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  1. #1

    Default My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Several days ago, my wife called and said the fridge had died.

    After some checking and our diligence we brought it back to life.

    It has been on a GFCI outlet (yes I knew about nuisance tripping...1st hand knowledge now!) since we bought the house over a year ago with no problems.

    Until now. Kept tripping the GFCI receptacle.

    No problem I thought, I'll just plug it in to this previously hidden plug behind the fridge which appeared to be a normal outlet.

    Nope, it's covered by the 1st outlet that I was plugged into.

    My questions is how easy is it to un-GFCI protect the 2nd outlet?

    By the way, a simple deep cleaning underneath the fridge brought it back to life.....

    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    How old is the refrigerator?

    If the refrigerator is less than 20-30 years old ... it should not be tripping the GFCI, and if it does trip the GFCI there is likely something going wrong with the refrigerator.

    While you can remove the GFCI protection from the refrigerator, doing so could cost you dearly due to whatever is going wrong (better to have a dead refrigerator than a dead spouse, right?).

    Some food for thought before you remove the GFCI protection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    While GFCI protection is allowed it's typically not recommend for refrigerators or freezers. This is why most builders/electricians choose not to put the fridge receptacle on a GFCI. Pulling the GFCI is easy, however you will want to make sure that it does not eliminate GFCI protection at any of the kitchen countertop receptacles. If it does, you will need to install GFCI protection at any upstream receptacles in the circuit.


  4. #4

    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    How old is the refrigerator?

    If the refrigerator is less than 20-30 years old ... it should not be tripping the GFCI, and if it does trip the GFCI there is likely something going wrong with the refrigerator.

    While you can remove the GFCI protection from the refrigerator, doing so could cost you dearly due to whatever is going wrong (better to have a dead refrigerator than a dead spouse, right?).

    Some food for thought before you remove the GFCI protection.
    Fridge is from 1996, so almost 20 but not quite.

    Back to the original question though, how could I take that one outlet off GFCI which is covered by the other one?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    While GFCI protection is allowed it's typically not recommend for refrigerators or freezers. This is why most builders/electricians choose not to put the fridge receptacle on a GFCI. Pulling the GFCI is easy, however you will want to make sure that it does not eliminate GFCI protection at any of the kitchen countertop receptacles. If it does, you will need to install GFCI protection at any upstream receptacles in the circuit.
    The 2 outlets that I am referring to are not connected to the other outlets.

    One outlet had the GFCI receptacle, the other is covered by it, but has the regular outlet.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    It's a myth that refrigerators should not be GFCI protected. As a refrigerator ages its motor winding begins to leak current into the appliance's cabinet. It some point it will trip the GFCI and therefore protect against shock.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    It's a myth that refrigerators should not be GFCI protected. As a refrigerator ages its motor winding begins to leak current into the appliance's cabinet. It some point it will trip the GFCI and therefore protect against shock.
    Hardly a myth if the refrigerator is perfectly safe but falls victim to a tripped GFCI from some other appliance in the same protected circuit and goes undiscovered. Lots of needlessly spoiled food...


  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Hardly a myth if the refrigerator is perfectly safe but falls victim to a tripped GFCI from some other appliance in the same protected circuit and goes undiscovered. Lots of needlessly spoiled food...
    The original poster did say that the GFCI and the outlet behind the fridge were the only outlets on the circuit
    "The 2 outlets that I am referring to are not connected to the other outlets.
    One outlet had the GFCI receptacle, the other is covered by it, but has the regular outlet."

    My fridge, freezer and washer are all on GFCI protected circuits as are the fridge and freezer in the garage. They don't trip the outlets and if they start they will be replaced. Fridge & freezer in the kitchen & pantry are newer units with the older equipment relegated to the garage. Both fridges and both freezers have an alarm that turns on when the temp drops below the set point.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    While GFCI protection is allowed it's typically not recommend for refrigerators or freezers.
    That's a new one ... well, actually, it's an old one - an old one from the 1980s ... which held over into the 1990s ... but makes no sense today with today's appliances.

    In fact, for freezers and refrigerators in garages, GFCI protection is *required* for those receptacle outlets.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That's a new one ... well, actually, it's an old one - an old one from the 1980s ... which held over into the 1990s ... but makes no sense today with today's appliances.

    In fact, for freezers and refrigerators in garages, GFCI protection is *required* for those receptacle outlets.
    In my area the majority of new construction does not put the refrigerator on a GFCI. Also most new homes have a single designated 20 amp receptacle in the garage that's not GFCI protected. These single designated receptacles are designed for a permanent appliance such as a refrigerator/freezer. Unless something has recently changed, this is allowed by code and is a standard practice where I live.

    I think there's a greater risk of loosing all of your food in refrigerator/freezer than getting shocked or electrocuted from these types of appliances.


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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    In my area the majority of new construction does not put the refrigerator on a GFCI. Also most new homes have a single designated 20 amp receptacle in the garage that's not GFCI protected. These single designated receptacles are designed for a permanent appliance such as a refrigerator/freezer. Unless something has recently changed, this is allowed by code and is a standard practice where I live.

