpowered machine minimizes the likelihood of electric shocks or other electrical accidents.

Secondly, be sure to shut off the water supply to your washer. Failing to do so could result in a gushing mess that compounds the problem. A water leak could potentially damage other parts of the machine or even your home.

Finally, be careful when handling your washing machine’s parts. Never force a part out as this could break it, leading to more expensive repairs. Always read up on how to safely disassemble and reassemble key elements of your washer for inspection. Draw on trusted sources like this article for detailed steps on safe handling and resetting procedures.

Understanding basic washer functions

Before we delve into specific problems and how to troubleshoot them, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the basic functions of a Whirlpool washing machine and the key parts that facilitate these functions. Reading the appliance manual would provide a detailed account of every function, mode, and feature of your Whirlpool washer.

Primarily, a washing machine works by filling up with water, agitating clothes with a rotating drum, and then draining and spinning to remove water from damp clothes. Important components that facilitate these processes are the water inlet valves, wash drum, agitator, drain pump, motor, lid or door switch, timer, and various control boards.

All these parts working together in harmony, according to user inputs, present us with a fully functional washing machine. Any disruption in their coordination may result in hitches in the washer’s operation, which often manifests in the form of unusual sounds, error codes, or less-than-optimal performance.

Troubleshooting Electrical Issues

When dealing with a washing machine that won’t power up, doesn’t start its cycle, or stops mid-cycle, we often suspect electrical issues first. The power cord and connections may be the culprits for such a problem. Inspect the power cord for any signs of wear or damage, make sure the cord is securely plugged into the power outlet, and confirm that the outlet is functioning.

You might also want to inspect the control board. A washer’s control board processes the input from the user, regulates power, and controls functionality. If the control board is faulty, your laundry routine can be thrown into disarray. Read more about control board errors and how to fix them here.

Another electrical component to investigate is continuity. Continuity is a term that refers to the unbroken electrical path in a closed circuit – an essential part of any functioning electrical appliance. A multi-meter can help test for continuity, and a repair professional should handle this if you’re not comfortable doing it.

Inspecting the washer door/ lid switch

The door or lid switch plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and smooth running of the washing machine by preventing the washer from functioning while the door or lid is open.

If your washer isn’t spinning or agitating, the door or lid switch might be at fault. Check for any obvious damages or malfunctions. If it’s cracked, loose, or the actuator is broken, replacement may be the best option.

The replacement process will typically involve removing the old switch, connecting a new one, and reassembling the machine parts. Consider consulting a maintenance guide or contacting professionals if you’re unsure about replacing the switch yourself.

Checking the Water Inlet Valves

Water inlet valves play an essential role in controlling the amount of water that enters the washing machine during various stages of the wash cycle. Because they govern one of the primary functions of the washer, even slight malfunctions can lead to noticeable problems.

Signs of a faulty water inlet valve can include the washer not filling correctly, filling slowly, continuing to fill even when the machine is off, or the washer not filling at all. If you observe any of these issues, it might be time to check your water inlet valve.

The replacement process consists of shutting off the water supply, disconnecting the hoses, removing the old valve, installing a new one, and reconnecting everything. If you don’t feel comfortable performing these steps, it’s recommended to seek professional help. Find out more on how to handle these issues here.

Investigating the timer knob

The timer knob on your Whirlpool washer helps you control the length of each wash cycle. It’s what you turn when selecting a cycle, such as delicate, regular, or heavy-duty and if you’ve noticed your washer doesn’t progress through cycles, the knob might be defective.

Inspection involves removing the timer knob from the control panel and looking for signs of damage or wear – such as cracks or worn down teeth. A broken timer knob may not be able to engage the shaft below it correctly, causing incomplete or skewed cycle selection.

The replacement of a defective timer knob often involves purchasing a new knob, aligned to your washer model, and replacing it by simply pushing it back onto the shaft. Be aware that timer knobs can range in design, so the replacement process may differ based on your specific model.

Inspecting the drive belt

A washing machine’s drive belt connects the motor to the drum, allowing it to spin and agitate. If your washer’s drum isn’t spinning or agitating but the motor appears to be working, you might be dealing with a malfunctioning drive belt.

