Refrigerator and freezer on same circuit

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  #1  
Old 10-29-07, 11:11 AM
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Refrigerator and freezer on same circuit

Hi all,

I currently have a refrigerator and a deep freezer plugged into the same receptacle. Is it code to have a basement frig and freezer on separate circuits? I didn't think they drew enough amps to be a problem for one circuit to handle.

Thanks,

bsmtdweller
 
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  #2  
Old 10-29-07, 11:30 AM
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Code does not address this issue unless either unit draws a significant amount of current.

I can say that I would not do this.
 
  #3  
Old 10-29-07, 12:01 PM
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It might be iffy on a 15A circuit, but should be fine on a 20A circuit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-29-07, 01:19 PM
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I don't see a problem as long as the combined amps don't exceed 80% the circuit capacity.

bd
 
  #5  
Old 10-29-07, 02:22 PM
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The 80% isn't an issue in this case, because neither a fridge nor a freezer is a continuous load. The compressor kicks on for only a few minutes at a time, then sits idle for a while; to be considered continuous the load would need to run for more than three hours at a time. Non-continuous loads may be up to 100% of the circuit capacity.
 
  #6  
Old 10-29-07, 02:46 PM
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Watch out. In many, many homes, that basement receptacle is also serving the bathroom receptacles and the garage receptacle, and maybe even the front and back porch receptacles. The freezer and refrigerator may not be too much, but consider the rest of the circuit too.

Find out what else is on that circuit. I doubt that the basement receptacle is the only thing on it.
 
  #7  
Old 10-29-07, 03:23 PM
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I ran the circuit from the box myself so I know that, besides a 75 watt bulb, they are the only two other items on it. Unfortunately I ran 14 ga wire on a 15 amp breaker. There will be no other load on this circuit but if the consensus is that it is unsafe or against code, I will re-wire with 12 ga on a 20A cb.

Thanks all, I appeciate the input.
 
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Old 10-29-07, 03:24 PM
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Do not rewire, just add an additional circuit.

If you do want to rewire, consider a multi-wire circuit.
 
  #9  
Old 10-29-07, 07:15 PM
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Without knowing anything about your refrigerator or your freezer, I don't think anyone knows. If you run this for years without ever tripping the breaker, then I'd just leave it alone. The very first time the breaker trips, add a circuit.
 
  #10  
Old 10-29-07, 08:54 PM
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How do I add a circuit to existing wire that's already on a breaker?
 
  #11  
Old 10-29-07, 09:03 PM
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You don't. You add a breaker, run more wire.
 
  #12  
Old 10-30-07, 06:59 AM
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First of all....

Look inside the freezer and refrigerator, find the factory labels and see what the current rating (amps) for each unit is.

You may not have to do anything...other than...
If that's a un-finished basement, you may have to place them on a GFI receptacle, some jurisdictions (your's maybe?) require it.

Post back

steve
 
  #13  
Old 10-30-07, 07:16 AM
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I checked the total amps and it was 7 or 8, well below the 15 amp CB.

Although the receptacle that the frig and freezer are in is not a GFCI, the first receptacle on that circuit coming out of the service box is. From what I've read here, that makes everything downstream GFI protected.

bd
 
  #14  
Old 10-30-07, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bsmtdweller View Post
if the consensus is that it is unsafe or against code, I will re-wire with 12 ga on a 20A cb.
Most everything in this thread is recommendation, not code requirement. Your 15A circuit is just fine as far as code is concerned, but remember that code is a minimum standard. We were making suggestions above and beyond code, but you are not required to implement anything beyond code.
 
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Old 10-30-07, 08:10 AM
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You are providing conflicting information.

In one reply you state that the refrigerator and the freezer and one light are the only things on the circuit.

In another reply you state that a GFCI receptacle is also on the circuit.

These two statements contradict each other as far as I am concerned. While you may have nothing else plugged in, the fact that another receptacle exists means that someone else may come along and plug in another device, like a vacuum cleaner, etc.

My advice to put in a dedicated circuit, preferably one dedicated circuit for each (refrigerator and freezer) stands.

As for your statement about the refrigerator and freezer being GFCI protected, it all depends on how you wired the first GFCI receptacle. If you wired it one way everything on the circuit (after the GFCI) is GFCI protected. If you wired it the other way then only the GFCI receptacle itself has GFCI protection. Only you know how you wired it.

I recommend that you NOT have the refrigerator and freezer GFCI protected.
 
  #16  
Old 10-30-07, 08:26 AM
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One other comment... I've not heard of any code requirement to put a freezer or refrigerator on a GFCI protected circuit. In fact, I believe there are allowances in the code to have non-GFCI circuits serving these devices since false trips are common and could be devastating if they were undetected for more than a few hours.

You stated that the first outlet on this circuit was GFCI and that it was wired such that it protected all downstream outlets. I would re-wire so that the GFCI did not protect the outlet the fridge and freezer are plugged into if it could be done without violating any other code (no other outlets that require GFCI are served beyond it). If that isn't possible, you need a new dedicated non-GFCI outlet for the fridge and freezer. I would run one for each if you have enough room in the breaker box.

A fridge or freezer plugged into a GFCI might run without incident for years. Then, just when you don't expect it, usually a day or two after you fill the freezer with hundreds of dollars worth of meat, the GFCI will trip and you'll loose everything. I've seen it happen many times.

Doug M
 
  #17  
Old 10-30-07, 09:46 AM
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I think the problem here might be that bsmtdweller may have a different definition of the word "circuit" than we do. A "circuit" is everything that loses power when you shut off the circuit breaker in your electrical panel.

Give that defintion, what's on the circuit? When you added this circuit, did you add a new circuit breaker too?
 
  #18  
Old 10-30-07, 09:56 AM
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Sorry for the confusion. The circuit consists of the following: First item from the service box is a GFI wired to protect downstream items (nothing plugged into it), next is a light switch that controls a 75 w bulb, then a regular receptacle with the frig and freezer plugged into it. All this is on a 14 ga, 15 amp circuit. The GFI is brand new and from the responses I've seen, these do not trip like the older models.
 
  #19  
Old 10-30-07, 10:34 AM
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bsmtdweller,

I still recommend a dedicated circuit or two, but if you do keep this circuit and do not add a new circuit or split it, then I suggest at the very least that you change the GFCI wiring.

The light does not need GFCI protection, and you don't want to be in the dark if you do get a GFCI trip.

Further, you don't want a GFCI trip to spoil the food in the refrigerator and/or freezer. While a GFCI trip is less likely with a new GFCI it still can happen. Further, many inspectors would allow this receptacle to NOT be GFCI protected, since it is not available for general use since it already has two devices plugged into it, especially if the receptacle is hidden behind one or the other.

Finally, remember that the available power at the GFCI receptacle itself will be limited. If you are ever wanting to use a high current device, you may not be able to without first turning off the refrigerator and/or freezer. Then you would have to make sure that you turned them back on again.
 
  #20  
Old 10-30-07, 12:09 PM
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Ok I know how to proceed now. Thanks all for the help and advice.

bsmtdweller
 
  #21  
Old 10-31-07, 07:33 AM
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NEC 210.8(A)(5) Exception 2 does allow a duplex receptacle in a un-finished basement to be un-protected (by a GFI) if two (plugged in) appliances are located in a dedicated space, and are not easily moved from one place to another.

This sounds like your set-up.

I have personally worked in at least one jurisdiction that requires all receptacles in a un-finished basement to be GFI protected, regardless of what is plugged into them.

It don't agree with it...but...

Rule #1
The inspector is always right.

Rule #2
If you discover that the inspector is wrong, read Rule #1.

steve
 
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