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Old 09-13-2009, 09:03 PM
 
1 posts, read 9,692 times
Reputation: 11
Question where to plug in Refrigerator

I have a Maytag side by side thats about 5 yrs old. ( not on recall list). It is an extra one and I put it in the garage. The outlet has that little button that you test and it started popping out so i unplugged it. The outlet is a 10 or 15? anway, I went to Home Depot and the told me to get a GFCI 20. Do you think this will work? This is the only electrical outlet in the garage and nothing else will be on the outlet. Thank you.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:11 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,301,091 times
Reputation: 2424
Default Color us confused...............

So you plugged in this fridge and the GFCI outlet tripped. Is that right.

Then you when to HD and they told you to upgrade to a GFCI rated at 20 amps.

But apparently this is a circuit that has other loads on it somewhere. I first would figure out what this circuit is in the main panel. What is the breaker rated for and what size wiring is installed? Maybe it is a 15 amp cicuit as installed. What else is on that same circuit. Maybe it already is pretty heavily loaded.

You figure out the entire picture, not just blindly upgrade some part of it.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,362 posts, read 54,170,320 times
Reputation: 16312
One other little test: If you can turn the fridge OFF, or to such a high temperature setting that the compressor doesn't activate, plug the fridge in and see if the GFCI opens. (this assumes you have verified the fridge compressor wouldn't activate with a good outlet). If the GFCI doesn't open when you simply plug in your fridge (with the compressor still not activating), adjust the temp colder until the compressor activates and see if that opens the GFCI.

Just trying to see if there is a short or something in fridge causing the GFCI to open versus the compressor current draw causing (???) the GFCI to open.

However, I still have a question: Does the GFCI open up on excessive current too, or just ground fault? If the answer is NO, then it looks like there isn't excessive current draw (still, like mentioned above, we want to know what other loads are on that circuit).

ALso, you can buy pretty cheap these little plug things with lights on them that you plug into outlets and they can test the outlet for grounding.

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Old 09-15-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Ocean County, NJ
195 posts, read 635,479 times
Reputation: 82
You need a GFI outlet meant to handle the load a compressor puts on it when there is a lot of head pressure. The compressor draws a large amount of power when it initially kicks in. Some say not to put them on a GFI circuit but I believe they do make GFI's capable of handling compressor loads.

GFI trips refrigerator - RIDGID Plumbing Forum, Woodworking Forum, Power Tool Forum
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:52 AM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,301,091 times
Reputation: 2424
Default The fridge does not have to be plugged into the GFCI

A GFCI may be required in a garage but there is an exception for something like a fridge. It is a permanent piece of equipment that is normally plugged in and left in place, not mobile or used temporary.

Code should read something like this in most places for things that are not required to be plugging in for a manner of GFCI protection.

Exception No.2 to (2): A single receptacle or a duplex receptacle for two appliances located within a dedicated space for each appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another and that is cord and plug connected.

So once you understand how that circuit is wired. You could just rewire it to move the GFCI downstream to protect all the other outlets as required in the garage.

That should solve the problem if the total load on that circuit is within limits and the breaker in the panel is not tripping. Should be able to be a legal beagle and still solve this problem quite easy. Must be some monster fridge if it got that type of draw, even the starting current should not be that much.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 21,032,096 times
Reputation: 6648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paula2009 View Post
I have a Maytag side by side thats about 5 yrs old. ( not on recall list). It is an extra one and I put it in the garage. The outlet has that little button that you test and it started popping out so i unplugged it. The outlet is a 10 or 15? anway, I went to Home Depot and the told me to get a GFCI 20. Do you think this will work? This is the only electrical outlet in the garage and nothing else will be on the outlet. Thank you.
A refrigerator is generally not a good match with a GFCI protected outlet and you got some downright sh*tty advice from the guy at Home Depot. That kind of advice should come with a corporate disclaimer and require you to sign an indemnity agreement. If I were the manager I would fire that guy.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,869,110 times
Reputation: 11756
Our fridge is on a 20 amp GFI outlet and we have no problems. The inspector made us put in a GFI because code says that all kitchen outlets are to be GFCI. I think that they make single outlet units that are specifically designed for large appliances, but I do nto remember for sure. I will look when i get home and if I remember let you know. (I put it in, I should remember, but I do not).

However, if your fridge is tripping a 15 amp GFI there may be other problems. Try plugging something else that draws a lot of power into the outlet and see if it trips. Something like a toaster or a heater should not trip a 15 amp GFI so if it trips, you may well ahve a different problem.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 21,032,096 times
Reputation: 6648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Our fridge is on a 20 amp GFI outlet and we have no problems. The inspector made us put in a GFI because code says that all kitchen outlets are to be GFCI. I think that they make single outlet units that are specifically designed for large appliances, but I do nto remember for sure. I will look when i get home and if I remember let you know. (I put it in, I should remember, but I do not).

However, if your fridge is tripping a 15 amp GFI there may be other problems. Try plugging something else that draws a lot of power into the outlet and see if it trips. Something like a toaster or a heater should not trip a 15 amp GFI so if it trips, you may well ahve a different problem.
That's a good idea about plugging in a toaster.

I don't think that a 20A GFI operates any differently than a 15A GFI except that one is rated for 20A feed-through so you would need to use it to protect downstream outlets on a 20A circuit.

I say he got sh*t advice from home depot because the guy at the store has no idea if the OP has an actual ground fault in the fridge, if the circuit is overloaded or what the breaker for that circuit is rated to and if he really knew that much he probably wouldn't be working at a big box store. I don't think there could be any problem overkilling the outlet rating for a 15A circuit, but I have serious doubts that the fridge is tripping the GFI because the outlet rating is too low.

By the way, my garage freezer also runs just fine on a 20A GFI (no equipment ground, I just didn't feel very good about running that thing in a sometimes wet location with zero protection, IE I would rather deal with spoiled meat than electrocution). I'm sure it would run fine on a 15A as well, but the circuit is 20A and I didn't want an undersized outlet. I think the problem is related to how efficient the compressor motor is at peak draw. If it's losing more than 5 mA at start-up a GFI probably isn't going to work.
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:22 PM
 
13,775 posts, read 25,160,968 times
Reputation: 7987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
A GFCI may be required in a garage but there is an exception for something like a fridge. It is a permanent piece of equipment that is normally plugged in and left in place, not mobile or used temporary.

Code should read something like this in most places for things that are not required to be plugging in for a manner of GFCI protection.

Exception No.2 to (2): A single receptacle or a duplex receptacle for two appliances located within a dedicated space for each appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another and that is cord and plug connected.

So once you understand how that circuit is wired. You could just rewire it to move the GFCI downstream to protect all the other outlets as required in the garage.

That should solve the problem if the total load on that circuit is within limits and the breaker in the panel is not tripping. Should be able to be a legal beagle and still solve this problem quite easy. Must be some monster fridge if it got that type of draw, even the starting current should not be that much.
Good advice Cosmic and that's how it works where I am...

I would never want to plug in critical equipment into a GFCI outlet if I had an alternative... I consider food spoilage due to nuisance tripping critical... especially with the cost of food today.

Maybe, if the panel is in the garage it might be simple to run a new dedicated 20 amp receptacle... I've seen some above 8' like Garage Door Openers that also don't require GFCI because of where the outlet is located and because it's dedicated...

Hubbell makes Hospital Grade GFCI that are pricey... but the option exists...
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