15 amp gfci breaker tripping

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  #1  
Old 03-22-07, 03:53 PM
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15 amp gfci breaker tripping

I installed a Whirlpool fridge, model sd22dq, to an outlet in my garage. The outlet is rated for 15 amps, the wire #14 a is part of a circuit with a gfci breaker rated for 15 amps. When plug the fridge the gfci breaker trips, sometimes it takes 30 minutes, sometimes it takes 5 hours before it trips. When I unplug the fridge the breaker stop tripping. How can I solve this problem?

Thanks,

raguzman
 
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  #2  
Old 03-22-07, 04:02 PM
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The code makes an exception (other conditions apply) that allows such appliances in garages to not be GFCI protected. The exception is precisely to avoid the problem you are having.

I should note, however, that many refrigerators behave quite nicely on a GFCI. Is your refrigerator old? If so, the motor may have some leakage. It is rare for a new refrigerator to trip a GFCI.

You can remove this from GFCI protection from this receptacle (with certain restrictions), but you'll have to make sure that everything else on the circuit still has it. There are several different ways to accomplish this. Start by telling us everything that is on this circuit. Shut off the breaker and check everything in your house. It is very common for this circuit to include things all over the house, including the upstairs back bathroom and some receptacles in the basement too. So you need to do a thorough check.
 
  #3  
Old 03-23-07, 11:27 AM
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Smile 15 amp gfci breaker tripping

Thanks for your prompt response. I think that you are right about the age of the fridge and possible leakage, as it is about 10 years old. The circuit includes two bathrooms (one outlet in each), the garage (one outlet), and one outlet in the patio. The kitchen has an individual gfci in the outlet's box.

I really appreciate your help,

Ramon
 
  #4  
Old 03-23-07, 11:35 AM
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So here are a few options.

1. Get a new refrigerator.
2. Throw the refrigerator away (you don't need that much beer anyway).
3. Replace every receptacle on the circuit with a GFCI receptacle, except the one used for the refrigerator. Use LINE side connections only (nothing connected to the LOAD side). Make sure the refrigerator receptacle is a simplex (not duplex) receptacle, and make sure it is in the dedicated space of the refrigerator (i.e., the refrigerator blocks access to it). Replace the GFCI breaker with an ordinary one.
4. If you figure out the routing of the cable, you may be able to reduce the number of GFCI receptacles you need, and use the LOAD side on some of them. This is a tricky process, and it might save you a few bucks (at the cost of some time).
5. Run a new dedicated circuit for your refrigerator. This is by far and away the best solution. Do this if you possibly can.

Please pick #5 or #2. Please.
 
  #5  
Old 03-23-07, 11:51 AM
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One final comment on a new refrigerator. A new refrigerator will save you money in the long run. Energy efficiency in refrigerators has come a long way in ten years. Further, you can probably better buy a refrigerator that is sized to your needs (as opposed to using the old one from the kitchen, or the one you got from a friend, etc.). Sometimes the power company may even pay you for your old refrigerator when you replace it with a new one. Yes, it's a hit to the wallet to buy a new refrigerator, but the cost benefit of doing so beats keeping the old one cold (pun intended).
 
  #6  
Old 03-23-07, 12:15 PM
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Wink 15 amp gfci breaker tripping

John, thanks for your great advice. I will throw away this old fridge and get a small freezer (to keep some fish) with a high efficiency rating. If choose this option I guess that I don't have to make any changes to the actual circuit setup, right?

Thanks,

Ramon
 
  #7  
Old 03-23-07, 12:25 PM
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You would still run the risk of something else tripping the GFCI and spoiling all your fish. Could be as simple as somebody spashing water in the bathroom. Fish could be spoiled before you even knew it. You might want to get one of those alarms that sounds if the power goes off.
 
  #8  
Old 03-24-07, 04:09 PM
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Smile Guzman Raquel ([email protected])

John, thanks again for your excellent advice. I'm relly impress with the speed and professionalism of your answers.

Truyly grateful,

Ramon
 
  #9  
Old 03-31-07, 07:31 AM
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Question 15 amp gfci breaker tripping

John, I bought a new freezer. The manufacturer, GE, recommends I install a separate circuit for the fridge. Please advice me as to whether I should install a 15 amps or 20 amps circuit breaker and wire. The fridge is a 14.1 cubic inches upright type. Also, how far from the current gfci outlet must I install the new outlet in my garage?

Thanks in advance,

Ramon
 
  #10  
Old 03-31-07, 10:16 AM
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If the manufacturer doesn't specify whether it needs to be a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit, then you could install either. Although the 15-amp would be enough for this freezer, most here would install the 20-amp circuit anyway, since the extra cost is trivial, and it offers more future flexibility. The breaker, box and receptacle are the same, so the only difference in cost is the 12/2 vs. 14/2 wire. Be sure to put the new receptacle in the dedicated space to be occupied by the appliance.
 
  #11  
Old 03-31-07, 10:37 AM
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If you can plug that freezer into a wall socket, it's only 15A. 20A appliances have special plugs that don't fit standard receptacles. A 15A circuit with #14 wire is fine for this. That said, if you go with a 15A breaker, I think most here would recommend you run #12 wire anyhow, so you can upgrade it in the future to a 20A circuit if you ever want to

Most inspectors like to see a single-receptacle (as opposed to a duplex receptacle) installed for a dedicated appliance- that makes it apparent it's special. It should be mounted in a position that will be blocked by the fridge, and labeled as non-GFCI protected.

If you put a single receptacle on a dedicated 20A circuit, it has to be rated at 20A which may cost $1-2 more, and will have one T shaped slot as opposed to two | slots, so as to accomodate the 15A plugs you're used to seeing, as well as 20A plugs.
 
  #12  
Old 04-01-07, 10:08 AM
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Smile 15 amp gfci breaker tripping

Again, thanks a lot for your prompt and profesional response

Ramom
 
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