GFCI suddenly tripping when freezers are plugged in

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  #1  
Old 05-14-12, 09:40 AM
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GFCI suddenly tripping when freezers are plugged in

I have two freezers (12cu.ft and 25cu.ft) that have been plugged into this outlet for ~4 years. The larger freezer was moved temporarily, then moved back. Since moving it back, the GFCI trips every 1 to 10 minutes. I press reset, it works (I can hear both compressors kick on) and then it stops working.

It does this even when only one of the freezers is plugged in. The freezer that was moved worked perfectly on another GFCI in the other location. Both freezers worked before this, so I highly doubt they have suddenly gone bad. These are in a garage.

Previously, I had both freezers plugged in to a heavy duty surge protector. Since this started, I removed the surge protector (assuming it was causing the problem), and have one plugged in to each outlet. The one further from the outlet is using an outdoor extension cord, which is my next on the list to replace.

Assuming the extension cord isn't the problem, is it logical to assume the GFCI is at fault?
 
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Old 05-14-12, 10:13 AM
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Replacing the GFCI with a new one is a reasonably inexpensive way to test your theory. First though check any other receptacles on the circuit, especially ones outside. Outside ones can get wet inside. May not be the problem but needs to be checked first.
 
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Old 05-14-12, 10:13 AM
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Since you say that
It does this even when only one of the freezers is plugged in,
it doesn't sound like the extension cord is the problem. It sounds like it's either the GFCI receptacle or something about its wiring.

Is the GFCI a 20A or a 15A device? Is the circuit feeding it a 20A or a 15A circuit?
 
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Old 05-14-12, 10:14 AM
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Try seeing if one freezer trips the GFI. I suspect that you are leaking enough current from the freezer that has failing windings.
 
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Old 05-14-12, 10:18 AM
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Thanks, everyone. I have no idea about the circuit. I don't usually handle any of this - but it's 72 degrees out, the freezers have been on the fritz for 2 days and I have a few hundred dollars worth of food in there. No other outlets to use, sadly.

When the man of the house comes home, he's going to try replacing the outlet and checking out the circuit. I appreciate all the suggestions. For now, I'm just going to throw a few bags of ice in there and keep them shut.
 
  #6  
Old 05-14-12, 10:48 AM
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Just an update. I got a longer extension cord and ran both freezers to the outlet outside the garage (also GFCI). They've been running just fine since, so I guess it's safe to say that outlet is bad?
 
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Old 05-14-12, 12:34 PM
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Is the outside receptacle downstream of the GFI that is tripping? Is the outside receptacle on another GFI or even GFI protected?
 
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