Symptoms of a faulty drive belt can include a burning smell, a loud noise during operation, or visible wear and tear on the belt such as fraying, slipping or breakage. Inspecting the drive belt generally involves removing the back panel of the washer to access the belt.

Replacement involves removing the old drive belt, aligning a new belt with the pulleys, and stretching it to fit over the motor shaft. This may be a tough job for some homeowners and if you’re uncomfortable doing it, consult your user manual or hire a professional.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

A thermal fuse is a safety device that prevents the washing machine from overheating. The fuse will blow if the machine’s temperature becomes too high, interrupting the electrical circuit to the machine and stopping it from functioning entirely.

The symptoms of a blown thermal fuse are quite easy to spot – the washer will not start or run in any of the wash or rinse cycles. This fuse is not designed to be reset or repaired, so if it blows, it will need to be replaced.

To check the thermal fuse, you will need a multimeter to test for continuity. A continuity test will show whether or not electrical current can pass through the fuse. If the test indicates no continuity, the thermal fuse has blown and will need to be replaced.

Replacing a thermal fuse requires part sourcing, precise handwork, and working with electrical components, so if you’re not comfortable doing this, it’s recommended to hire a professional service.

Check if the washer is overloaded or if the load is unbalanced. Also, make sure the water supply is connected and the door is properly closed. If the issue persists, try resetting the washer by unplugging it for a few minutes.

Examining the Motor

The motor in your Whirlpool washer is responsible for turning the washing drum. If the motor fails, the drum won’t spin or agitate, leaving your clothes wet and unclean.

Typical signs of a faulty motor include a burning smell during the wash cycle, a loud humming noise, or the washer failing to spin during a wash cycle despite water filling and draining correctly.

Motor replacement involves disconnecting and removing the old motor, attaching the new one, and reconnecting the necessary wiring. Always remember to unplug your washing machine before working on its electrical components.

Motor replacements can be quite complicated, and mistakes could lead to further damage, so if you’re not confident, get a professional adviser or a qualified technician to assess and repair the issue.

Inspecting the Start Switch

The start switch on a Whirlpool washer is what you press to initiate a washing cycle. It sends signals to the control module to start the machine’s functions, so a faulty start switch can prevent the washer from working.

Symptoms of a faulty start switch include the washer not starting despite being correctly loaded and connected to power, or the washer starting and then unexpectedly stopping mid-cycle.

Testing the start switch requires a multimeter to check for electrical continuity when the switch is pressed. If there’s no electrical continuity, the switch is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Replacement typically involves unplugging the washer, removing the control panel, replacing the old switch with a new one, and reassembling the control panel. However, as with all electrical repairs, if you’re unsure about any steps or risks, consult professional help or guidance.

Understanding the Pressure Switch

The pressure switch, also known as a water level switch, plays a critical role in filling the drum of your Whirlpool washer to the appropriate level. This switch is a sensor that tells the control board when to stop filling with water based on the water level in the tub.

When the pressure switch is faulty, it can cause your washer to either under-fill, over-fill, or not fill at all. Additionally, agitating the clothes while the tub is filling is another symptom of a faulty switch.

If you suspect a problem with the pressure switch, you can use a multimeter to measure the switch’s resistance and continuity with the tub empty and when it’s supposed to be full. Remember, this should always be done after the washer has been unplugged.

Upon confirmation of a busted pressure switch, consider replacing it with a new one. Here is a guide on how to replace a faulty pressure switch.

Analyzing the Drain Pump

The drain pump is a critical component of your Whirlpool washer. Its job is to empty water from the tub at the end of each cycle. If the drain pump malfunctions, you might find your clothes soaking wet at the end of the cycle.

Signs of a faulty drain pump include the washer making loud noises during the drain cycle, water not draining, or the washer stopping mid-cycle due to a blocked pump.

If you suspect that the drain pump might be causing issues, it should be inspected for blockages or mechanical faults, and tested with a multimeter to check electrical continuity. This is after unplugging the washer, of course.

If replacement is necessary, you could use this step-by-step guide on how to replace the pump.

Inspecting the Lid Lock

The lid lock on a Whirlpool washer keeps the lid securely closed during high-speed spin cycles. It’s a safety feature to prevent accidents resulting from an opened lid during operation.

