I recently bought a small 7.2 cu ft chest freezer. According to the
documentation, it uses 1.6 amps at 120VAC, so it's not exactly a pig
(the energy sticker says $23/yr). I'm confused by the fact that the
instructions state that it requires a dedicated circuit. What is the
reason for that?
Let's say you have in the same circuit as your kid's bedroom. The kids are
horsing around and do something to trip the breaker. They get up the next
day and go to school and the breaker is still off. So is your freezer.
Or maybe it is on the same circuit as that little used receptacle in the
basement and it trips out just as your wife finishes vacuuming so she
forgets to tell you until a week later when she wants to vacuum again?
You don't want it on a GFCI circuit either as it can trip for some reason
and it kills the freezer. The scenarios presented here are based on real
life happenings posted here by others with spoiled food.
I believe you can buy a small device (probably battery operated?) that
will sound if/when there is no AC power to your freezer?
Anybody go information/comments about them? If so could they post
here. In meantime will do an internet search.
As an alternative you can add a small light (I like those small flat
night light panels) to the same circuit as the fridge/freezer mounted where
you will regularly see it. If there is no light, you then know there is a
2) http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0017651515725a.shtml (Appears similar
to item 1) and has on/off switch.
3) Also models (google search) that will dial up to four telephone
numbers if freezer temp outside limits.
Prices for 1 and appear to be $10 to $20 plus shipping.
One of theses might be an alternative if it is just not possible to
install a separate circuit?
Chest type freezers in particular are often poked away out of regular
sight in garage or basement storage area; by the time one finds
freezer not working there may be a soggy mess of unusable/unsafe food?
Thanks, all, for the responses. I just assumed that the requirement
was a safety feature in the more traditional (circuit overload)
sense. I'm going to be using this freezer for my beer kegs, so a
normal freezer alarm won't work (they trigger when the temp rises
above, say, 15 degrees. This will typically be around 40). I'll
probably just cobble together a simple 'lost power' alarm.
Curiously, my upright freezer has a built in temperature alarm.
Unfortunately, it's AC powered, so it would be useless in the
An alternative Q might be: "Why do so many people take only a quick
peek at the instructions before depositing them in the trash can?"
My conjecture is simply that the folks that wrote the instructions
(and perhaps some others) assume that the owner is not competent
to monitor circuit design/usage and act accordingly. Examples
were given in other responses. Under such assumption, the
only safe recommendation is for a dedicated circuit.
I doubt that NEC requires a dedicated circuit in your circumstance.
Local ordinance *could*, I suppose.
You properly identified usage as 1.6 amps at 120VAC. Check the surge
spec (if any) as well. If both specs are consistent with your
rational expectation of total usage on an existing circuit (with
which you're entirely familiar), I doubt that a dedicated circuit
would be needed.
If existing circuits are all potentially overloaded after adding
freezer amp draw, install a new circuit.
"Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens!"
Like others said, it's probably more of a suggestion than code.
My whole garage is on one circuit along with 2 exterior outlets. Let's
see, 1 chest freezer, 1 refrigerator/freezer, 1 garage door opener, 1
compressor. Oh,... an electrical cord that goes to the shed next to the
garage that has all my tabletop tools; table saw, router, band saw,
drill press, etc. I blow the breakers all the time if I am not careful
to limit myself to one tool at a time. I'm in the garage at one time or
another every day, so I keep an eye on the garage door opener on the
wall to see that the little red light is still on.
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