I discovered this evening that I lost power to 2 separate outlets in
my garage. One of the outlets is a GFCI which had a freezer plugged
into it via extension cord. The GFCI tripped about 2 weeks ago for
the first time, but no follow up problems until today. I tried to
re-route the freezer with the extension cord to the only other power
outlet in the garage (not GFCI) which was also dead. The 15amp
circuit that these outlets go to was not tripped (resetting the
circuit made no difference). Now the GFCI outlet that had the freezer
plugged into it trips on its own after about 5 seconds following a
reset - even when nothing is plugged in. Any advice/trouble shooting
tips before brining in a Electrician?
It's very possible that the "not" GFCI outlet is fed from the GFCI outlet.
All non dedicated outlets in a garage are supposed to be GFCI protected. A
single GFCI can feed multiple downstream ones. This is pretty common
One way you could test this is to plug a turned on lamp into the "non" GFCI.
Then reset the GFCI and see if you get any light within the 5 second time
before the GFCI trips.
Assuming they are tied together, I would turn off the breaker, check the
wiring behind both outlets. Especially look for a connection on the "Load"
terminals on the back of the GFCI. This is where other outlets are fed
from, and it will be an indication that something is downstream. If there's
nothing on the "Load" terminals, then it sounds like you have two different
circuits, but it would be odd that they both would have problems at the same
If everything looks OK, then try a new GFCI. It's possible that the one has
failed, maybe the freezer motor has degraded the GFCI circuitry over time.
Incidentially, it's not recommended to put a dedicated function like a
freezer (or fridge, sump pump, etc.) on a GFCI, because if it does trip you
end up having things go bad.
If you end up having an electrican check into it, see about getting a
non-GFCI outlet put in for the freezer. You may be able to eliminate the
extension cord, and avoid having your stuff spoil from the outlet tripping.
To add to what Mike said. You may have a problem with the wiring in the
wall causing the GFCI to trigger or you may have a problem with the freezer.
I would not rule out either. Does the freezer have a grounded plug? I
don't know if you can legally have even a dedicated circuit in a garage that
is not GFCI.
I believe the rules say that if the "location" (not device) needs a GFCI,
but is dedicated (to a major appliance or permanent wire device),
you don't need a GFCI, regardless of where it is.
Ie: a washing machine or dryer in a bathroom doesn't need a GFCI. Fridges don't
need GFCIs in unfinished basements, garages, or bathrooms. But pools and hot
tubs need GFCIs no matter where they are.
To be anally correct, it should be a single-receptacle outlet tho (NEC, not
CEC I believe) to avoid portable appliances being connected to it.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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