How to Fix a Tripping GFCI Outlet for a Freezer or Refrigerator
Bill in Slagle, Missouri asks:. My freezer lost power, do I have a bad GFCI receptacle? Problems with GFCI Outlets for Freezers and How to Fix Them.
GFCI Outlet for a Freezer or Refrigerator
Electrical Question #1: My freezer lost power, do I have a bad GFCI receptacle?
- I have a home built in 1995. The receptacles in the kitchen are GFCI protected, though 2 of them lack the test buttons.
- Tripping GFCI Problem I have had issues with the circuit “tripping” without anything being used, with the exception of a Whirlpool freezer, model#EH101FXRQ00 LO, Date-200711. The specs for the freezer are 4.5oz,128g,R134a,115V, 60Hz,3.0A.
- GFCI Outlet I will note that the last time I found the circuit tripped it was a receptacle that has never had anything plugged into it, but I had a lightning storm through the night which may have caused it to trip off. I reset the test button and all was well.
- Tripped Circuit The first time this circuit tripped I was gone for a few days and was alerted to the fact that it was tripped by the digital readout on the microwave, Sharp model#R-309YW,120V,60Hz,1.5KW,serial#D250077880, manufactured May 2012 was not on.
- Freezer Outlet The freezer had been off for a few days and everything inside was thawed. Is their a solution for this problem? Have I got a bad GFCI receptacle, and if so how do I identify it.
Thanks in advance for your help.
This electrical wiring question came from Bill, in Slagle, Missouri.
Electrical Question #2:
- I have a Kenmore 11 cu. ft. freezer in my basement. It is about 18 years old. The basement had been unfinished until last fall (2017) and the freezer was plugged into a dedicated 15 amp circuit with no GFCI. After finishing the basement, the freezer is now plugged into a dedicated 20 amp circuit with a GFCI. All electrical work was completed by a licensed electrician and passed inspection. In Dec 2017, we found the freezer off and it had tripped the GFCI. I reset it and it worked fine. Last week (March 2018), we found the freezer off again. It had been off for some time and all food was ruined. I reset the outlet and the freezer started right up and runs fine. My basement contractor suggested replacing the GFCI with a standard outlet. Is this safe to do. Will the circuit breaker at the electrical panel provide protection if there is a problem with the freezer.
This electrical wiring question came from in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Thank you for your electrical wiring questions.
Repairing a GFCI Problem for a Freezer or Refrigerator
Application: GFCI Outlet for a Freezer or Refrigerator.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of GFI outlets that will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the affected outlet circuits at the electric panel, turn them OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the outlet wiring.
Materials: Make sure to use materials of the same amperage and voltage rating as the electrical circuit.
Notice: Installing additional GFCI Outlet Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical GFCI Codes with a permit and be inspected.
Problems with Old GFCI Outlets for Freezers and How to Fix Them
- GFCI Outlets for Freezers and Refrigerators
There has been a history of problems where a refrigerator or freezer will trip a GFCI off without warning. For most locations, a freezer or refrigerator does not need to be protected by GFCI unless the location requires.
Electrical Code: In the past the national electrical code allowed an exception to this problem of a tripping GFCI outlet at a freezer or refrigerator, however due to greater reliability of the newer GFCI outlets the following is suggested:
- If you have an older GFCI that is tripping, then replace it with a new GFCI outlet.
- GFCI outlets should be tested regularly to ensure normal operation.
- Provide GFCI Protection Where Required
The concern is to make sure that outlets are protected by GFCI where the protection is required.
- It is best to install the GFCI outlet in a location that is accessible which will allow regular testing.
- NOTE: If this is not a dedicated circuit intended for one device only, and the circuit is being shared with other outlets that require GFCI protection then the circuit will need to be evaluated to know where to install the main GFCI outlet, or a separate GFCI outlet should be installed into the locations where required.
- Electrical Outlet Definitions for Clarification
- A standard Duplex Receptacle has two plug-in outlet openings, typically one on the top and one at the bottom.
- A Single Outlet has only one plug-in outlet available.
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