Electrical issues

cmonkey

Member
298
38
NW Virgina
New house. Garage has a 20 amp breaker with 5 outlets counting the garage door opener, on it. One outlet has a 20 amp GFCI outlet in it which is required by code? I have a spare refrigerator freezer, it's a new fridge, and within minutes of plugging the fridge in, with nothing else plugged in on the circuit, it pops the GFCI outlet. Do I need to replace the GFCI outlet?
 

Ventucky Red

Super Anarchist
11,580
1,309
Did you recycle the GFCI?

Get an extension cord and test with one of the other outlets and the fridge, and then with another circuit... it may be the outlet you're plugging into or something in the fridge.
 
On some refrigerators when the compressor starts, the capacitor on the motor release excess electricity, which will go to ground. This will cause a GFCI to trip. It happens mostly on older systems that were overbuilt. Find a grounded circuit without a GFCI, and that should take care of your problem.
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
27,401
4,043
Suwanee River
I have found that GFI outlets are often eh-hem..... faulty.
Like VenRed says, try it on a different outlet. (I'm not sure extension cord is the best way to get there though)
 

Ventucky Red

Super Anarchist
11,580
1,309
I have found that GFI outlets are often eh-hem..... faulty.
Like VenRed says, try it on a different outlet. (I'm not sure extension cord is the best way to get there though)

Point taken.... that too could trip it if it is a household cord..

If you can't get the fridge to the outlet, at the least use one of these

00537135.jpg
 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
26,613
4,411
Long Beach, California
The GFI protects people and equipment by measuring “leaks” to ground. It does this by comparing the hot side current to the return side and if a difference more than…….I think 5milliamp…….shuts off the circuit. Different than a circuit breaker which detects over current and trips. If other things are plugged in and the gfi does not trip it’s likely not a defective gfi. I have had bad ones but they usually either simply do not reset or trip with anything plugged in (less often). An electrician has an array of diagnostic equipment including clamp on current meters to check for leaks to ground. So what you do? Plug something else in not the frig. All okay? Probably not the gfi. The gfi doesn’t care what critter is plugged in it only looks for leaks to ground. Plug the frig in one of the downstream outlets. Same? Likely the frig. As mentioned above some equipment in normal operation shunts a little capacitance to ground. The gfi may view that as a leak to ground (which it is). You could confirm by 1) plug into non gfi circuit and if no problem it’s the frig behaving normally. 2) notice if the trip happens when the compressor cycles. Swapping out the gfi is pretty easy and cheap also. $15 and 10 minutes. Same problem? It wasn’t the gfi. More = unstable behavior. Also seems gfi do not like another gfi on same circuit. They sometimes do not play well together. Then there are GFI and better gfi. You get what you pay for in dependable performance.

Also no problem using heavy duty extension to test but the code prohibits its use in lieu of permanent wiring.
 

dfw_sailor

Super Anarchist
1,538
675
DFW
This wiring method is now very common for garages.

Pop the GFCI and then check for power on all the remaining outlets.

More likely than not, they will be unpowered (downstream of the GFCI)

The reason is the outlets are low enough on the walls to be considered as outdoor outlets with outdoor extension leads / appliances possibly connected, and higher risk of electric shock.

I have too many customers who have our product installed into the same circuit, and many other items / appliances frequently pop the GFCI.

You are best putting the fridge / freezer on a dedicated circuit that cannot be tripped by something else.

Content spoilage can be quite costly.
 

gptyk

Anarchist
783
440
California
Indeed required by code in a garage (wet location). It's worth trying to replace the CFCI, as they're not particularly expensive.

Inductive/capacitive loads can trip CFCI's. Most fridges/freezers are indeed inductive (a compressor has a motor on it).