    I think there's a greater risk of loosing all of your food in refrigerator/freezer than getting shocked or electrocuted from these types of appliances.
    2008 NEC 210.8 removed the exception for dedicated circuits in garages. The only exceptions remaining are for dedicated receptacles servicing deicing or snow melting equipment, and for dedicated receptacles supplying power to fire alarm systems.

    210.8 (A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in (1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

    (2) Garages, and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Getting a little off track, but I agree with Trent. In my area new homes will have a single/dedicated outlet in the garage for furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, central vacuums, hwc pumps, water softeners, etc.

    I have had faulty gfi outlets right out of the package. Just me, but my furnace and refrigerator will never be plugged into a gfi protected outlet, even if it's a dedicated circuit/outlet.

    Last edited by Randy West; 09-09-2014 at 04:11 AM.
    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. (Thomas Edison)

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy West View Post
    Getting a little off track, but I agree with Trent. In my area new homes will have a single/dedicated outlet in the garage for furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, central vacuums, hwc pumps, water softeners, etc.

    I have had faulty gfi outlets right out of the package. Just me, but my furnace and refrigerator will never be plugged into a gfi protected outlet, even if it's a dedicated circuit/outlet.
    Regardless of whether or not builders install GFCI protection for the receptacle in the garage for the refrigerator or freezer ... the point is that ALL 15 and 20 amp/120 volt RECEPTACLE OUTLETS in a garage are REQUIRED to be GFCI protected since the 2008 NEC.

    Hopefully, no one who insists on NOT installing GFCI protection for their refrigerator or freezer in their garage has to deal with the result of putting a higher value on their food than they put on their deceased family member's life. Sad commentary on their perceived value of what ... or who ... is more important.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Another thing here is if your area is under the 2011/2014 NEC and you do need to replace the GFCI receptacle or other receptacle you may need upgrade to AFCI protection depending on the fridge location.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Another thing here is if your area is under the 2011/2014 NEC and you do need to replace the GFCI receptacle or other receptacle you may need upgrade to AFCI protection depending on the fridge location.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Regardless of whether or not builders install GFCI protection for the receptacle in the garage for the refrigerator or freezer ... the point is that ALL 15 and 20 amp/120 volt RECEPTACLE OUTLETS in a garage are REQUIRED to be GFCI protected since the 2008 NEC.

    Hopefully, no one who insists on NOT installing GFCI protection for their refrigerator or freezer in their garage has to deal with the result of putting a higher value on their food than they put on their deceased family member's life. Sad commentary on their perceived value of what ... or who ... is more important.
    "A sad commentary on my perceived value." I would rather think that I'm just naturally reckless. In 8500 inspections and 56 years on the planet I have been shocked by 2 fridges. Both were in kitchens where they would not have a gfi outlet. Both were in 50 year old homes. Now I'm not that reckless. If I had a 50 year old home with a fused neutral and two prong ungrounded outlets, I would upgrade. But I have never been shocked by a frig on a dedicated circuit in a garage. Or a furnace, hwc pump, or central vacuum. And I don't know anyone that has been shocked by one of these. And I don't recall losing any loved ones to a frig that was not gfi protected. If that happens, I will install gfi outlets in my garage and kitchen. But until then I will ride my bike with no helmet, and maybe even not buckle my seat belt once in a while.

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. (Thomas Edison)

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy West View Post
    "A sad commentary on my perceived value." I would rather think that I'm just naturally reckless. In 8500 inspections and 56 years on the planet I have been shocked by 2 fridges. Both were in kitchens where they would not have a gfi outlet. Both were in 50 year old homes. Now I'm not that reckless. If I had a 50 year old home with a fused neutral and two prong ungrounded outlets, I would upgrade. But I have never been shocked by a frig on a dedicated circuit in a garage. Or a furnace, hwc pump, or central vacuum. And I don't know anyone that has been shocked by one of these. And I don't recall losing any loved ones to a frig that was not gfi protected. If that happens, I will install gfi outlets in my garage and kitchen. But until then I will ride my bike with no helmet, and maybe even not buckle my seat belt once in a while.
    All is fun and games ... until after something bad happens ... then regret of actions not taken is the option.

    Your call.

    But then, I've done enough stupid and risky things to have killed myself several times, as have some of my friends ... I am here to talk about those risky things, some of my friends are no longer here ... because similar risky things. I've been hit by lightning - twice ... some people don't survive it once, MOST PEOPLE NEVER GET HIT (i.e., your "In 8500 inspections and 56 years on the planet I have been shocked by 2 fridges. Both were in kitchens where they would not have a gfi outlet.").

    I have been shocked multiple times by refrigerators and freezers, in kitchens, in laundry rooms, and in garages, and, as you stated, their receptacles are not required to have GFCI protection except when installed in the garage ... which is more likely to have a bare concrete floor, more likely to have the floor wet, more likely to have conditions more conducive to electrical shock (better ground path for the person).

