Lost power to a set of outlets in the kitchen

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Old 09-14-17, 06:11 AM
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Lost power to a set of outlets in the kitchen

I am a 20amp circuit that supplies the refrigerator and several outlets around the kitchen island and small built in desk. Yesterday on my way to work, I got a call from my wife that the fridge was not working. It had been working just before I left home. Turn around for go help fullying thinking that a GFCI had tripped.

NO such luck. The GFCI could not be reset. Since everything had worked before, I thought i might be the GFCI that was bad (home was built in 2002).

That night un wired the GFCI and installed a new one. Same problem no power and GFCI could not be reset.

Disconnect the GFI so I have 4 wires dangling and use my voltmeter to measure:. Line to ground 120V, Neutral to ground 120V, Line to Neutral 3-4V.

This should be a pretty straight forward circuit. Power goes to GFCI and GFCI feeds 5 other outlets. I have been in the house for 5 months with no obvious problems. And the home inspector checked the GFCIs in the house before we moved in. I have reviewed the wiring (where I can see it) and there doesn't seem to be any obvious miswiring

What could have happened to make this circuit fail and how might I go about identifying the problem and fixing it.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 06:35 AM
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It sounds like you have lost the neutral upstream of where you took your measurement .
 
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Old 09-14-17, 06:41 AM
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Try to find the last working outlet on circuit and the next one that doesn't work and check all wiring connections there. Move any back stabbed wires to screws.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 06:43 AM
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I wouldn't want a fridge on a GFI, you might want to consider running a new circuit for just the fridge.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 06:51 AM
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I agree wrt fridge on GFCI. Unfortunately the way the electrical was laid out my 200A panel has breakers and double breakers in every position. I don't even have room to add some circuits for the basement. If I did the basement, I would have to add a sub panel.
That said, I do have 1 break that is unused. I could repurpose that one for the fridge. What is the correct amperage for a dedicated fridge circuit 15 or 20A?
 

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Old 09-14-17, 06:56 AM
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Based on what I have read, I agree that it looks like a lost the neutral and will have to trace it back. I believe the GFCI is the first outlet on this circuit.

When you say "back-stab" does that mean the quick connect insert wire type connections on the back of the outlet. I guess I could have lost neutral there.

Thanks everyone for the comments. Will have more time tonight to work on this.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 07:08 AM
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Yes the quick connect holes in back of outlet are the back stabbed ones.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 07:32 AM
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I don't even have room to add some circuits for the basement.
It might be possible to use those mini breakers, they are half as wide and fit 2 per slot.
As a painter I used to always think backstab was the way to go ... until I started learning of all the failures associated with them.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 07:43 AM
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It is funny the way the home was wired. The panel is absolutely full and has as many tandem breakers as it can handle. I have a 4 bedroom house. I can't image there is that much load on most of the circuits.
As I was digging into this, I found out that the slimline tandem breakers can only be used on the bottom half of my panel. The panel is designed to prevent tandem slimline breakers in the top portion of the panel.

The panel is really poorly labeled. I need to go through the panel and figure out what the breakers actually control.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 04:43 PM
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Figured everything out tonight. Although the fridge is on the same circuit, as the GFCI, it is before the GFCI so it isn't "protected". As pointed out, that is probably a good idea for the fridge.

Why did the circuit fail? There was an additional outlet in side of the cabinet for the computer. There was a 2 outlet to 6 outlet surge suppressor plugged in ther to power the computer, computer switch, phone etc. Removal of that surge supressor fixed the problem.. I am not saying I solved it that easily I had all of the outlet covers off and the outlets out of the box before I found the extra outlet.
I am assuming something happened to the surge supressor that caused the problem.

On the plus side oall of the outlets used the screws to attach the wires.

Thanks everyone for the comments.
 
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Old 09-14-17, 06:14 PM
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it is before the GFCI so it isn't "protected". As pointed out, that is probably a good idea for the fridge.
But a code violation. The exception was removed several years ago.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 01:57 AM
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Ray, are you saying that having a fridge share the circuit with other receptacles is no longer grandfathered in ??
 
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Old 09-15-17, 03:57 AM
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I'm saying the receptacle must be GFCI.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 04:27 AM
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Gotcha, I misunderstood
 
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Old 09-15-17, 07:34 AM
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Thanks for the detail. Will check it tonight to make sure.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 06:46 PM
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I confirmed tonight that the receptacle behind the fridge,( half way up the wall) is not GFCI protected. it is on the same circuit but not after the GFCI. I don't mind putting a GFCI in at that position that would only serve the fridge. Just wanted to confirm that it is required.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 06:55 PM
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the receptacle behind the fridge,( half way up the wall) is not GFCI protected
If that receptacle feeds another receptacle when you add the GFCI receptacle feed the next receptacle from the line not load. side of the receptacle behind the fridge. That way any problems downstream won't kill power to the refrigerator.
 
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Old 09-16-17, 04:51 PM
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It sounds like a loose grounded conductor ( AKA neutral) was the culprit. Unusual if all wires where terminated on the screws and not back-wired. But there are no back-wire receptacles for 20-amp circuits so the receptacles in the kitchen would have to be wired using the screw terminals. The last several editions of the National Electrical Code requires ALL kitchen receptacles be GFCI protected, even the one behind a refrigerator. The Code is updated every three years so older homes may not be wired that way, which is OK as long as the wiring complied with the Code edition in force at the time the permit to wire the home was issued. In the past, only those receptacles within six feet of a sink had to be GFCI protected. This was because appliances are generally limited to a six-foot long cord.

The Code also requires at least two, 20-amp circuits for the kitchen. The load of a refrigerator is not large enough to justify a separate circuit just for that appliance. Yes, there may be legitimate concerns about powering a refrigerator (or a freezer) from a GFCI-protected circuit but no one has yet to propose a change in the Code regarding this so it must not be that much of a concern.

GFCIs are not installed to protect the appliance. They are installed to protect people. The Code requires them wherever there is the potential for a person to receive a shock due to the presence of a water source, concrete or similar floors or outside; bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, unfinished basements, crawl spaces, front & back doors/porches/decks, hot tubs/spas, etc. Please note newer homes are now required to have most all 120-volt circuits protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, GFCIs or both. The breakers for a panelboard that used to cost around $200 are now around $1,500.
 
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