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yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
reply to whizkid3

Re: GFI outlet/refrigerator question

I have a feeling that you think what I did is unlawful. Love how it starts to get borderline personal with folks on forums. Name-calling, armchair building inspectors, psychics, etc.

I will call an electrician today to see what he recommends. Thanks.
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to DarkLogix
said by DarkLogix:

Well at the time the load was 4x 100w incandescent bulbs and a ceiling fan, and the amount that passed wasn't even enough to dimly light the lights.

If you think you're going to get enough current through your fingers to light an incandesent light you better keep your hands in your pockets.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
said by SparkChaser:

said by DarkLogix:

Well at the time the load was 4x 100w incandescent bulbs and a ceiling fan, and the amount that passed wasn't even enough to dimly light the lights.

If you think you're going to get enough current through your fingers to light an incandesent light you better keep your hands in your pockets.

I was a kid back then and thought they might glow a little.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to yahtzee
said by yahtzee:

I have a feeling that you think what I did is unlawful. Love how it starts to get borderline personal with folks on forums. Name-calling, armchair building inspectors, psychics, etc.

I will call an electrician today to see what he recommends. Thanks.

What he's saying is you're ignoring a real problem.
What you're doing (replacing with non GFCI) is simply silencing the "alarm".

The reason it became "personal" is because you made a thread asking for advice when you weren't willing to follow a professional's advice if it wasn't convenient for you.


yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
I have spoken to numerous other homeowners in my neighborhood that had non-GFCI outlets installed in their garage specifically for a refrigerator. I understand that it's against code. What I gather from the advice on here is that I dont even need to check with anyone - just go pick up a new refrigerator, right? I can do that - it just seemed odd that a 6-7 yr old refrigerator would go bad. Also, if I bought a new refrigerator and put it on the same outlet how am I supposed to know if the fridge gets to the point that this one is supposedly at (faulty)?
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.


yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
reply to MrIcehouse
I replaced it with a non-GFCI outlet....think I may try to replace it with a GFCI outlet and see if that is the issue.
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
Replace it with a properly working fridge.


yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
said by DarkLogix:

Replace it with a properly working fridge.

You have zero doubt that the refrigerator is bad?
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to yahtzee
You said your very self that you plugged the fridge into 2 different GFCI outlets, and they both tripped.
So did they or not?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to yahtzee
said by yahtzee:

said by DarkLogix:

Replace it with a properly working fridge.

You have zero doubt that the refrigerator is bad?

I would at minimum get a repair man to look a the fridge and see if he can fix it.

I would highly doubt the GFCI would be the problem.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to yahtzee
First of all installing a non GFI protected outlet in the garage after 2008 is not against the law it is against code. If your house was built before 2008 and you already had an non GFI outlet for the refrigerator you would not have noticed that there was leakage because there was nothing to trip. If your house was built before 2008 and you add a non GFI outlet for the refrigerator, I do not think any home inspector would question it. As long as the ground prong on the refrigerator power plug is connected to the protective ground through the outlet, any leakage current will be directed to the protective ground. If the leakage exceeded the rating of the circuit breaker protecting the outlet the breaker would trip.

In order to determine whether the tripping is caused by current leakage from the hot conductor (Black) to the protective ground (Green) or shunt leakage between the neutral (White) and protective ground (Green) I recommend purchasing one of those three prong outlet to two prong plug adapter with green pigtail for test purposes only.

Plug the refrigerator into the adapter and the adapter into the GFI outlet. Use a multimeter in the AC Voltage Mode to determine the voltage between the refrigerator cabinet (Green pigtail) and protective ground screw on the outlet. If it is 120 Volts then the leakage is between the hot side of the refrigerator internal wiring and the cabinet. If the voltage is very low between the pigtail and ground screw on the outlet then the problem is probably a shunt leak between the neutral and cabinet. A shunt leak is insignificant because the tripping is caused by excessive current bypassing the neutral winding of the sensing transformer in the GFI.

The next step is to measure the AC current flow (leakage) between the protective ground Green Pigtail and ground screw on the outlet. You might have to plug the adapter into a non GFI outlet as the leakage current flow through the meter might trip the GFI. If it is in the low milliamp range I would not worry to much about installing a dedicated non GFI outlet for the refrigerator. Just make sure it is inaccessible by placing it directly behind the refrigerator.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
said by Mr Matt:

First of all installing a non GFI protected outlet in the garage after 2008 is not against the law it is against code.

Code IS the law in this state. We adopted the NEC as our electrical subcode, with modifications.


cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27
reply to yahtzee
On the topic of Fridge and GFCI,

What is the code to have a freezer in the garage? One doesn't want it on GFCI because (unless some light/indicator in the home shows it tripped/alarm) when it trips, you will lose the contents.

