Thread Number: 71546  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Water level adjustment for a new Whirlpool frontloader?
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Post# 946671   7/4/2017 at 10:40 (325 days old) by spacegeek (Denver, Colorado)        

I just bought a new Whirlpool frontloader, model # WFW85HEFW. Like many other posts on this forum, I am not happy with the really low water levels that the new front loaders use. I'd like a be able to tweak it up one inch or so. I have spent a lot of time reading through these forums, so I was confident that I could just pop the cover off of the washer, and adjust the water level switch. I was dismayed to find that my water level sensor does not have any visable adjustment screws on it. I have attached a picture of the water level sensor. Is there any way to adjust this sensor? Can I replace it with one with an adjustment screw? Is there any way to tweak the water level though the front panel, say through a diagnostic menu?

Thank you for your help.

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Post# 946801 , Reply# 1   7/5/2017 at 12:13 (324 days old) by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        

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As far as I know there's no easy way to increase the water level w/o making the washer think there's an "oversuds" condition.  I remember reading something about adding a length of coiled up tubing with a "T" and a certain size (empty) plastic water bottle inline with before the sensor.   But I'm sorry I no longer remember the specifics about it.  I did try this modification on my 2009 Kenmore Elite FL washer not long after bringing it home, but unfortunately with zero success. 


Try running the "Quick Wash" cycle to check #1 the water level and #2 how it's programmed, i.e. if it spins between wash/rinses or only drains.  You could try using this cycle if it spins between wash/rinses.


The "Express Wash" cycle on my machine uses a bit more water (photo below), but it also does full speed spins between wash/rinses.   I use this cycle (set for heavy soil w/extra rinse) as my default go-to cycle for 99% of my laundry.


I hope this helps.




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Post# 946802 , Reply# 2   7/5/2017 at 12:18 (324 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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The water level in the normal cycle is appalingly low. The other levels seem adequate to do a load of laundry in. Frontloaders don't need a huge amount of water to do a decent cleaning but that normal level is definitely too low.

Post# 946804 , Reply# 3   7/5/2017 at 13:10 (324 days old) by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        

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Louis this is the way the newer FL washers are here in the US, unfortunately due to all the Energy Efficiency suggestions (or regulations?).


The wash action with water levels like this is akin to being down at the river and beating your clothes on a rock to get them clean.



Post# 946807 , Reply# 4   7/5/2017 at 14:03 (324 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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First of all, don't use Normal cycle unless a very small load.,  Second, and this sounds counter-intuitive, Heavy Duty doesnt' use much more water than Normal due to energy standardards.  Personally, I think Cold Water cycle is totally useless and wastes space on cycle dial.  Use Towels or Whites and you can adjust the wash temperature to meet load requirements. If you're concerned about a dumbed down hot water wash, use the Sanitize cycle.  It won't reach 150 degree temps but may be able to get satisfactory results.  Another option for hot water washes is to use Whites, but select extra hot wash temp.  Use color last cycle for general clothing items and adjust water temperature.  All cycles default to light soil level.  If the results are unsatisfactory, increase soil level to lengthen wash time.  Again this is all due to energy standards.  My 5 y/o Whirlpool, all cycles default to heavy soil level pretty much.  Use steam clean option to activate the onboard heater for loads you don't want totally dumbed down hot or warm washes.   

Post# 946831 , Reply# 5   7/5/2017 at 19:14 (324 days old) by spacegeek (Denver, Colorado)        

Kevin, Thanks for the photos. Here are some photos of my washer with no clothes in it. You can see that the normal cycle has NO WATER. It just gets the clothes slightly damp, but there is no sloshing water in the bottom! (How can this be normal?)

Appnut, Thanks for the tip about the towel cycle. That does add more water, but still doesn't seem like a lot. That does help me out.

It still uses so little water that the hot water cant make it from the water heater to the washer before the fill is done.


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Post# 946841 , Reply# 6   7/5/2017 at 20:30 (324 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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David, the cycles whereby the onboard heater is used by default is Sanitary and Whites.  Light soil may still not engage it.  But using heavy soil most likely will engage it and allows time for the heater to heat water.  Opt. for Extra Hot on whites too.  Towels and Delicates will engage the heater if a minimum warm is selected as well as steam for stains option.  Again, heavy soil level.  Color Last does allow changing to other wash temps but no steam for stains option.  You can use Whitess for other loads, just chang3e wash temp to warm for those loads that can't tolerate hot water. 