If your lid lock is faulty, the washer might not start or agitate, or it might come to an abrupt stop mid-cycle. These are signs that the lock mechanism isn’t engaging properly.

In case of these symptoms, you need to inspect the lid lock for any obvious mechanical issues and use a multimeter to check for electrical continuity. The machine should have been unplugged before these operations for safety.

If the lid lock is indeed the problem, consider replacing it. For a detailed process, you can refer to this guide on how to unlock your Whirlpool washer and replace the faulty lock.

Humidity and Washer Malfunctions

Washing machines, including the Whirlpool washer, are just like any electronic device that are susceptible to the effects of humidity. High humidity levels can damage the electrical components of your washer, leading to malfunctions. In high humidity environments, moisture can condense on the electronic parts causing short-circuits and rusting of metal parts.

Additionally, high humid conditions can also foster mold and mildew growth in and around your washer. This can lead to unpleasant odors and potential health risks.

To manage humidity around your washer, it is advisable to ensure proper ventilation in your laundry room. A dehumidifier can be a great investment to control the moisture levels in the room. Regularly leaving the washer door open for some time after use, can also help air out the interior and prevent mold growth.

When to Call a Professional

While many washer problems can be diagnosed and fixed at home, there comes a point when professional help might be the best choice. If after troubleshooting, the problem persists or you can’t identify the issue, it’s time to call a professional. Experts have the necessary training and tools to safely handle complex repairs.

Also, if a repair seems overly complicated, risky, or involves dealing with electrical parts beyond simply checking for continuity, it’s safer to leave it to professionals. You should also consider warranty constraints. Any DIY repair efforts may void your washer’s warranty, which can be problematic for future repairs or replacements.

Certain repairs like replacing the motor, control board, or the tub may also be beyond the capability of typical DIY efforts and require professional service. If you need a qualified technician, you can use this link to find a professional washer repair service.

Maintenance Tips for Avoiding Future Problems

Preventative maintenance can hugely reduce the frequency of washer problems. For a start, ensure you use the correct type and amount of detergent recommended for your specific Whirlpool model. Over-sudsing due to too much or wrong type of detergent can cause several issues, including leaks and unbalanced loads.

It’s also important to avoid overloading your washer as it strains the motor and drive system and can lead to premature failure of these parts. Inspect and clean your washer regularly, especially the drum and seals to prevent build-up of mold and grime.

Once a month, run an empty load with a washing machine cleaner to clean the drum and prevent odors. Check hoses and connections regularly for leaks and replace the hoses every five years, even if they still seem intact, to prevent unexpected leaks and floods.

These simple maintenance routines, along with regular use, can help keep your Whirlpool washer running efficiently and trouble-free for a long time.

Helpful Resources

When it comes to maintaining and repairing your Whirlpool washing machine, a wealth of resources is available to aid you. A good starting point is the official Whirlpool website, which offers user manuals, troubleshooting guides, and helpful videos.

For more specific problems, online platforms dedicated to appliance repairs can be of great help. Forums and blogs often share user experiences and tips that could be extremely useful in diagnosing and fixing problems. A popular resource isthis washer repair guide, which details different issues that can arise with your washing machine and provides step-by-step instructions on how to fix them.

Additionally, YouTube has countless DIY repair videos where you can see actual repairs happening in real time. This visual aid can make it easier to understand the process, especially for complex tasks. Also consider using online marketplaces for buying replacement parts. They often have competitive prices and quick shipping.


Caring for your Whirlpool washing machine can seem daunting at times, especially when you’re faced with something going wrong. However, by knowing how to recognize common issues, understanding the basic functions of your washer, and using the right resources, you can often troubleshoot and fix these problems yourself.

Always remember that safety is paramount. Ensure to take all necessary safety measures when inspecting or fixing your washer. If the task seems too complicated, or involves handling complex parts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Most importantly, aim to keep preventative maintenance at the forefront of your washer care. Regular cleaning and routine inspections can go a long way in extending the life of your washer. Following these tips can help you save both time and money, and ensure that your Whirlpool washer services you efficiently for a long time.