Washing machines, including GE models, agitate back and forth, after filling with water and detergent, to clean the clothes inside the tub. This agitation mixes the water and soap, moving it through the clothes to remove dirt and soil; then the water and soap are drained and the clothes rinsed. While the agitator may move more or less quickly, depending upon the cycle selected, if it is consistently slow, some investigation into the matter may be required.
Most GE washing machines have a variety of wash cycles, and some models have variable spin speeds that users can select. Certain cycles, such as "Delicate" or "Hand Wash," will use much slower agitator speeds to reduce possible damage to fabrics. This will result in slow agitation every time the cycle is selected so try making a different cycle choice to increase the agitator speed.
Washing machines typically require 120 volts of power or more for proper function. If the power cord on your GE washer is loose or plugged into an outlet with another appliance, the power to the washer may not be sufficient for proper function. Take a look at the power cord to ensure the plug is completely plugged into the outlet and move other plugs to a different outlet. Check the household fuses or circuit breakers and replace or reset any that have tripped or blown.
Sometimes if loose change or other items end up in the washtub, these objects can end up lodged between the tub and the washing machine housing, which slows the turning action of the tub and will prevent the agitator from performing correctly. Turn off and unplug your GE washer before inspecting the washtub for items and remove anything that might be caught in the machine.
Oftentimes, simply resetting the machine will return it to proper function. Unplug your GE washer and wait two minutes then plug it back into the outlet. Press "Start" if the washer stopped mid-cycle or select a new wash cycle then press "Start." Contact GE if the agitation remains slow despite these efforts as there may be issues with the transmission, pulley, motor or belt that will require repair.
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.