I'm fortunate my nearly 6 y/o Duet engages the heater by default on Whites, Allergene, and Bulky Items.  Normal and Heavy duty will engage heater if Steam for Stains is used.   I've only used Heavy Duty once and Normal occasionally. 

Post# 946842 , Reply# 7   7/5/2017 at 20:38 (324 days old) by washerdude (Canada )        
Normal with WP DUET

I own the WFW72HEDW which is the BOL version, and Yes I do not see any sloshing on the Normal cycle either, or water when it's empty like that. Nonetheless clothes have been coming out clean since the the day we bought it (2 years ago).

On the Normal cycle, the machine will completely saturate the laundry, despite there not being any noticeable sloshing, what creates the cleaning action in any FL'er is the rubbing together of clothes like the old days would mimic rubbing clothes on a wash board.

On my machine I use the normal cycle a good 80% of the time and with larger loads, I can see water droplets falling from the clothes as the tub tumbles the load.

Water usage on my washer:
Normal: Least water usage
Eco Sanitize with Oxi: Most water usage
Heavy Duty: 3rd most water usage
Drain and Spin: NA
Quick wash: 2nd most water usage
Delicates: Third Lowest water usage
Cold wash: Second lowest water usage

A couple of things I do with my WP Duet is...

-DO NOT wash small loads on normal, instead use the quick wash cycle and select soil to your preference, on the highest soil selection on the quick wash cycle, you will get a FULL 10 MINUTES of wash action.
-If the tub is anymore than 3/4 full, DO NOT use normal, and instead use Heavy Duty and select the light soil. Generally, if the clothes line up to just under the water spout on the boot, your good, any higher and the unit is either being overloaded or you may need to pick heavy duty instead.
-Spin speed wise, if the tub is half full or more, then pick medium or high, with some exceptions of mixed loads being placed at a lower speed other than high. Anything below half full, should either be slow or medium, with exceptions of an equal number of towels, etc.

Post# 946885 , Reply# 8   7/6/2017 at 05:29 (324 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
This is why

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I was thinking my Next FL washer would be a Maxima instead of Duet. It has the powerwash and allergine cycles which I'm pretty sure use the heater and more water.

I think Eco Sanitize Oxy does use a LOT of water - but that's only on models without a heater.

I agree with appnut - Use a cycle that uses more water, but adjust the soil level and add steam (if that is available on that cycle) which will cause the washer to HEAT the water

Post# 946901 , Reply# 9   7/6/2017 at 09:58 (323 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
Concerning water levels

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The amount of water you see in the drum is not the amount that would be used on a full load of clothes.  The clothes would be saturated, as the tumbling stops you can see the water level to the boot in most cases, up to the window in others.    For an empty washer, this is the amount of water that it senses it is needing. 

Post# 946903 , Reply# 10   7/6/2017 at 11:03 (323 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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to the window in some cases? Tell me please which case that would be? U have a Maxima, right?

Post# 946907 , Reply# 11   7/6/2017 at 13:04 (323 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        

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No, I have a Maytag 5000 w/steam.  A Duet clone, one incarnation before the Maxima. 


When doing a load of towels on Heavy Duty, the water will reach just the bottom of the bump out on the window on the pause between tumbles. 

Post# 946917 , Reply# 12   7/6/2017 at 16:48 (323 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Only the TOL Maxima has Allergine (to NSF P351 standards).  The Sanitary cycle isn't high-temp any more, thus no NSF P172 certification.  WP has no Allergine cycle anymore and their Sanitary is like the Maxima.  No NSF P172 certifation for Sanitary is useless.  I prefer high-temp to bleach.  It will remain to be seen what happens with WP's next generation of FLers for their various product lines if Allergine is still around.  WP products have already dumbed down so many temperatures in their current FLers vs. mine.  Maybe they will have a model with downloadable cycles capability and I could get what I really want through downloads.  LG has WP beat all around with NSF P172 for Sanitary and their Allergine cycle is pretty hot too and has some Allergy society certification for the cycle.  I refuse to wash in cold water with pets and critters around the house. 

