Grounded vs. GFCI

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Old 10-28-03, 02:23 PM
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Grounded vs. GFCI

I need a bit of clarification if possible.

I own a home, built in 1960, which is NOT grounded and can only be grounded if it was rewired, which I cannot afford to do at the present time (wiring is not surrounded by metal casing unfortunately).

So, my question arises about the best way to do the wiring with the grounded appliances--fridge, microwave, etc. I am considering replacing only those receptacles that have the fridge and microwave with a GFCI receptacle. As I see it from reading stuff on the forum, this is safer but not as safe as a ground--ie. if the fridge became HOT (a live wire on the inside frayed and touched the metal encasing), a grounded circuit would trip right away, and a GFCI would not, however, if I were to touch the fridge and be grounded myself, the GFCI would trip (maybe giving me a shock but not killing me) whereas if I did not have a GFCI (just had a regular, not grounded receptacle) I would get a large shock and could be killed.

Is this correct? Is there any reason then why I should not replace the receptacles for the fridge and microwave with a GFCI?

I also realize though that a GFCI offers more protection in other ways, ie. if I were using a hairdryer (only has two pronged plug, so it is not grounded) and were to drop it in a puddle of water that I was standing in, the GFCI would trip and the grounded outlet would not because the plug from the hairdryer isn't grounded. In this case, the GFCI is safer. And of course the safest is a GFCI grounded outlet, you get the best of both.

Please correct me if I am missing anything or am confused. Thanks.
 
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Old 10-28-03, 02:48 PM
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Grounding without GFCI provides personal safety, safety for electronic gear, and fire safety.

GFCI without grounding provides better personal safety than grounding, fire safety, but no safety at all for electronic gear. It also provides a code-approved way of installing 3-hole receptacles, into which you can then plug your three-prong appliances. Unfortunately, if the GFCI into which your refrigerator is connected trips, your food spoils.

GFCI is a clear choice for general use receptacles, especially on the kitchen counter and in the bathrooms, but also in the kids room and family room. GFCI is a mixed bag for your large appliances such as a refrigerator, and also a mixed bag for your electronics.

A compromise that is often used is to run one new grounded circuit for your computer equipment. Run another one for your refrigerator if you can.
 
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Old 10-29-03, 06:23 AM
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How often would a GFCI trip if the refrigerator was attached to it? I thought it would only trip if there was a short somewhere, but it seems to be suggested that it may just trip randomly and my food would spoil. I guess I don't understand why it would be a mixed bag for the refridgerator and appliances.
 
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