This happened to a cr-pload of furs my n-law trapped for me, along with coyote pelt I was to get tanned. Lost mink, coyote, beaver and fisher pelts because of this.

Thoughts?

(No room in home for a large freezer chest....)
--
Splat


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
said by cableties:

(No room in home for a large freezer chest....)

Then no place for pelts.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 recommendation

reply to cableties

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

1 recommendation

reply to XBL2009
said by XBL2009:

I feel so bad reading this thread, my old house had no GFCI's and the fuse box was actually a fuse box.

New house only has GFCI's in the bathrooms.

Plus the 20 year old failing refrigerator just kept on working and no one died.

In this thread I have seen motors can cause false GFCI trips. Then read junk the refrigerator because it is unsafe and failing because it is tripping the GFCI. I do not remember any refrigerator deaths from my childhood before GFCI from electric. Probably happened somewhere but with all the old fridges that used to last forever if it was a high risk I should have had at least one death somewhere local to me.

AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 edit
That's like saying we don't need no stinkin' GFCI outlets because in my life I've never seen a GFCI outlet trip. The other theme you missed from your post is people recommended, having the refrigerator looked at and fixed or cleaned as appropriate. I believe at least one person also posted instructions for how to diagnose the issue directly.

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to nonymous
Seriously I have read more place than one not to plug a refrigerator or freezer into a GFCI so a nuisance trip will not spoil the food. Thing is besides the GFCI tripping there most likely would be no other symptoms of anything going bad. Plus they call it a nuisance trip. Some major retail sites plus some appliance sites say no GFCI.
So I guess those sites should be sued for putting the value of a fridge full of food before human life. Like said besides GFCI tripping may have no other user noticeable symptoms so how would the user know to junk the fridge or replace the motor etc.
Now when I got a freezer I was wondering if I should use a GFCI outlet. During that reading a few years ago I read of freezers that were brand new tripping the GFCI and the factory authorized repair person just said no GFCI. I do use GFCI as on a breaker with other stuff on it and no issues, But some models of fridges and freezers even new just trip the GFCI occasionally and the manufacturer basically say it is normal. Or so I read a couple year back.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to yahtzee
The insurance industry is out of control requiring all of these protective devices be added to the National Electrical Code. The electrical equipment manufactures are developing a combined Arc Fault/Ground Fault Interrupter. Just what everyone needs for frequent nuisance tripping. Right now the National Electrical Code requires almost every outlet in a home be protected by an Arc Fault Interrupter or Ground Fault Interrupter. At the rate the insurance industry is going they will force the NEC to be updated to require all outlets to be protected by a combined AFI/GFI. Just the thing to plug an Iron Lung or other critical medical equipment into. What is a homeowner to do in the future when they have critical equipment that cannot tolerate nuisance tripping.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9
said by Mr Matt:

The insurance industry is out of control

I agree with that. However, I am sure you have absolutely no data nor any reason to infer that the 'insurance industry' is making such changes to the electrical code; aside from pure speculation on your part. One can check out the proceedings on code changes all they want - they are public and I believe they are on-line. Please research and post your evidence in a new thread. Debating whether the insurance industry has undue influence in electrical code requirements is far off-topic, IMHO.

Having GFCI receptacles in garages has been in the national electric code since at least 1999. (I just checked my 1999 edition.) Its not anything new. GFCI receptacles in wet and damp places are meant to save lives and they clearly do. If one is concerned about losing the contents of some old fridge in the garage; they can easily connect plug a power failure alarm into the receptacle.

The OP has taken the cheap and easy way out and chosen to violate the law; which according to his post, he has done. While building & fire codes are not felonies; they are indeed laws. God forbid someone gets killed - it will be on his conscience if not his wallet as well. That the refrigerator has clearly shown have a faulty electrical system, and the OP feels there is nothing wrong with it, is dangerous. He's putting himself and family/friends at risk. But at least he saved money.


Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a
reply to yahtzee
Weird---unless code has changed up here in ontario there is no need for GFIs in the garage as long as receptacles are 36" off the floor.
I'd be nervous having a fridge or freezer on a GFI just for the fact they may trip and lose the contents.
If something major went wrong with the fridge and someone gets electrocuted I'd be concerned about liability, but chances of that are remote.
To the OP---I'd get the fridge looked at but wouldn't worry overmuch about replacing that receptacle with a normal one. I realise I'll get flack here but what the hell.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

1 recommendation

Apparently, you don't need GFCIs in garages in North Korea either. However, the OP is in Virginia.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to whizkid3
said by whizkid3:

said by Mr Matt:

The insurance industry is out of control

I agree with that. However,I am sure you have absolutely no data nor any reason to infer that the 'insurance industry' is making such changes to the electrical code; aside from pure speculation on your part.

