The danger, and the reason the neutral can't be dependent upon a device, is
that if there is an open neutral situation, you get a 240 volt circuit
feeding 120 volt devices. It is much more reliable to splice them
independently and pigtail the outlet. Yes, you can install a GFCI on either
of the circuits
The only wires you want to keep together are the whites. There are two
circuits involved, the red wire was on one of them and in the box, you'll
find two black wires spliced together, they are the second circuit
I am not sure if this is what you have. But upon first reading, this
sounds like a shared neutral. If refrigerator and washer/dryer are
not on separate phases, then a very dangerous fire hazard exists.
Both circuits should be a dual circuit breaker so that if one circuit
trips, then both trip.
If both circuits share a common neutral, then a GFCI in the circuit
breaker box with constantly trip and both circuits must be GFCIed.
But refrigerators must not be on a GFCI according to code.
If it is a shared neutral, the best solution is to run a new circuit
either to refrigerator or to washer dryer. A shared neutral must be
performed with care to avoid fire.
Appreciate the concept. Determining what is good and bad by only
testing is risky. View correct wiring AND verify it separately with
numbers. Few problems are as dangerous as an improperly implemented
Route an extension cord from refrigerator outlet to washer room.
The hot wire (smaller flat plug hole) from refrigerator to washer
circuit hot wire must measure 240 volts. The hot wire from each hot
wire receptacle to both neutrals (wider flat hole) (4 measurements)
must measure 120 volts.
Finally, wire colors in refrigerator and washer receptacles should
match colors attached to breaker box circuit breakers. Discover each
circuit breaker positioned in box on opposite phases. Only then do
you know (with certainty) that neutral wire will not be overloaded;
create a fire.
Reason for putting both circuits on a dual breaker: 1) while working
on one circuit, voltage from the other circuit would not accidentally
shock the worker. And 2) it would make it obvious that this is a
shared neutral - the next person should not make a mistake. Even if
you don't install that dual breaker, still, absolutely verify the
refrigerator and washer are on opposite phases.
A shared neutral will (should) not trip GFCIs in either receptacle.
The fact that a refrigerator GFCI trips would make me nervous (not as
nervous over the shared neutral). However, once that problem is
resolved, code says to not use a GFCI on refrigerators.
On Mon, 12 Nov 2007 18:13:04 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
In fact the only place it is even referenced is in 210.52(B)(1)ex2
where they allow a dedicated receptacle for the fridge that is not
"serving the countertop" .
That may be gone in 2008. I still haven't seen the final copy.
That depends on the breaker box, but generally speaking, odd-numbered breakers
are on one leg, even-numbered breakers on the other leg, e.g. (with the two
legs labelled A & B):
1 ------- A -------- 11
2 ------- B -------- 12
3 ------- A -------- 13
10 ----- B -------- 20
Bad idea, but not necessarily a Code violation.
That's why you shouldn't put a refrigerator on a GFCI.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Back in one of your earlier posts you said:
"Yes, if I turn on the breaker, I get 110v between the red wire and
*one* of the white wires.
If I test between the red wire and the *other* white wire, I get 220v."
This proves that you are on separate phases
washers and refrigerators shouldnt be GFCI protected because they
false trip. one day you will be away and come home finding your fridge
is warm because it false tripped.
washers may work fine for mmonths then trip out.
I have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:(
On Mon, 12 Nov 2007 07:17:14 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
That's what I was thinking... and since I disconnected the outlet
without turning the other shared neutral circuit off, it I had been on
the same phase wouldn't I have sent that circuit 240v and blown up the
If you had both hot legs live, then separated the neutrals, you would create
a 240 volt circuit, however if more than one thing was connected to that
circuit, they would be in series and would be sharing that 240 volts
Yes, you created an open neutral by disconnecting the receptacle. The
neutrals should be pigtailed together so this cannot happen. You saw what
kind of hazard opening the neutral can create. Your wire routing is
incorrect if the black wire feeding the refrigerator does not come through
this box but everything will work normally if you just pigtail the white
wires and connect the pigtail to the line neutral terminal of the GFCI
outlet. Connect the red wire to the line hot terminal of the GFCI outlet.
Connect the ground, if used. All will be fine.
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