GFCI Outlet Question ?

Hello,
Have put in a GFCI wall outlet type of GFCI breaker in kitchen. The typical type by Leviton.
Wired it as a "feed-thru" configuration, in that it also controls downstream wall outlets.
The refrigerator is on one of these downstream outlets.
The GFCI trips every day or so. Hard to tell if it's when the fridge turns on or off, though. Again, not all of the time.
Question:
Are these gadgets "notoriously fickle" and sensitive in their usage history ?
Think the fridge might be the problem, or... ?
Thanks, Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert11 wrote:

outlet that is not controlled by the gfci and see if it trips. gfci's can be touchy.
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is typically stated that refridgerators and freezers should not be plugged into a GFCI-controlled outlet. There is certainly no requirement that says you have to, unless things have changed very recently. Well, unless of course the fridge is plugged into an receptacle which is "installed to serve the countertop surfaces" which is what the NEC GFCI code covers.
The biggest danger is that something will trip the GFCI, maybe even the fridge or freezer itself, and all the contents will be ruined.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/14/2008 10:12 AM Robert11 spake thus:

Not usually, but can be if defective. See below.

Dunno. Easy to find out, though: just unplug the fridge from the GFCI circuit and see if the problem (the GFCI tripping) goes away. (Plug the fridge in elsewhere in the meantime to avoid spoiled food.)
--
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Never have the fridge on a GFCI protected line.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The new GFI receptacles are much better than older versions so it is possible that there is a problem with your fridge. Refrigerators in the kitchen are not required to have GFI protection.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines are not usually put on GFCIs because of false trips. plus old wiring long runs can develop capacitive coupling, causing false trips.
try plugging fridge into a extension cord if the trip stops you know the cause.
refrigerators are supposed to be on a dedicated outlet
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines are not usually put on GFCIs because of false trips. plus old wiring long runs can develop capacitive coupling, causing false trips.
One of the reasons for kitchen countertop receptacles to be GFCI protected is because of service people getting shocked or electrocuted when working on plumbing or appliances by plugging a faulty cord or tool into the outlet. The code does not require GFCI protection for a hardwired dishwasher nor for a behind the fridge receptacle. However the 2008 NEC eliminates many exceptions to the GFCI rule. All garage receptacles regardless of their use or location must now be GFCI protected. This includes refrigerators and garage door openers. And of course all outlets now are required to be tamper resistant. Hurry and use up your inventory.
GFCI's are required in laundry areas when they are within six feet of a sink.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

re: All garage receptacles regardless of their use or location must now be GFCI protected
I don't know how many people have fridges, freezers or beer coolers in their garages - millions? - but I'm guessing that the majority are going to lean towards being non-compliant vs. moving the appliance.
I know a guy whose address is very similar to mine who replaced a GFCI protected receptacle in his garage with a standard receptacle because my - errr - I mean *his* freezer tripped the GFCI and he lost a bunch of food.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

re: All garage receptacles regardless of their use or location must now be GFCI protected
I don't know how many people have fridges, freezers or beer coolers in their garages - millions? - but I'm guessing that the majority are going to lean towards being non-compliant vs. moving the appliance.
I know a guy whose address is very similar to mine who replaced a GFCI protected receptacle in his garage with a standard receptacle because my - errr - I mean *his* freezer tripped the GFCI and he lost a bunch of food.
*This very issue came up in a recent code class that I took. According to the instructor the reasoning behind this change is that there may not always be a fridge there. When you move out, the new occupants may have another use for that particular receptacle. The new GFCI's are supposed to be less prone to nuisance tripping. As a licensed electrical contractor I am obligated to follow what is required. I personally think builders should make provisions for a second fridge or freezer in the kitchen as it seems that many people have a second unit in their garage or basement.
Several months ago I was doing work for some customers in their house. While there I noticed in the garage that they had a refrigerator. It was connected to an extension cord that was run on the floor in front of the steps that lead into the house from the garage. They had unplugged the central vac unit which had a high mounted receptacle and plugged the refrigerator extension cord in instead. This couple had three small children. I sent them a letter outlining the safety hazards associated with this hookup which also mentioned trip hazards as well as electrical. I also included a price to make it right. I have not heard from them regarding this. If that vac outlet was a GFCI there would be a certain degree of protection when that cord became frayed from people walking on it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think the requirement for GFCI's in garages will lead to more extension cords or other ways around them to avoid the danger of nuisance trips. Even with the aforementioned lessening of nuisance trips, many folks aren’t going to take that chance with a fridge or freezer.
I believe they call that the law of unexpected consequences.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A receptacle located behind an appliance that is not readily moved and dedicated to it; which for some inspectors means it must be a single receptacle; is exempt from the requirement for GFCI protection.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*Tom, the exceptions have been deleted in the 2008 book. I had to read it three times myself just to confirm.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm sorry about your loss.
1) You might want to check out the appliance to see whether some water or condensation has gotten where is should not be. Some fridges uses quartz tube heaters and if the frost build up was high the ends of the tube would get wet ... Some folks report problems when the appliance switches off which indicates electrical leakage around the thermost contacts.
2) You also might want to invest in a "freezer alarm." But that will not help if you leave the house for more than a day or so.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think the requirement for GFCI's in garages will lead to more extension cords or other ways around them to avoid the danger of nuisance trips. Even with the aforementioned lessening of nuisance trips, many folks aren’t going to take that chance with a fridge or freezer.
I believe they call that the law of unexpected consequences.
* The people who wrote the code consider the loss of life more important than the loss of refrigerated food. Unfortunately you are correct in assuming that some people will decide for themselves how important convenience is.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.