GFCI outlet question.

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Would a GFCI outlet work as an overload breaker? I have a refrigerator and chest freezer in my attached garage along with the garage door opener and an outside outlet box. All are on one circuit. Occasionally, the circuit breaker trips even when I am not in the garage. This causes defrosting of the fridge and freezer, besides making the garage door inoperable. When I discover the outage, I have to make a trip to the basement to reset the breaker. I occasionally run a small compressor in the garage which may cause an overload, but the compressor is plugged into a power strip which trips instead of the main breaker. I suppose that I could put power strips on all the outlets, but I'd rather just change the outlets to ones that have a breaker built in. Would a GFCI work, or is there some other outlet that would trip upon an overload?
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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GFCI outlets are designed to trip if there is a fault current, not from current overload. The real question here is why is your circuit breaker tripping? If you have too many loads on it, then you have an unsafe condition and the solution is to either shed some loads or run another circuit and some of the loads on it. If it's tripping from current surge on the compressor, then you might be able to replace the breaker with a delay type which then may not trip.
Also, think about what you are proposing, which is to use multiple GFCIs for current protection. Let's say the breaker that is tripping is on a 20 amp circuit. Even if an overload type GFCIs were available, it would be impossible to size them to the various outlets and loads to do what you want. I guess if they did exist, you could put one correctly sized as the first outlet and make all the others chained downstream, but as I said, AFAIK, all GFCI outlets just provide fault protection, not current overload protection.
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On Feb 3, 1:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Quote: Would a GFCI outlet work as an overload breaker?
No.
Agree "GFCI outlets just provide fault protection, not current overload protection"
GFCIs despite the name (Ground fault etc.) operate when the current the currents in the live wire and the neutral wire are unequal. While that difference CAN be due a fault such as may cause current to flow to ground. It can also occur momentarily when motors are starting up due to electric motor having capacitance to frame (ground).
The general recommendation is to NOT use GFCI outlets on circuits for fridges and freezers for the very reason that they may trip off and food spoil when the fridge motor starts up. . However if the circuit breaker is tripping it sounds as if it is overloaded! It would be odd if the fridge and freezer together would overload a 20 amp (#12AWG) or a 15 amp (#14AWG) but if one was running plus the other starting up there MIGHT be an momentary overload. maybe the circuit breaker is old and tired? Certainly needs investigating in case the circuit has been hooked up or extended in the past in an unsafe manner. Do not use a circuit breaker larger than that rated for the size of wiring.
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terry wrote the following:

Ok. That's what I was asking. So, is there an outlet with a integral breaker? I do not get the overload often. Maybe months apart and I do not know what causes it. I thought it had something to do with the outside outlet getting wet from rain, but the breaker had tripped even when it didn't rain. My latest thought was to move the wired garage door opener control (which has a small red indicator light) from the garage, where it is right next to the inside door to the garage, to the other side of the wall where it will be in the laundry room. There is a half bath next to the laundry room so anyone going to the bathroom can see the wired garage door opener and its light. If the breaker trips, the little light will be out. At least we can see if the breaker had tripped and can reset it before the food spoils. Since I suffer from an enlarged prostate, that would be multiple times a day. :-) Thanks.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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re: I thought it had something to do with the outside outlet getting wet from rain
Isn't this outlet a GFCI? If so, I would think it would trip itself when it got wet before it would trip the breaker.
If it's not (or not protected by one) then it should be.
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DerbyDad03 wrote the following:

No, it is not a GFCI outlet. It is one that has two separate spring loaded and weatherproofed covers for each of the dual outlets (
http://www.front-porch-ideas-and-more.com/images/receptacle-1.jpg ). It is also under an overhang and is at least 4' from any open area. I should say that the rain would have to be driving pretty hard for it to get wet. We often tripped the circuit when washing the siding under the overhang.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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re: "No, it is not a GFCI outlet."
And is not protected upstream by a GFCI?
If not, I assume you don't actually *use* this receptacle, right?
I'm not a code jockey, but I don't see anything in that picture that would allow for an exception to the code requireing GFCI's in outdoor locations.
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DerbyDad03 wrote the following:

We use it often. Power washer, Christmas lights, anything electrical that needs to be done in the driveway..