    "Back then" ... I used a metal case drill to install fountain lights in a fountain - which was filled with water - no GFCI protection for the extension cord - drilling down through the water into the bottom concrete to secure the light - going just deep enough so as to keep the water out of the vent slots in the metal case of the drill - and I'm still here ... even without GFCI protection (which was not available "back then").

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    AFCI is all that is needed.


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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    So correct me if I am wrong on this.

    *Refrigerators are NOT required to be GFCI protected when located in the kitchen.
    *Refrigerators/freezers ARE required to be GFCI protected in the garage.
    *Single designated receptacles that are not GFCI protected are no longer allowed in the garage?


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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Trent, This all depends on your code cycle you have enforce.

    Here in Washington state we are now on the 2014 NEC. So the answer would be

    Refrigerators are NOT required to be GFCI protected when located in the kitchen-
    unless the receptacle is within 6 feet of the sink the it needs GFCI protection.

    Refrigerators/freezers ARE required to be GFCI protected in the garage.

    Here yes, but there was an exception for a while where you could have one dedication for refrigeration I think 2005 allowed it (no GFCI)

    Single designated receptacles that are not GFCI protected are no longer allowed in the garage?
    Depends on code cycle see above. but if newer code no.

    I think I have this all right. Jerry et al.. please correct.


    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by S Young View Post
    AFCI is all that is needed.
    .Why?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    So correct me if I am wrong on this.

    *Refrigerators are NOT required to be GFCI protected when located in the kitchen.
    *Refrigerators/freezers ARE required to be GFCI protected in the garage.
    *Single designated receptacles that are not GFCI protected are no longer allowed in the garage?
    I am correcting you where you are incorrect:
    Q1: "*Refrigerators are NOT required to be GFCI protected when located in the kitchen."
    A1: Sort of correct, you will see why the "sort of" at the next question.

    Q2: "*Refrigerators/freezers ARE required to be GFCI protected in the garage."
    A2: Incorrect. Refrigerators and freezers are NOT required to be protected ANYWHERE. However - *ALL* 15 amp and 20 amp 120 volt receptacle outlets IN A GARAGE *are* required to be GFCI protected. ANY appliance plugged into ANY receptacle outlet in the garage is thus GFCI protected.

    Q3: "*Single designated receptacles that are not GFCI protected are no longer allowed in the garage?"
    A3: EVERY (no exceptions) 15 amp and 20 amp 120 volt receptacle outlet located IN A GARAGE is required to be GFCI protected ... even the receptacle outlet on the ceiling for the garage door opener. That has been the requirement since the 2008 NEC.

    The requirement IS NOT protecting any specific appliance, the requirement IS protecting the receptacle outlet (all of them) in a garage which any specific appliance may be plugged into.

    Unless the refrigerator is old, probably close to 30 years old, the appliance was not permitted to be manufactured with the leakage that older appliances were permitted to have. The standard for maximum leakage changed somewhere in the 1980s as I recall (possibly earlier). The 1980s puts the age of those appliances at around 30 years. Newer appliance will not trip a GFCI *unless there is a problem with the appliance*.

    Older appliance were allowed to have a leakage current sufficiently high enough to trip a GFCI. While most older appliances did not trip GFCIs, some did, and they were allowed to, that is why there was an exception for dedicated receptacle outlets for appliances for so long ... waiting for sufficient time to pass to have a reasonable expectation that those old appliances are no longer in use (I know, some still are in use, but so are some Model A Fords too.)

    In fact, if you are into motorcycles, be on the lookout for a sea to shining sea motorcycle endurance run which left Daytona Beach last weekend and is heading to Puget Sound, Washington ... the motorcycles are all OLD - built 1937 or before *90* or so of those old motorcycles started by riding up the beach sand like in those old days and then turned westward. Should be a sight to see with 90 of those old machines making a 4,000 endurance run. You can probably find something on the internet about their progress and if they are going through your area.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    You can track their progress here: Motorcycle Cannonball Coast To Coast Antique Motorcycle Run

    Its the Cannonball Run for classic motorcycles.

    You've probably heard of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash for cars - there was a movie made from it which starred Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise.

    The Cannonball Run (1981) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    Jerry, Good point this is about the receptacles and not the appliance. Also if you are on the newer code the GFCI''s need to be readily accessible.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: My Fridge on GFCI receptacle...

    I'm disappointed to see some of these remarks and it's apparently due to misconceptions over electricity and grounding. Everyone should know that "code" is a minimum requirement - like graduating from high school with a D- average. Is this what you're providing your clients? When solid information is available why ignore it? Don't rely on some regulation to tell you everything you should know.

    As for refrigerators on GFCIs - if you think this is stupid or off the wall I have a suggestion. Go to one of Douglas Hanson's presentations - or better yet, call or email him. I can think of few things I would enjoy more than watching your telling him he's got this all wrong.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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