Post# 946920 , Reply# 13   7/6/2017 at 17:01 (323 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
NSF Standards:

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"Washers certified to this protocol must remove at least 95 percent of house dust mite allergens and feline dander. The wash water must reach 55º C (131º F, the temperature required to kill dust mites) for at least three minutes and the washer must be easily cleanable, corrosion resistant and designed to avoid accumulation of dirt and debris."

A big ole boiling pot on top of a range/fire or in a copper should get you there. Plus those vessels are easily kept clean and corrosion free.

Post# 946924 , Reply# 14   7/6/2017 at 17:26 (323 days old) by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0700 CDT.))        
WOW those WP water levels are really low.

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My SQ fills to the lip of the drum on ALL cycles. Temps are only dumbed down on Normal Eco. Sometimes that is barely enough.
I can't Imagine how this could wash anything on normal.

Post# 946991 , Reply# 15   7/7/2017 at 10:01 (322 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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I hope you're right about WP's next gen washers having more options like LG. All these years I've always heard stay away from LG. But everyone seems happy with them in most cases. Watching the turbowash action that even has a spray rinse...not to mention the drain pump access panel right in front....makes no sense to me why WP doesn't try to compete with some of these things. I didn't realize you only get recirculation/powerwash system, allergy cycle on only the TOL Maytag FL washer - and anything below that in the entire WP/Maytag line doesn't have them.

I thought in order for it to be called Sanitary - it had to reach a certain temp (like my current old school Duet) which gets really hot. I didn't realize even sanitary is dumbed down now too.

Post# 947002 , Reply# 16   7/7/2017 at 11:41 (322 days old) by washerdude (Canada )        

I agree with you Mark!

If it's one thing I want to see the most is things like more recirculation pumps with spray rinses during the spin on front loaders!

Hell, WP could even mimic a spray rinse on the final spin to resemble what their DD top loaders did on their final spins with the sprays.

With bigger loads I do feel strongly that a re-circulation would in no doubt help the load and cut down cycle times further.

I'm Pretty sure certain GE Fl'ers also feature a "timesaver" option which I THINK uses a recirculation pump. Certain Electrolux Fl'ers also now use a recirculation pump. Samsung Fl'ers also use recirc pumps AND a spray rinse when you select "Super Speed" which are on higher models.

Come on Whirlpool! It's time! I want to see recirculation pumps that stay on for the entire cycle and spray rinses on the spins that are of decent length.

Post# 947010 , Reply# 17   7/7/2017 at 12:58 (322 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
Ya -

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This is the water level on my duet in all cycles but delicate and soak....
Sanitary, normal both use this level but near the end of wash add more water that comes up to the boot before draining. My duet also spin rinses. I absolutely love this machine and I hope it never dies....but I know it's going to eventually and I want to get something that has good wash/rinse action like LG. I'll just have to make sure to get it at costco with 4 yr warranty.

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Post# 947015 , Reply# 18   7/7/2017 at 13:20 (322 days old) by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
My duet also spin rinses.

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Correction, these do not do a "spin rinse" (the drain pump is not on), no residential FL washer does.   


I have a similar Kenmore badged machine and after slowing from a full speed spin, it stays at a "fast distribution" speed and adds water to the tub to more quickly saturate the clothes.  It continues until the water gets up into the tub (you can here the tub baffles smack the water as it turns), where it then slows to normal tumble speed and continues to fill until the normal water level is reached. 


Even if these WP / KM washers did do a "spin rinse" it wouldn't be very effective as the water simply "pours" into one part of the tub, rinsing only the garments the water hits, rather than a "spray" which would have a larger coverage area.




Post# 947016 , Reply# 19   7/7/2017 at 13:26 (322 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
You are right

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I should have explained what I meant by spin rinse. But the method this machine uses I still like. It slows down from spin but keeps a decent speed and adds water (which is not drained) but it does it for quite a bit, pushing the water through the clothes really fast, before slowing down to tumble while adding more water.

Post# 947069 , Reply# 20   7/7/2017 at 20:12 (322 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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I believe my generation of Duets was the last to do the slow spin and spray/fill/add water to each rinse.  I've seen newer models whereby it stops spinning completely and then turns the water on to begin filling for each phase of the cycle. 


