Refrigerator in garage immediately tripping GFCI breaker


Old 07-07-19, 09:46 PM
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Refrigerator in garage immediately tripping GFCI breaker

I have had a very basic refrigerator (no ice maker) working in my garage for over 10 years. Now suddenly, it is tripping the GFCI breaker after just seconds after plugging it in. From reading this forum, it sounds like I may have a ground fault?

When I pulled the refrigerator out to work on it, I noticed some signs of possible mice activity. Is it possible that a good cleaning of the underside of the fridge around the compressor and wiring could solve the problem? What else could cause the problem after years of use?
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Old 07-07-19, 10:03 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Yes..... it sounds like a ground fault. Very doubtful it's caused by mice chewing but it is possible. It would have to be in a neutral side wire as any hot wire that shorted would trip the breaker. If we ignore the mice issue.... the next most likely scenario is there is a short in the defrost heating element. This element is similar to the style used in an electric oven.

You'd need to remove the shroud covering the evaporator coil and locate the two wires on the element that is attached to the evaporator (cold) coil. Using an ohmmeter.... you would check from the wires to the metal frame. There should be no continuity measured.
Old 07-07-19, 10:07 PM
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If the mice built a nest in or around the connections they have created a ground fault.
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