Fridge Tripping GFI

 
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:24 PM   #1
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Fridge Tripping GFI


Hey guys, heres the story. I am acctually building a garage for these people but while I was there working this happened so I said ya I can take a look at it while I'm here it dosent sound to bad Well anyway, the customers fridge keeps tripping the GFI recepticle. The HO unplugged the fridge from that circuit and plugged it into another circuit and it works fine. So I figured ok its probly a bad GFI. I swapped it out and it worked fine for a week. Now today the fridge is tripping the recepticle again. The GFI is located above the counter and the frige recept. is fed through it. I told her to call the fridge repair guy. I'm figuring it's something with that. Any ideas guys? What do you guys think?


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Old 03-20-2009, 07:46 PM   #2
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Is the other circuit they plugged the fridge into also GFI protected? If not, there may be a genuine problem with the fridge.

If you swapped out the GFI and it still trips, then I'd say the GFis are telling you there's truly a problem with the fridge.

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:56 PM   #3
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
Is the other circuit they plugged the fridge into also GFI protected? If not, there may be a genuine problem with the fridge.

If you swapped out the GFI and it still trips, then I'd say the GFis are telling you there's truly a problem with the fridge.
Thanks 480, Yup thats what I was thinking too. They tried the same circuit, but not a recept. fed through the GFI and also a completly different circuit and they were fine.


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Old 03-20-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Does code require a GFI on a fridge? I always wire the fridge outlet to the 'Line' side of the GFI. Lots of reasons for a fridge leaking enough to ground to trip a GFI, including the wiring to the defrost heater getting damp. It doesn't take much to trip a GFI, and compared to the potential loss of food I wouldn't plug one into a GFI.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post
Does code require a GFI on a fridge? I always wire the fridge outlet to the 'Line' side of the GFI. Lots of reasons for a fridge leaking enough to ground to trip a GFI, including the wiring to the defrost heater getting damp. It doesn't take much to trip a GFI, and compared to the potential loss of food I wouldn't plug one into a GFI.
Not if it's behind the fridge and not serving the countertop.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:26 PM   #6
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Figured as much. Like I said, there's often enough electrical leakage in a fridge to trip one so I wouldn't plug one into a GFI.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:55 PM   #7
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


What you did was reasonable (changing the GFCI). Since it's still tripping, it's also reasonable to conclude that the refrigerator has more than 5 or 6 milliamps of leakage current (another term for a low-level short), and the GFCI is doing its job. This is fairly typical of an older refrigerator. A megohm meter measurement will prove this, but I don't suspect that a remodeling contractor will own that test instrument.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:19 PM   #8
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Thanks olyteddy and md

I remember heard about what you guys are saying before. I know this is a different situation, but I can remember an addition I did a little while ago the HO kept tripping the arc fault breaker with her vaccuum, she ended up getting a new vacuum and all was well. No your right Md I don't own one


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Old 03-21-2009, 07:09 PM   #9
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Just don't 'solve it' by cutting the ground lug off the fridge's plug....
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:23 PM   #10
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post
Just don't 'solve it' by cutting the ground lug off the fridge's plug....
Does the "ground" actually do anything in a GFCI?
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:50 AM   #11
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Does the "ground" actually do anything in a GFCI?
In this case, if the fridge is leaking to ground, then yes it does. The leaking current is going to ground, bypassing the GFI sensors and causing it to trip.

Will cutting off the ground pin 'solve' the problem? Perhaps. If the fridge has an icemaker, I can see the plumbing as a path to ground. If not, then cutting off the ground pin will keep the GFI from tripping, but then create a greater shock potential.
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:46 AM   #12
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


in my area fridges are wired on there own circuit and don't have to be gfi as well as microwaves and washers
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:09 AM   #13
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Quote:
Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
In this case, if the fridge is leaking to ground, then yes it does. The leaking current is going to ground, bypassing the GFI sensors and causing it to trip.

Will cutting off the ground pin 'solve' the problem? Perhaps. If the fridge has an icemaker, I can see the plumbing as a path to ground. If not, then cutting off the ground pin will keep the GFI from tripping, but then create a greater shock potential.
Is it possible the cap on the compressor is getting weak and causing more current pull hence more current to the ground causing the trip? Might be time to call in someone to check the compressor on the fridge and find out how much amperage is being used when the comprssor kicks in.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:26 AM   #14
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Originally Posted by boman47k View Post
Is it possible the cap on the compressor is getting weak and causing more current pull hence more current to the ground causing the trip? Might be time to call in someone to check the compressor on the fridge and find out how much amperage is being used when the comprssor kicks in.

Electricity just doesn't disappear when being used. It has to go somewhere. It either takes the normal route back on the neutral, or finds a path to ground somewhere. Either the grounded pin in the receptacle, or the icemaker water line if there is one.

If the compressor is weak, the current flow should still be balanced between the hot & neutral. If it's leaking and causing the GFI to trip, then then GFI is doing it's job.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:28 AM   #15
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Guaranteed that the "Trip" is on Compressor start up.

But then again, I have seen "trips" on shut down!
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:14 AM   #16
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Time for a new fridge, otherwise you run the risk of neutral current flowing on the frame of your fridge if you choose to just get rid of the GFCI protection.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:52 AM   #17
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


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Time for a new fridge, otherwise you run the risk of neutral current flowing on the frame of your fridge if you choose to just get rid of the GFCI protection.

But pain is "Such a Rush"!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:59 AM   #18
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


I am in the middle of Iraq right now and don't have the code book handy but if I remember correctly, you do not need GFCI protection if you are 6 feet or more from the sink. I also remember something about GFCI protection being counter recommended for fridges due to the fact that a nuisance trip (it sounds like you have one) can cause you to loose hundreds of dollars in groceries.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:02 AM   #19
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


Just make damn sure you have a good ground.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:19 PM   #20
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Re: Fridge Tripping GFI


In a dwelling kitchen, only the kitchen countertop receptacles need to be GFCI protected.

210.8

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