OT: GFI Electrical Question

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My mom put a fridge (15A) in her garage and it was plugged into a GCI circuit (not a gfi outlet). It kept tripping the GFI circuit every so often, but this same circuit ran other appliances in her kitchen. I wired a NEW circuit (15A) dedicated to her fridge and installed a new GFI outlet. The dam thing is still tripping the GFI. I wanted to stay in 'code' with the GFI in the garage, but I might switch her outlet to a non-GFI.
Thoughts? Is it code to have a dedicated circuit to a fridge in a garage be GFI?
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Brian
www.garagewoodworks.com
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Hurry up and change it before your municipality adopts the 2006 NEC. Yes, a conventional recep was allowed in the garage for freezer/second refrigerator. Apparently we will be losing that 1/2 beef and ice cream once the GFI and ArcFaults become code. Makes you wonder who is making the big decisions. Hope you don't live where the power is subject to weather anomalies like ice storms, etc.
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Thanks. The more I read on the internet, the more I find out that you are NOT supposed to plug a fridge into a GFI outlet. Doh!!
She needed a new circuit anyway, so now all that is needed is to swap out the GFI receptacle for a non-gfi recep.
http://www.electricianpdq.com/ElectricalProblems / Refrigerator in the basement or garage. Most homes built in the last forty (40) years or so have GFIC protected outlets in the basement and garage. Refrigerators and freezer should NOT be plugged into a GFI circuit receptacle because they will damage GFI's over time causing it fail. You don't want to all your food to spoil unknowingly because the GFIC failed. If your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI protected receptacle, you should have the electrician in install a new non GFI circuit for it.
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"Garage_Woodworks" wrote

Careful now ... while that would certainly be an easy solution, but a GFCI equipped receptacle often protects other receptacles downstream.
IOW, before you simply "replace" the GFCI receptacle, make sure that there are no other receptacles downstream which it protects, or you may be placing yourself, or future occupants, at risk.
As you've found out, a refrigerator, as well as lights, should not be on GFCI equipped receptacles.
FWIW ...
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Originally her fridge was plugged into a GFI circuit that 'did' have other outlets in the same GFI circuit. I installed a new 15A circuit and GFI receptacle. The GFI receptacle is the only one on the new circuit.

I like to find things out the hard way! <G>
Thanks!

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I am not an electrician nor do I play one on TV BUT acording to several friends that are, a refrigerator should be on a 20 amp circuit by itself. A gfi wont work due to how the compressor uses power.[whatever that means!] when I wired my garage woorkshop the inspector told me that ONLY the outlet nearest the doors had to be GFI. that was 3 years ago. all other above the bench recepticals could be regular circuits. mine are all 20 amp w/ 12 guage wire. I originally put GFI breakers in for all the outlets. 3 total. when he inspected the wiring he said it was nice of me to do that but I didnt need to by code. as stated..... YMMV. I am in N.C. BTW.
skeez
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I'm in VA and did pretty much the same, but discovered the damned GFI breakers loved to trip themselves for kicks...nothing wrong with circuit or tool, and the GFIs are good quality. I've pulled most of them and gone to GFI receptacles where I feel they are needed. I just tossed my ancient refrigerator--well, a couple months ago--and got an immediate drop of almost $27 a month in my shop electric bill (with a much smaller refrigerator, about a 1/2 size unit). When I pulled that thing out, a freebie given to me about '97 after it was considred NFG for home use, I discovered mold all over the top and much of the sides where it stayed wet from air leaks...but it NEVER blew a breaker. Old machine. I only use it to keep Coke cold, so the little box is more than enough.
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wrote:

Well skeezics,
I **AM** and electrician, although I have never played one on TV. Therefore, my advice based on only 31 years experience in the industry is to be considered "suspect". ;-)) We ALL know that much like the Internet, any opinions from actors or amateurs on ANY subject is better than that from qualified professionals. If you doubt this, just look at how America laps up the "Hollywood line" and passes along outrageous myths about everything from spiders in the hairdo to hooks stuck in the side of the car as it exited lovers lane. ;-))
Speaking seriously now...There are many variations of the electrical code as enforced by local communities. However, it is generally accepted most everywhere that a DEDICATED receptacle designed to service a single "appliance" is exempt from the GFI requirement, where the GFI requirement could/would compromise the operation of the appliance. Appliance doesn't just mean something from the kitchen or the laundry. Grandma's oxygen concentrator would apply here too. Sump pumps in the basement are another example.
A DEDICATED receptacle is a receptacle that has a single use, and once connected to its specified device, nothing else can be connected. An electric dryer is another example of a dedicated receptacle. A dedicated receptacle does NOT have to be on a separate circuit to be considered dedicated, but a dedicated circuit is also frequently the case. So, If you've already installed a 120-volt, 15-amp GROUNDED circuit, all you generally need to do is install a SINGLE receptacle for the frig. The common DUPLEX receptacle does not qualify as you can still plug in something else along with the frig, which now makes it a general purpose receptacle and subject to the GFI requirement. Also, the receptacle should be marked at the point of use to identify it as NOT GFI protected and often also what the purpose is. I always use a permanent parker and write, "NOT GFI PROTECTED. FOR XXX USE ONLY", where XXX is replaced by refrigerator, or freezer, or air compressor, or whatever you are wanting to operate at this point. This way the end user has knowledge that this is NOT a general purpose GFI protected receptacle.
Someone else mentioned that because the new GFI receptacle you installed was still tripping that you need a 20 amp circuit. If it is the receptacle that is tripping and not the circuit breaker, then you are experiencing a ground fault situation, and not an overload. I suspect this is the case, as most residential refrigerators will operate just fine on a 120-volt, 15-amp circuit. The nameplate on the appliance will usually give you the specs as to the total load. FYI: 15 amps at 120 volts is 1800 watts. If your device exceeds either the 15 amps or the 1800 watts, then the 15 amp circuit is inadequate.
Hope this helps. Now time for the opposing viewpoints.
Gary Kasten Kasten Electric Company
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YES. That does help. It was the GFI that was tripping, not the breaker in the panel. I am going to stick with the 15A breaker and the GFI recep has already been swapped out for a non-GFI recep.
Thank you.

