I have an old home with ungrounded sockets. I hooked up my fridge to a
portable GFCI plug, and in the last 3 months, the fridge has tripped
the circuit. Both times, the fridge works fine when I reset it...so
I'm assuming the fridge is OK. What else would cause the fridge to
trip the plug?
A fridge should NOT trip a GFCI.
If it does it's for the same reason anything else would: there is a leakage
path between the current carrying wires (including neutral) and "ground."
I had an old "frostless" fridge that tripped a GFCI. Turns out that
during defrost and water from the melting ice got onto the wires leading to
the quartz bulb that served as the defrost heater.
If you have an ungrounded outlet, it's not a bad idea to protect yourself
with the GFCI. But you also should uncover what's causing the trip because
whatever is causing the trip can, with an ungrounded appliance, give you an
Note that appliance like toasters and toaster overs would likely trip a GFCI
often. I surprised folks don't get shocked with them more often. Perhaps
they get "warning" shocks. It takes at least 10 times the current that
trips a GFCI to be a true safely hazard.
Each one has to decide on his own whether to put certain appliances on a
GFCI. Something in a kitchen that you check several times a day? Yep!
If I had a freezer in the garage I would say, NO.
Agree: Don't. Assuming it is standard fridge with a motor/compressor;
that is general advice here and elsewhere.
Since the so called GFCIs work on the unblance of current between live
and neutral it may trip especially as the fridge motor starts. Same
thing for freezers.
But question: Why, if the house not equipped with even grounded
outlets would one plug a fridge into a 'portable GFCI'.
Was the OP attempting to overcome some other perceived or actual
If, for example there was some slight leakage to the metal frame of
the fridge, would it not be best to arrange some sort of ground for
that one item and hide the extra wiring (to say a grounded water pipe
etc. etc.) behind the fridge. Such leakage unlikely (although we had a
dryer that went that way one time; it turned out to be a broken ground
connection). But if really noticeable could be an incipient fault and/
or inherent capacitance between wiring, internal parts of the motor/
compressor and the frame/casing?
I suggest you run a new line to the frig. It should not be GFI
protected. I suggest that it is a good idea to have a device on the same
circuit that would give you notice if the power when out, like a light that
you regularly used. That can avoid a total loss of food if the power to that
circuit goes out.
- I suggest that it is a good idea to have a device on the same
circuit that would give you notice if the power when out
I have 4 such devices on the same circuit as my fridge - Mark, Steven,
Erin & Katie. Trust me, if the fridge wasn't working, they'd let me
know. Sometimes these devices even leave the door open so I can make
sure the light inside the fridge is working. They're such considerate
Old refrigerators develop internal ground faults in the compressor.
The GFCI is doing it's job.
If you do decide to skip the GFCI be very sure you connect it to a
grounded receptacle so the internal short is only wasting you money
and not giving you a touch hazard.
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