Fridge in garage keeps tripping gfci recepticle

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  #1  
Old 07-07-04, 08:01 AM
hoboscratch
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Fridge in garage keeps tripping gfci recepticle

Just bought a new construction home, the garage is a gfci circuit. I have a deep freeze running just fine, but whenever the fridge is plugged in, it trips the gfci outlet. This happens even when everything else is unplugged and I plug just the fridge in. It trips it the second its plugged. I'm assuming that the amps on the gfci recept is too low. Isn't the standard about 15 amps? I did some searching around and found a 20 amp one, but think that'll be enough to power my fridge? Would 30 be better? Or will I need to run some new wires to get around the gfci for that particular outlet?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-07-04, 08:18 AM
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The best solution is to install a new circuit, and a new non-GFCI simplex receptacle, for your freezer. There's a good chance that that garage receptacle is already sharing a circuit with too many other things, and you risk an overload by adding the freezer.

There is no meaningful difference between a 15-amp GFCI and a 20-amp GFCI, so making that change has no chance of helping.

Once the GFCI trips, are you able to reset it with the freezer still plugged in?

Is the freezer new? If not, how old is it?

If installing a new circuit is out of the question, then you need to tap off the line side of the GFCI and install a new simplex receptacle next to the freezer.

Your problem is extremely common. We hear it here all the time. Let us know how you want to proceed and we can offer more suggestions.
 
  #3  
Old 07-07-04, 10:14 AM
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You may be able to just replace this one outlet with a non-gfci outlet, and move the GFCI outlet. Is thie refrigerator plugged into the first outlet on the circuit, or one in the middle?

However, this won't address the other problem. That being that freezeers and refrgierators shouldn't really be shared with other loads. These devices draw enough current that they warrant their own circuit.
 
  #4  
Old 07-07-04, 10:27 AM
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There is a third problem.

Fridges and freezers can cause a 'nuisance trip' of a GFCI now and then. And these nuisance trips can cause food to spoil. That is why you shouldn't put fridges and freezers on a gfci.

But if the fridge always causes the GFCI to trip immediately when plugged in, this strongly suggests a ground fault in the fridge. This might be just a bit of leakage from a door heater or the like, or it could be a more serious problem.

-Jon
 
  #5  
Old 07-07-04, 10:28 AM
hoboscratch
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Well, I'm probably going to end up installing two new receptacles. One for the freezer, which is brand new, and one for the fridge, which is OLD. I already have the freezer plugged into a non-gfci recept, but is obviously still on the same gfci circuit. Its the fridge that I'm trying to plug in that is causing problems. Again, it trips the gfci even if Nothing else in the garage is plugged in. I just got the fridge from my bro, who had it working in his non-gfci'd garage just last week...

That brings me to another question though...Now bear with me, I've worked with some pretty extensive 12-volt wiring but that's it...

If every outlet in my garage is on this gfci circuit, does that mean that they would be wired in series? If so, I'm assuming that there would be just a few wires to the gfci receptacle from the other outlets...would I be able to remove them and tap them right there, or will I have to run all new wires directly from the breaker? Otherwise, if its wired in parallel, would there then be a huge bundle of wires tapped into the back of the gfci recept?
 
  #6  
Old 07-07-04, 10:31 AM
hoboscratch
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Originally Posted by winnie
There is a third problem.

Fridges and freezers can cause a 'nuisance trip' of a GFCI now and then. And these nuisance trips can cause food to spoil. That is why you shouldn't put fridges and freezers on a gfci.

But if the fridge always causes the GFCI to trip immediately when plugged in, this strongly suggests a ground fault in the fridge. This might be just a bit of leakage from a door heater or the like, or it could be a more serious problem.

-Jon
You know, I was wondering if maybe something got damaged in the move over here. I checked the plug as it goes into back of the fridge and then checked each wire as it went to its respective destination, all looked ok. Is there a way I can test with my multimeter whether or not there is a ground fault?
 
  #7  
Old 07-07-04, 11:06 AM
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To test for this properly, you need a 'megger' which is a high voltage ohm meter. However you might be able to get some useful information with a normal multimeter.

With the fridge unplugged, test the resistance between all of the pins on the plug. There are three pins, and thus three possible resistance measurements that you can make. One of these measurements (between the two flat blades) should be low, and should change based upon switch settings (eg thermostat on or off, door open or closed, etc) The other two measurements (flat blade to round ground pin) should be extremely high or open circuit. Report the values that you measure here.

-Jon
 
  #8  
Old 07-07-04, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hoboscratch
It trips it the second its plugged.
Originally Posted by hoboscratch
I just got the fridge from my bro, who had it working in his non-gfci'd garage just last week...

Sounds to me like this fridge has a ground fault and that the GFCI is doing it's job.

Try running a heavy-duty extension cord (for test purposes only!)to a known non-GFCI receptacle. If the fridge works, it has an internal ground fault and should not be used until it is properly repaired.
 
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