I thought Whirlpool had taken legal action against LG because Whirlpool had the Filter Stream washing in their combos. 

Post# 947076 , Reply# 21   7/7/2017 at 21:53 (322 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

"I thought Whirlpool had taken legal action against LG because Whirlpool had the Filter Stream washing in their combos."

Well, if they did, I'm not sure what to say, but it doesn't put them under a good light, as theater folks would say... ;-)

To begin with, WP's patent expired eons ago, and it's not very bright to sue for that reason.

And if we go by a more recent patent (which I am almost sure has expired too, it was new in the very late 70's/very early 80's, I think), the "Jet System" used by AEG would probably be the folks who could sue LG.

If I'm not mistaken, the "small" yet significant difference is that the WP system kept all the water in the sump below the basket and the AEG system filled the basket almost as usual, using the jets to help saturate the clothes instead of the only way to get water to the clothes. Not too long after the AEG Jet System came out, again, if I'm not mistaken, other brands started using the "scoop & shower" vanes instead of the Jet System to reduce the water level in the basket and save energy.

At this point, unless you have special claims either scoop & shower, jet system or a jet stream like WP's should be free to use by anyone.

(Incidentally, I wonder when companies will discover the power of good will -- United Airlines, for example, are *still* getting lambasted for doing all kinds of wrong things with people's *reserved* tickets; meanwhile, companies like Volvo and Mercedes keep getting kudos for patenting things and either letting other companies use the idea for free or for a very small fee, thus saving lives. The reason I mention this is because about 10-15 years ago, some company was suing another for patent infringement on their "large ventilation hole to prevent children from suffocating inside a FL" -- dude, sure, get the patent, but make a big deal about it and let others use it on the condition you get credit, much better to have the good will and recognition than the 10 cents royalty!)

Post# 947078 , Reply# 22   7/7/2017 at 22:37 (322 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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if your washer died today, what would you buy?

Post# 947111 , Reply# 23   7/8/2017 at 09:22 (321 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Mark, the Maxima MH8200

Post# 947224 , Reply# 24   7/8/2017 at 20:19 (321 days old) by Johnb300m (Chicago)        

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I can't stay silent anymore reading this thread. (facepalm)
As many might know, I have a Maxima 5100 bought 2 yrs ago.
Other than some spin and vibration glitches, it's washed FANTASTICALLY since the day I got it.

It's water levels on various cycles are exactly the same as other WP architectures of this vintage.
Normal cycle always starts with a very low water level, yet all clothes are always fully saturated, as they scrub away. Approximately 2/3 of the way through the Normal cycle the machine will actually add some water so there's a "decent" pool of water in the drum, but it doesn't reach the front of the drum.
At this point, it will also change the wash motion, turn the drum a bit quicker, to tumble the clothes so they land more tangentially on the drum wall, which is gentler than them in the previous segment, rolling and abrading on each other.

I seriously fail to understand why so many on here grouse about that.
WP has cracked the code to competitive wash performance without having clothes with moderate/normal soils having to swim around in water.
I call that innovation if you ask me.
It's caused NO performance issues on my end.

If I have extra dirty, sediment-laden loads, I'll either induce a manual pre-wash by adding a little soap to a "Rinse and Spin cycle. Then go into the Normal wash as usual on normal soil or heavy soil. Warm or Hot.
I know also, that "Hot" on Normal upsets many on here because it's not tap-hot. There's other cycles on there that will give tap-hot water.
Notably the Sanitize cycle. I'll use that for grimy towels or bedding, often on Light soil, since it will ensure a 131 degree wash phase for about 15min. Is it AT 131F for a whole 15min? No..... but further up in the thread, it doesn't sound like it has to be.
The heater runs in that cycle, it's tap hot. It uses a bit more water. It works great.
I've had to use PowerWash very seldom, like for car and house rags only.
All the other cycles have gotten everything else perfectly clean and fresh.
Despite the low water levels everyone seems to be clenching their sphincters about.
Oh, and that's all without recirculating spray.
I'm sure it's a nice added feature, but I certainly don't feel remorseful or dirty not having it.

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