How to Fix the E21 Error Code on a Zanussi Washing Machine

Zanussi washing machine displaying the E21 error code

If your Zanussi washing machine has started flashing the E21 error code on the display it will usually mean that there is a problem with the water being drained away during the wash cycle.

This can indicate a range of problems including a blockage, a problem with the drain pump or a problem with the printed circuit board.

Before you carry out any inspections or repairs on your washing machine you need to make sure it’s isolated from the electrical supply.

It’s common for washing machines to develop problems that stop the machine from draining but they can usually be repaired easily.

This is how to fix the E21 error code on a Zanussi washing machine:

Check the drain pump filter for a blockage

The first thing that you should try to do if your washing machine is showing the E13 error code is to remove any blockages.

drain pump filter from a Zanussi washing machine

The most common place that you will find a blockage is in the drain pump filter which is located in front of the pump.

You can access the filter by removing the flap that’s at the bottom right of the machine and then you should be able to unscrew the filter.

We actually go into more detail about this in our guide on how to drain a washing machine full of water which will show you how to safely drain the machine.

It’s common for items that you leave in your pockets before loading the machine to come out and then make their way through to the filter.

When you inspect the filter, you will probably find coins, hairclips, and anything else that you could think of that might slip through the door seal and get stuck in the pump.

If you do find anything in the filter, then you should remove it and then test the machine to see if it has fixed the error code.

Remove the drain pipe and check for a blockage

The next thing that you should do is check the water waste pipe for anything that would be obstructing the water from draining.

the water drain pipe shown from a Zanussi washing machine

This is similar to the drain pump filter in that small objects like coins will get lodged in the pipe.

Start off by looking at the end of the pipe where the water exits and look to see if you can see anything blocking the pipe.

If you have just installed the machine for the first time, then it’s common for the water stopped to be left on the spigot under your sink. If it’s still there, then you should remove it and test the machine again.

If you can’t, see a blockage at the end of the pipe then you can remove the other end near the drain pump by taking off the clip that holds it in place.

This is also a common place to find a blockage in the pipe because of the elbow bend which is narrower than the rest of the pipe.

Inspect the drain pump wires

Once you have confirmed that the machine is free from any blockages then you can move on to inspecting the wires that power the drain pump.

If your machine has been shaking around a lot recently then it might have caused the wires to come away.

It’s also common for the wires to burn away and melt which cuts the connection to the drain pump.

A good indication that the drain pump is not getting any power is that you won’t be able to hear the pump working on a drain cycle.

If you find any damaged wires, then you can usually cut them back and fit an electrical spade connector then plug it back into the pump.

Another option is to order the correct wiring loo for your machine and replace the wire from the circuit board to the pump.

If you have access to an electrical multimeter then you have run a continuity test between the start and end of the wire from the circuit board to the pump.

A lack of electrical continuity would suggest that the wire is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Replace the drain pump

If you have made sure that the machine is free from any blockages, then you should move on to replacing the drain pump.

Zanussi washing machine with the drain pump shown

If the machine has had to deal with a blockage, then the drain pump may have overheated which causes it to fail.

If you set the machine to the drain cycle and you can’t hear the drain pump working or it sounds rough, then there’s a good chance that it has failed.

Luckily replacing the drain pump on a Zanussi washing machine is usually straightforward and is an easy repair.

You can usually find the correct drain pump for your machine by using the model number on a spare parts website to get matched up with the correct one for your machine.

If you replace the drain pump on your machine and it’s still showing the E21 error code, then it might be because the control board has failed.

Although control board failure is rarer than the pump needing to be replaced it can be caused by an electrical short circuit from the pump.


That’s all you need to know about repairing the E21 error code on a Zanussi washing machine.

Here is a summary of everything that we have discussed:

  • Start off by checking for anything that might be blocked inside the drain pump filter – This is the most common area where you will find a blockage on a Zanussi washing machine
  • If the drain pump is clear of blockages, then you should take a look inside the water waste pipe which is at the back of the machine – The drain pipe will usually get blocked near the end where it connects to the plumbing on your home
  • If you can’t see any blockages, then you should make sure that the wires that give power to the drain pump are in working condition – If they have become disconnected or they have burned then the pump won’t be able to work properly
  • Replace the drain pump if the machine is free of blockages and the pump seems to be able to receive power – The E21 error code will usually be repaired by replacing the drain pump

If you have tried all of the above and you still can’t get your washing machine to drain, then it might indicate a problem with the printed circuit board.

The printed circuit board can fail for a wide variety of reasons and it’s typically an expensive washing machine repair to carry out.

You should look into the cost of replacing the machine compared to replacing the control board to make sure that it is economically viable.

If you need any more information on Zanussi washing machine error codes, then we have a complete list where we discuss each of them and what causes them.