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wrote:

ROFL..I have no doubt you are correct. as I stated I am NOT an electrician. I only can attest to what the electrical inspector told me. may or may not be correct. I am however in the consruction trades and recepticals for the refridgerator in the houses I work on are on their own circuit and are duplex outlets. I have never looked to see if they use GFI breakers so I cant say one way or another. the rules are different vitually everywhere. town to town and county to county ect.... does the rules change for attached garage or detached? just curious.

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(snip)

Gary,
I'm confused. I "converted" a GFCI protected circuit in my garage to "dedicated" for a fridge by replacing the GFCI receptacle with a single outlet for the fridge. Being under the (mistaken?) impression that code requred a dedicated circuit, I did not reconnect the wiring to the "downstream" outlets, leaving them cold. Was this unnecessary? Generally speaking, can I put a GFCI outlet in the next downstream position, thereby protecting the standard duplex outlets down the line? This is a 20A circuit with a standard breaker, by the way. In other words, coming from the breaker:
1st: dedicated single receptacle for fridge 2nd: GFCI outlet 3rd and beyond: standard duplex outlets.
Is this valid?
Thanks, Tom
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Gary,
I'm confused. I "converted" a GFCI protected circuit in my garage to "dedicated" for a fridge by replacing the GFCI receptacle with a single outlet for the fridge. Being under the (mistaken?) impression that code requred a dedicated circuit, I did not reconnect the wiring to the "downstream" outlets, leaving them cold. Was this unnecessary? Generally speaking, can I put a GFCI outlet in the next downstream position, thereby protecting the standard duplex outlets down the line? This is a 20A circuit with a standard breaker, by the way. In other words, coming from the breaker:
1st: dedicated single receptacle for fridge 2nd: GFCI outlet 3rd and beyond: standard duplex outlets.
Is this valid?
Thanks, Tom
*******************
Tom,
You were doing pretty good. You just gave up too soon. Hope you still have the GFCI receptacle you removed.
ASIDE: I know of no requirement in the NEC that requires a dedicated circuit for residential refrigerators. However, good kitchen wiring design AND common sense dictates giving the main frig in the kitchen a separate circuit. This allows the counter top appliances be operated without concern that the frig will operate, and trip the breaker that was running the coffee pot and the microwave already. We have been wiring the frig on a dedicated 120-volt, 20-amp circuit for 30 years now.
I can assure you that you don't need to sacrifice the balance of your garage circuit for "code" reasons. The other outlets in the garage are likely occasional use and not high demand appliances. If these were high demand, then THEY may need the dedicated circuit. ;-)) Therefore, restoring the balance of the GFI protected circuit is a good idea. I assume you know how to pass the current from the junction box where you removed the GFCI receptacle and installed the single receptacle to the next junction box. By doing that you now have power to the second location.
At this second location, identify the black and white wires that are in the incoming power cable and connect these to the "line" terminals of the GFCI receptacle. Connect the black and white wires from the cable going FROM this second location to the third location to the appropriate "load" terminals on the GFCI receptacle. This will now pass GFCI protected power to the balance of the circuit. All these remaining outlets can be standard duplex outlets, or single outlets, or switches feeding lights, or whatever. Then, VERIFY that when the GFCI receptacle is tested, the power stops and NO other receptacles in the garage operate except the dedicated single receptacle for the frig. Be especially careful to test the GFCI receptacle too. If you miswire it, it will still "trip", and it will shut off power to the balance of the circuit; BUT, power will still pass at the GFCI receptacle
Last step is important here. (Do be SURE it's the LAST step though) Open your new frig and reach in for the cold frosty beverage that tastes so good when this hot job is done!
Gary Kasten
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Thanks for the detailed reply. As an EE, I knew that "logically" this would work, and "logically" it would be safe, but I definitely misinterpreted the code and thought it would be a violation.
This will really help because the downstream outlets will eventually be needed (small loads only).
Your advice about the last step will be taken and taken well! Cheers!
Tom
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When we get electricity here in Canada, we are told that we shouldn't plug a fridge into a GFI. All new houses where I install countertops never have GFI in the fridge cubicle. This is in anticipation of the home-owners getting electrical stuff in the future. <G>
r
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I think it's too cold for electricity to flow through wires in Canada. Electricity gets too viscous when frozen.
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Actually, it might flow *better.* To get super conducting materials, one of the things they do is chill it down as cold as they can get it. :-)
Puckdropper
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To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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wrote:

Any hope of someone importing a generator up there in the near future?
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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They're still debating whether to go to 110v or 220v... something about extensions cords..
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They're still debating whether to go to 110v or 220v... something about extensions cords..
When did they decide between the AC DC thing ? ; )
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"Mark H" <nomail> wrote in message

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