Google will give you many results for "refrigerator trips GFCI."
 

dyslexic dog

Super Anarchist
3,916
363
Michigan
Retired electrical contractor. 99% sure all the outlets are on the load side of the first GFI if the house is newer than 40 years old. To solve it, have an electrician take the wires off the load side of the GFI and hook them to the line side. Then put GFCI outlets in all the other receptacles that were connected to the first one, EXCEPT for the freezer outlet. Replace that with a single opening outlet that will allow the freezer only to be plugged in. The last thing you want is a GFI to go bad without knowing it and ruin all of the food.
 

Wet Spreaders

Super Anarchist
2,510
300
SF Bay
Crush your beer fridge and buy a new one.
If you did what millions of people have done (remodeled the kitchen, put a nice new stainless steel fridge in there and consigned the "steadfast" almond colored Regan-era unit to the garage), it's probably costing you about $500/yr in electricity to run. A new cheap fridge will take about $150/yr.

Getting an electrician to fix your GFCI issues will cost you $300 for a call-out, plus whatever it costs for parts. Take $800, get a new fridge and sometime starting next Fall your beer will be free for the rest of your life.

Crush your beer fridge.
 

tommays

Super Anarchist
1,390
60
Northport
The Garage is required to have a GFI due to a high possibility of someone getting WET while using power

You our allowed to have a NON-GFI small appliance outlet specifically for things like a refrigerator

Ideally and electrician could make the first outlet in the String a small appliance and protect everything else downstream with a GFI

I Had to have a small appliance outlet added added as my Garage supplied a two outdoor outlet’s and it was just to much risk of food spoilage
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
27,401
4,043
Suwanee River
Crush your beer fridge and buy a new one.
If you did what millions of people have done (remodeled the kitchen, put a nice new stainless steel fridge in there and consigned the "steadfast" almond colored Regan-era unit to the garage), it's probably costing you about $500/yr in electricity to run. A new cheap fridge will take about $150/yr.

Getting an electrician to fix your GFCI issues will cost you $300 for a call-out, plus whatever it costs for parts. Take $800, get a new fridge and sometime starting next Fall your beer will be free for the rest of your life.

Crush your beer fridge.
I noticed, just by reading the OP, that the fridge is question is "new".
Here, let me C&P it for you.
"New house. Garage has a 20 amp breaker with 5 outlets counting the garage door opener, on it. One outlet has a 20 amp GFCI outlet in it which is required by code? I have a spare refrigerator freezer, it's a new fridge, and within minutes of plugging the fridge in, with nothing else plugged in on the circuit, it pops the GFCI outlet. Do I need to replace the GFCI outlet?"
 

dyslexic dog

Super Anarchist
3,916
363
Michigan
WTF ... The last thing you want is an innocent child completing the ground circuit for the faulty fridge. Keep the GFCI.
Fine, I'm just letting you know what the NEC says is allowable. Having a refrigerator not on a GFCI is/was allowable just for all the reasons that were stated. They destroy GFCI over time and then you come home and all the food is spoiled. If it is grounded properly, the chances it has stray current is low. Not impossible to have a ground fault though but I would rather face that issue then loose all my food. Just me.
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
27,401
4,043
Suwanee River
I've had several GFI outlets fry because of lightning strikes. Sure the whole house is grounded, but a direct hit, or even a pole strike will blow out the screen on your TV and fry the computers and phones as fast as...... Well..... Lightning.
I lost 2 well pumps in one summer to lightning. The insurance Co. was skeptical, but after a little research, they paid it off.
 

Grrr...

▰▰▰▰▰▰▰▰▰▰ 100%
10,263
2,675
Detroit
I've had several GFI outlets fry because of lightning strikes. Sure the whole house is grounded, but a direct hit, or even a pole strike will blow out the screen on your TV and fry the computers and phones as fast as...... Well..... Lightning.
I lost 2 well pumps in one summer to lightning. The insurance Co. was skeptical, but after a little research, they paid it off.
I like when lightening hits the transformer on the pole outside and you get sparks out of the outlets. That's so cool.

I had a pair of old self-powered speakers that would play a local radio station. Even if they weren't plugged into the stereo. THAT was a neat trick.
 

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