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Why Is My Whirlpool Washer Stuck on Sensing?

Whirlpool Washing Machine On Display

Modern washers like the Whirlpool washers are exciting, cutting-edge home appliance technology that makes laundry much easier. This revolutionary technology keeps your clothes looking good as new.

It comes with incredible features like sensing or adaptive features. This feature senses the size and type of each load and adapts the water level and other functions to get the best possible clean.

Ideally, the washer would automatically switch back from sensing to normal washing mode after a while. But why would a Whirlpool washer get stuck on sensing?


The Whirlpool washers often stay in the sensing stage for only 2 to 3 minutes. But if it gets stuck, it is likely because there is a malfunction with one or more of the following areas:

  • Clogged Drain
  • Faulty Cable
  • Faulty Timer
  • Electrical Failure
  • The Water Valve is Shut
  • Load Imbalance
  • Faulty Inlet Valve
  • Wrong Settings
  • Failed Shift Actuator
  • Faulty Sensor

If your Whirlpool washer is still new and under warranty, we recommend you don’t try to fix it yourself but call Whirlpool and explain the issue.

In this article, you will learn some common reasons a Whirlpool washer may get stuck on sensing. We will also share some fixes you can try to resolve the issue.

Reasons a Whirlpool Washer Is Stuck on Sensing

Diagnosing an issue with a Whirlpool washer can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. As such, below, we will share a handful of reasons to help you understand each affected part, what it does, and a solution to get it working again.

1. Clogged Drain

Inspecting Washing Machine's Dirty Clogged Drain Pump Filter Close Up, Clean And Repair.

One of the common causes of issues with a Whirlpool washer is a clogged drain. If the washer gets stuck on sensing, it could be because the drain is clogged.

So, inspect the supply line and drain pump for blockage. Cleaning the dirt out of the drain pumps and supply line should get the washer functioning again.

But if it has the same challenge, it could be because the drain pump is faulty, and you would need to replace it.

2. Faulty Cable

Improper Use Of Ac Power Plugs And Sockets Cause Of Short Circuit And Fires At Home.

A faulty cable, such as broken or burnt, can be why your Whirlpool washer is malfunctioning. When Whirlpool fails to pass the signal to the control board to switch from one cycle to another, it could be because the connection is faulty.

You will need a multimeter to test the connections in the washer. Test for continuity to diagnose the defective cable so you can reconnect or replace it, as the case might be.

3. Faulty Timer

Image Of Washing Machine Display In Use

The Whirlpool washer knows it has been in the sense washing mode for a sufficient time because it works with a built-in timer. If the washer is stuck in sensing mode, it could be because the timer is broken and cannot detect any signal from the washing process.

You can test the condition of the timer using a multimeter to test for continuity. If defective, you would need to replace it to get your washer functioning normally again.

4. Electrical Failure

Fuse Box Illuminated With A Flashlight In Case Of Power Failure

An electrical failure can also cause your washer to experience this error. Ideally, the washer will display an electrical fault error, especially when the voltage above the recommended voltage level passes through the control board.

Fortunately, the Whirlpool washer comes with a diagnostic feature you can use to see error codes. If the error code relates to a failing control board, you must replace it to get it to work again.

5. The Water Valve Is Shut

The Master In Protective Gloves, Installs The Washing Machine, Connects It To The Water Supply And Drainage Systems

If the water valve of the washer is closed when it is working, its sensor may fail to detect the new changes. The washer may get stuck trying to move back to a new cycle, which keeps it in sensing mode until you open the affected washer valve.

So, you should ensure the water (cold and hot) valves are open during operation to avoid confusing the sensor. At the same time, ensure that you have enough water to cover the washing before you begin.

6. Load Imbalance

Interior Of Kitchen With Modern Washing Machine.

If the load in the washer is not balanced or too much, it may confuse the machine’s sensor, which may refuse to move past the sensing cycle.

This issue often arises when you add more load while the washer is in the sensing stage. In such a case, to fix the problem, ensure the washer is not overloaded, reduce the clothing in it, or spread it evenly.

7. Faulty Inlet Valve

A Man Is Fixing A Washing Machine. Repairman Checks Water Inlet Valve.

If the inlet valve is clogged, it can affect the water flow into the machine. The machine will remain in the sensing stage until it reaches the required water level.

The inlet valve is likely to get clogged due to sediment building up. Corrosion is another common reason the inlet valve gets clogged. Other times, it could be due to a wiring problem causing an insufficient voltage to cause the valve to fail.

8. Wrong Settings

Man Is Choosing Eco Program On The Washing Machine,Concept Of Electricity Savings

When you use the wrong settings to wash, the machine could mix things up and get stuck on the sensing mode until you use the right setting. Sometimes, you might have to reset the washer to clear the error code and put it back in the right gear.

A quick fix is to power the washer down and unplug it for 3 to 5 minutes. If the problem persists, unplug the washer for a more extended period. Alternatively, refer to the operational manual to recalibrate the washer to function normally.

9. Failed Shift Actuator

Top View Of A Washing Machine Drum During Spinning Clothes. Top Loading Washing Machine Washes Laundry.

A Whirlpool washer has a shift actuator that helps to switch the machine from wash mode to spin mode. Like most parts of the washer, the actuator can fail by staying in one cycle, such as remaining in the sensing mode.

But before you rule that the shift actuator of the washer is faulty, you should run a diagnostic on the washer. The error code will indicate if the shift actuator is faulty and would need replacement.

10. Faulty Sensor

Man Screwing A Washing Machine

Pay attention to the sensor when your washer is stuck in the sensing cycle. The sensor of the washer plays a paramount role in shifting it from one cycle to another.

The washer will not move to another cycle when the sensor is faulty. The sensor of the washer is complex, but you can run a diagnosis on the washer to tell if a faulty sensor is a culprit.


As you can see from this guide, several culprits can be responsible for Whirlpool being stuck in sensing mode. This guide will help you narrow down the cause of the malfunction and with fixing it.

If the issue with the Whirlpool washer is advanced, you should call an expert for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Enter Diagnostic Mode on My Whirlpool Washer?

Running diagnose on the Whirlpool washer is easy; all you have to do is follow the instructions below:

  • Turn the big dial 360 degrees in the anticlockwise direction one time, clockwise three times, anticlockwise one time, and clockwise one time.
  • When the dial flashes, rotate the knob to the SPIN cycle.
  • Click on START, and the washer will enter into diagnostic mode, taking about 3 to 5 minutes to complete.

How Do Washers Sense Water Level?

Whirlpool washers come with a pressure switch. The pressure switch is a mechanical switch connected to an air tube.

So, when water fills the drop, the pressure in the air tube expands, which sends a signal to the control panel to switch off the water supply.

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