GE (General Electric) makes a variety of washing machines, including both top-loaders and front-loaders. Each of their models comes with its own set of unique error codes to make diagnosing problems easier. Of course, to get any useful information from these error codes, you have to know what they mean.
The “26” error code applies only to the 27-inch top-loading GE washer. A 26 error code means that there is an unbalanced load in the washer that is preventing the basket from spinning at its normal speed. This can happen for a number of reasons, as we’ll discuss in this article.
Today, we’ll be walking you through what it can mean when your GE washer gives you a 26 error code, and we’ll show you what you can do to diagnose the source of this error code and solve it.
Causes of a 26 Error Code
As we’ve mentioned, a 26 error code means that the washer has detected an unbalanced load. However, this can sometimes occur even if the load inside the washer isn’t actually unbalanced. When this happens, it indicates that there’s a problem with one of the washer’s components.
Let’s go over the various issues that can cause a 26 error code in more detail here.
What exactly does it mean when a load is unbalanced? Put simply, it’s when the weight of the clothes inside the washer isn’t evenly distributed. This usually isn’t that big of a deal, but it can make a difference if you happen to be washing heavy things like comforters, sweaters, and jackets.
Having an unbalanced load in your washer doesn’t sound like it’d come with very serious consequences, but the risks of an unbalanced laundry load are a bit greater than you might think.
An unbalanced load can prevent the washer from spinning or draining properly, and the excessive vibration caused by an unbalanced load can make your washer “walk” across your laundry room floor. If you run too many unbalanced loads in your washer, it may end up damaging some of its interior components.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to solve the problem of an unbalanced load and to prevent this issue from occurring in the future. All you need to do is to redistribute your clothes inside the washer so that the weight is more balanced. You should also try to avoid overfilling your washer if you can.
Washer Is Not Level
For a washing machine to work properly, it has to be sitting as flat as possible on whatever surface it’s on. If not, the basket will rock back and forth when the washer is running, and you’ll likely wind up with a 26 error code.
To determine whether your washer is sitting at an angle, use a level to check. If your washer is indeed sitting unbalanced, you’ll most likely be able to adjust its legs to compensate for this. If not, just put some shims under your washer’s legs until you’re able to get it level.
Balance Ring Is Damaged
The balance ring is a component of your washer that supports the basket and helps counterbalance the effects of an unbalanced load. With a working balance ring, the washer can spin at full speed with a slightly unbalanced load without experiencing any vibrations.
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However, if the balance ring gets old enough or is subjected to enough punishment, it can become cracked or worn out. When this happens, the washer will shake excessively when it’s running, and may even present you with a 26 error code.
If your balance ring has broken, you’ll need to replace it before your washer can be used again. To find your washer’s balance ring, look for a plastic ring near the base of the washer that is partially filled with water.
Broken or Unseated Suspension Rod
The balance ring isn’t the only thing that helps keep your washer’s basket steady; the suspension rods also assist with this task. Your washer likely contains four suspension rods, which are located on the outside of the outer tub and help hold the tub in place while it’s spinning.
If one of these rods breaks or becomes unseated from its mounting point, the tub will be able to move around much more freely, resulting in shaking and vibrations. If the shaking gets bad enough, you’ll likely end up with a 26 error code.
To check your washer’s suspension rods, remove the top panel from your washer and you should be able to get a good look at the rods. Take note if any of them are broken or have become unseated, and replace them or reseat them as necessary.
Hall Sensor Is Loose or Faulty
Also sometimes referred to as the speed sensor or the rotor position sensor, the hall sensor in your washer is used to keep track of how the washer is running. It monitors the position and the speed of the rotor, which is one of the components that allow the washer’s tub to rotate under its own power.
If the hall sensor is loose in its housing, if there’s a bad connection from the sensor to the control board, or if the sensor simply stops working on its own, then it might end up giving you a false 26 error code.
Other symptoms of a malfunctioning hall sensor include a washing machine that completely fails to start, a washing machine that fails to fill itself up with enough water, or a washing machine that twitches from side to side while it’s running.
Diagnosing a faulty hall sensor can be a bit tricky, especially if you don’t have any experience working on electronics. If you’ve done some appliance repair before and you’re confident that you know what you’re doing, however, you can use a multimeter to test your hall sensor and see if it’s still working.
How to Reset Your GE Washer?
Sometimes, washing machine error codes are the result of a momentary glitch as opposed to an actual issue. If your washing machine gives you an error code, it’s always a good idea to reset it before trying anything else to see if it’s just a temporary glitch.
The correct way to reset a GE washing machine depends on whether your washer is equipped with GE’s Hydrowave system. If it is, the process of resetting it is as follows:
- Disconnect your washing machine from its power source, and leave it powered off for at least a minute.
- Restore power to the washing machine. Within 30 seconds of doing so, open and close the lid six times in a row. You don’t need to open the lid all the way but make sure you open it at least 2 inches each time. You also need to finish opening and closing it within 12 seconds after you start.
- If you’ve done everything correctly up to this point, the washer should be working normally. Test it out by running a cycle without laundry in it and see if it starts up normally. If you still get the same problems after resetting it, it’s time to either investigate your washer’s other components or call a professional to take a look.
If your washer isn’t equipped with Hydrowave, however, resetting it is done slightly differently:
- Disconnect the washer from its power source and let it sit for at least half a minute.
- Turn the timer knob around one full time, and leave it on any setting except “Final Spin”.
- Restore power to the washer, and it should be working normally again.
How to Put Your GE Washer Into Diagnostic Mode?
Many washer models, including those made by GE, allow you to put your washer into a diagnostic mode. Also known as test mode, this mode allows you to review the last 10 error codes logged by the system, which can make it a lot easier to figure out what exactly is making your washer malfunction.
Here’s how to put a GE washer into diagnostic mode:
- The control panel display has to be blank to initiate diagnostic mode, so press the “Power” button on your washer’s control panel to clear anything on the display.
- With the display blank, disconnect the washer from its power source and leave it for at least 30 seconds.
- Restore power to the washer. Within 30 seconds of doing so, press the “Signal” button followed by the “Delay Start” button, and then press the two buttons again in the same order. You’ll know you’ve successfully entered diagnostic mode when the washer’s door locks and the control panel display reads “t01”.
- To review your saved error codes, press the “Delay Start” button again, and the display will advance to “t02”. You can then press the “Start/Pause” button to cycle through any codes stored in the washer. If there are no saved error codes, the washer will display “E00” instead.
- If you want to clear any stored error codes, you can do so by pressing and holding the “Start/Pause” button.
- To exit your washer’s diagnostic mode, just follow the same button combination you used to enter diagnostic mode (press “Signal” and “Delay Start” then “Signal” and “Delay Start” again).