House was built in 1984 and had an electrical inspection before CO.
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Bill
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willshak wrote the following:

Added: Any GFCIs in the house (and pool house) were installed by me way after the house was built. Did they have GFCI outlets in 1984?
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Bill
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willshak wrote:

GFCIs have existed since at least the 1960s and began being required for new US homes in the mid-1970s.
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willshak wrote:

I happened to stumble across dates for the NEC when GFCI requirements were added:
These are the locations in and around the home when GFCIs were first required: 1968 - Swimming Pool Underwater Lighting 1971 - Receptacles Near Swimming Pools 1973 - Outdoor Receptacles 1975 - Bathroom Receptacles 1978 - Garage Receptacles 1981 - Whirlpools and Tubs 1987 - Receptacles Near Kitchen Sinks 1990 - Receptacles in Unfinished Basements and Crawl Spaces 1993 - Receptacles Near Wet Bar Sinks 1996 - All Kitchen Counter-Top Receptacles 2005 - Receptacles Near Laundry and Utility Sinks
The question is what version of the NEC had been adopted when the permit was pulled. (And the jurisdiction could have modified the NEC requirements.)
(Information is from David Dini at UL via Mike Holt.)
--
bud--

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bud-- wrote the following:

I am the OP.

pool. Also the first outlet on the circuit in the pool house is a GFCI outlet.

The other bathroom has no receptacles in the room.

outside receptacles above.

1984 - my house was built.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Make sure you have a copy of the inspection report in your pocket when you drag the extension cord through the puddle.
That oughta protect you.
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DerbyDad03 wrote the following:

You mean like the electric power washer that is often used with that outlet? The inspection cert is pasted on the breaker box door along with another electric inspection cert for the power to the pool house, and another elect. cert for the added sun room inspection. Yeah, they won't protect me from injury, but will from liability ( Hi grandpa!).
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re: "Yeah, they won't protect me from injury..."
Then I gotta ask:
Why not just replace it - or protect it - with a GFCI?
What is the point of taking a chance, even while protecting yourself from liability, which shows that you are well aware of the danger?
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Hide quoted text -

re: "No, it is not a GFCI outlet."
And is not protected upstream by a GFCI?
If not, I assume you don't actually *use* this receptacle, right?
I'm not a code jockey, but I don't see anything in that picture that would allow for an exception to the code requireing GFCI's in outdoor locations.
It's called grandfathered...None of my outside outlets are GFCI nor are any inside for that matter...House built in 1965....Nobody dead yet...LOL....
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Obviously that wasn't my point.
I didn't need any code to tell me it made sense to use a GFCI receptacle before they were mandated.
Long before cordless tools were prevalent, I often found myself working in wet conditions where no GFCI's were available - either because they weren't required yet or the location was "grandfathered."
I made up a 3’ extension cord with a GFCI receptacle in an outdoor enclosure that I took on every job. I was never without protection - and a lot of my coworkers daisy chained off of it also, even though there was "nobody dead yet".
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Hide quoted text -

Obviously that wasn't my point.
I didn't need any code to tell me it made sense to use a GFCI receptacle before they were mandated.
Long before cordless tools were prevalent, I often found myself working in wet conditions where no GFCI's were available - either because they weren't required yet or the location was "grandfathered."
I made up a 3’ extension cord with a GFCI receptacle in an outdoor enclosure that I took on every job. I was never without protection - and a lot of my coworkers daisy chained off of it also, even though there was "nobody dead yet".
Then what WAS your point ??? You asked why it passed inspection and I answered....I thought you said you weren't a "code jockey"?? LOL...As far as workers hooking up to you plug , I find that most will hook up to the nearest most convenient location and since you had that contraption already out and in the way , what did you expect ???
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re: "You asked why it passed inspection and I answered"
Would care to point out in which post I asked why it passed inspection?
I've checked my previous posts and I can't seem to find that question anywhere.
re: "Then what WAS your point ???"
What exactly is the thought process behind using 3 question marks when typing a question? Is that the written equivalent of saying "So are ya going to answer? Well, are ya? Huh? Are ya?
In any case, my point was that even though my house - being grandfathered, just like yours - doesn't *require* GFCI's where they would be in a newer house, everywhere the code would require one today, you will find one.
re: The GFCI extension cord "...since you had that contraption already out and in the way, what did you expect ???
There are those pesky questions marks again...maybe you need to get your keyboard cleaned.
You know, I don't recall you being at any of those jobs sites so how about you don't try to tell me what and why something happened?
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Hide quoted text -

re: "You asked why it passed inspection and I answered"
Would care to point out in which post I asked why it passed inspection?
I've checked my previous posts and I can't seem to find that question anywhere.
re: "Then what WAS your point ???"
What exactly is the thought process behind using 3 question marks when typing a question? Is that the written equivalent of saying "So are ya going to answer? Well, are ya? Huh? Are ya?
In any case, my point was that even though my house - being grandfathered, just like yours - doesn't *require* GFCI's where they would be in a newer house, everywhere the code would require one today, you will find one.
re: The GFCI extension cord "...since you had that contraption already out and in the way, what did you expect ???
There are those pesky questions marks again...maybe you need to get your keyboard cleaned.
You know, I don't recall you being at any of those jobs sites so how about you don't try to tell me what and why something happened?
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