Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer F20 Error Code

By Todd Fratzel on Appliances

Kenmore Washer F20 Error Message

Tonight we had the pleasure of hearing the Kenmore Elite HE3 Front Load washing machine beep and then flash an F20 Error Code. After doing a bit of research I quickly learned that an F20 Error Message on these washers indicates a problem with insufficient water supply.

According to the manufacturer you should check the water supply to the unit including:

  • Check both hot and cold water faucets to be sure the valves are both turned on.
  • Be sure the supply hoses are not kinked.
  • Check the inlet hose screens for debris, especially people who live in areas of the Country with hard water.

So I proceeded to check the hoses by removing each one and then turning on the valve with the hoses in our laundry room sink. Guess what?? No hot water!!

Well the weather here in New Hampshire has been -20 F today! So I quickly realized we had a frozen water supply line to the washer. The reason for this is for another article altogether but what I wanted to point out is how the F20 error can mean many different things. However, they all revolve around the lack of sufficient water to the washer.

Luckily for me the house is plumbed with PEX tubing (which is very forgiving for freezing situations). I was able to warm the water supply line from the basement and after about an hour it thawed and the water worked.

If you have an F20 Error on your Kenmore (or Whirlpool – Same manufacturer) then be sure to check the water supply.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    That is a pretty neat side-about way of discovering your frozen pipes! I just installed PEX this summer, and even though it’s been -14 here in Upstate NY, so far, so good. It’s nice to know it’s so forgiving. :D

    I just bought a new washer but opted for another top loader instead of the front loader. I’d heard that front loaders generally wear out after a year or two. Hm, is this your experience with them? When it comes to appliances (and cars), I do prefer the simple machines. All the doodads and gadgets are just another thing to fix…

  2. Todd,

    I feel your pain. Ive had the Maytag repair man out 4 tuimes to diagnose an F06 error. they still have no idea and now are replacing the motor – just to see!

    that means $$$

    Great idea to post on this.

  3. Chuck says:

    So how do you reset the f-20 code. The water was shut off by a repair person doing another job, during the cycle. I’ve unplugged it and re plugged it still f-20

  4. What if it wasn’t poor water supply

  5. Vince says:

    Shut the power off. Turn the power back on and set to the rinse and spin cycle ( about 20 or so minutes and the washer willshut off and allow the clothes to be removed.

  6. Derek says:

    Check the drain if it’s not the water supply. Sometimes little socks and etc make it past the drum and into the drain pump area. Also check in the front around the main door under the rubber to see if anything is blocking the water from draining there.

  7. FredN says:

    The F20 code can mean several things but generally means either low water flow into the washer or it can mean that the tub sensor says there isn’t any water in the tub. I have had several things cause this code and it’s not always easy to determine the problem. I have hade the flow sensor go bad and the inlet valves fail which both caused the f20 code. I have also had socks and other things stuck in the drain filter that caused the F20 code. The most recent cause was lint in the tub pressure connection on the bottom of the tub (requires removal of the back) and removal/clean out of the 1/4” hose connection. Mostly it is impacted by lint build up over time but sometimes sensors fail.

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