Having GFCI receptacles in garages has been in the national electric code since at least 1999. (I just checked my 1999 edition.) Its not anything new. GFCI receptacles in wet and damp places are meant to save lives and they clearly do. If one is concerned about losing the contents of some old fridge in the garage; they can easily connect plug a power failure alarm into the receptacle.

The OP has taken the cheap and easy way out and chosen to violate the law; which according to his post, he has done. While building & fire codes are not felonies; they are indeed laws. God forbid someone gets killed - it will be on his conscience if not his wallet as well. That the refrigerator has clearly shown have a faulty electrical system, and the OP feels there is nothing wrong with it, is dangerous. He's putting himself and family/friends at risk. But at least he saved money.

You chide Mr Matt poster about data and you make a statement that GFCI's save lives but give no data or numbers so I assume it's conjecture on your part.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

2 edits

1 recommendation

reply to Rifleman
said by Rifleman:

Weird---unless code has changed up here in ontario there is no need for GFIs in the garage as long as receptacles are 36" off the floor.
I'd be nervous having a fridge or freezer on a GFI just for the fact they may trip and lose the contents.
If something major went wrong with the fridge and someone gets electrocuted I'd be concerned about liability, but chances of that are remote.
To the OP---I'd get the fridge looked at but wouldn't worry overmuch about replacing that receptacle with a normal one. I realise I'll get flack here but what the hell.

Be glad you don't have the nannys dictating policy in Canada like we've allowed to happen in the U.S. plus the special interest groups. The code making panels consist of radical activists who want to be on them in order to control and dictate to others. It's not money but power unless the manufacturers and others are slipping them some money under the table. They may or may not be overly proficient or educated in the field but only have managed to get on the panel. It's political like most every thing else has become here. The U.S. is choking on "panels", groups, non-profit organizations all geared to force their beliefs on everyone else.

Be wary if the movement spreads north of the border.

I have a freezer and Refrigerator in my garage and neither are on GFCI's and never will be. I live in Virginia also, not North Korea.
Expand your moderator at work


boogi man

join:2001-11-13
Jacksonville, FL
kudos:1
reply to yahtzee

Re: GFI outlet/refrigerator question

im curious to the OP if the FIOS equipment is on a strip/surge protector. I have a fridge in the garage and have come home to the breaker being tripped a few times. fridge is around same age 7-8yrs. i had a strip not surge protector just a strip with misc other small devices plugged in. the GFCI is in the breaker in my case vs the outlet itself. unplugged strip just fridge....just fine no more trips.
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yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
said by boogi man:

im curious to the OP if the FIOS equipment is on a strip/surge protector. I have a fridge in the garage and have come home to the breaker being tripped a few times. fridge is around same age 7-8yrs. i had a strip not surge protector just a strip with misc other small devices plugged in. the GFCI is in the breaker in my case vs the outlet itself. unplugged strip just fridge....just fine no more trips.

It's actually the wall mounted power supply for FiOS...it is plugged directly into the same outlet as the fridge...I was about to pick up a new fridge but now you have me thinking.
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to boogi man
said by boogi man:

im curious to the OP if the FIOS equipment is on a strip/surge protector. I have a fridge in the garage and have come home to the breaker being tripped a few times. fridge is around same age 7-8yrs. i had a strip not surge protector just a strip with misc other small devices plugged in. the GFCI is in the breaker in my case vs the outlet itself. unplugged strip just fridge....just fine no more trips.

I believe most newer fridges and freezers tend to play nicely with GFCI. Maybe not perfect but nicely so less risk of losing food.
Older freezers and fridges even new might sometimes have issues with GFCI and trip them losing food. Not necessarily needing repair just do not play nicely with GFCI. Google has many topics on it. Not saying they all just do not need to be junked, repaired or class action lawsuit against the manufacturers. Just some older models and brands tended not to play nice and just trip fairly regularly.


yahtzee
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Richmond, VA
By older, do you mean 20yrs or 6-7? I dont mind paying to replace the fridge but I dont want to get the fridge home, change the outlet back to GFCI and then it trip every couple of days or weeks. Given that the FiOS control unit is mounted beside the fridge and on the same outlet I am curious if moving that whole unit to another outlet would make sense to try first?
--
If ever offered a breath mint - take it.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to yahtzee
There is one other thing you might try. Temporarily use an extension cord to power the FiOS unit and see if the GFI still trips when the refrigerator is plugged in. A GFI normally trips if the total leakage exceeds 5 MA. If the sum of the leakage between the FiOS unit and refrigerator exceeds 5 MA the GFI will trip. If the total leakage caused by each unit is less than 5 MA then the GFI will not trip unless it is not calibrated properly. If the GFI does not trip when the FiOS unit or the Refrigerator is plugged in but trips when the FiOS and the Refrigerator is plugged in together you could install a separate GFI for the refrigerator and meet code.