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Old 02-03-2009, 12:06 AM   #1
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GFCI trip form fridge


HI;

We put in a GFCI this afternoon in the basement (new circuit in EMT, feeds 2 outlets and 2 lights). When the fridge was plugged into it the outlet tripped. When it was plugged in again, it did not trip and worked just fine.

Should I replace the GFCI? I've not had any problems in the past with GFCI's tripping.

Jamie

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Old 02-03-2009, 06:23 AM   #2
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If it trips again or trips when the humidity is high replace it with a quality GFI. There are many reports of the box store quality devices having issues. Buy one from an electrical supply house and you should not have any problems.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:10 AM   #3
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It tripped for a reason! Try a higher quality gfci and if it trips, something isn't right.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
It tripped for a reason! Try a higher quality gfci and if it trips, something isn't right.
It maybe a genaric. I normally use p&s outlets. Thanks jamie
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:05 AM   #5
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I remember that you use P&S outlets alot. I do too. P&S wouldn't be low quality.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
I remember that you use P&S outlets alot. I do too. P&S wouldn't be low quality.

I did buy some of the cheap ones on black Friday, but didn't care for the quality of the screw down clamps so I have not used them much, but it is possiable this is one of the cheap ones.
Jamie
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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GFCI trip form fridge


Older refrigerator?

Often, when you find a refrigerator sitting in a basement or garage it's an older unit that's been moved there after kitchen remodel, and could be 15-20 years old, or older.

Often a "properly" operating older refrigerator will trip a properly operating modern GFCI.

It may be the case that the refrigerator is in fact "defective", or it may be the case that the same refrigerator would have tripped a modern GFCI the day it left the manufacturing line. All you know for certain in this case (assuming that the GFCI is operating correctly) is that refrigerator cannot operate in a manner considered acceptable by modern standards.

------------

One other factor to take into account is that older refrigerators are typically significantly less efficient than their modern counterparts, given energy costs in my area (Chicago) replacing a refrigerator produced prior to 1990 can result in energy saving in excess of $200 a year.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:38 AM   #8
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Jamie

If you recently bought a gfci that is a name brand that hasn't been on the counter for 10 years it will be as modern as any gfci you can buy anywhere.
There isn't any magic to buying a gfci at a supply house that makes them better or more modern.

Is there a possibility that you have this gfci on a multiwire branch circuit?
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:23 AM   #9
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Jamie

If you recently bought a gfci that is a name brand that hasn't been on the counter for 10 years it will be as modern as any gfci you can buy anywhere.
There isn't any magic to buying a gfci at a supply house that makes them better or more modern.

Is there a possibility that you have this gfci on a multiwire branch circuit?
Yes, but the other leg of the MWBC isn't even wired up to anything, the conductor is just capped off, the neutral isn't even broken at the moment, but will be in the junction box previous to this one and pigtailed there.

I removed the outlet today, I think it might have been one of the cheap ones I bought, it was a Spec grade, but didn't have a brand name on it.

I installed a P&S Spec grade,and after about 5 hours the fridge had not tripped it, but I was told it ran for part of the night last night and failed some time over night.

MWBC don't make any difference to GFCI's as long as the neutral / MWBC is split prior to to the GFCI correct? I remember running into this problem once with 14-3, frustrated me so much that in my house, I ran hundreds of feet of smurf and emt after that, so I would never have problems like I did with the 14-3 and GFCI again.

Thanks
Jamie
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
Older refrigerator?

Often, when you find a refrigerator sitting in a basement or garage it's an older unit that's been moved there after kitchen remodel, and could be 15-20 years old, or older.

Often a "properly" operating older refrigerator will trip a properly operating modern GFCI.

It may be the case that the refrigerator is in fact "defective", or it may be the case that the same refrigerator would have tripped a modern GFCI the day it left the manufacturing line. All you know for certain in this case (assuming that the GFCI is operating correctly) is that refrigerator cannot operate in a manner considered acceptable by modern standards.

------------

One other factor to take into account is that older refrigerators are typically significantly less efficient than their modern counterparts, given energy costs in my area (Chicago) replacing a refrigerator produced prior to 1990 can result in energy saving in excess of $200 a year.
HI;
I didn't see a date on it, but I remember about when we got it, and asked my dad, and it is from somewhere around the late 1990's. About 10 years old. I can put a rms clamp on it, but highly suspect it is the kind of fridge that only draws about 1.5a ish when running.

Thanks
Jamie
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:42 AM   #11
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GFCI trip form fridge


The G.F.I.receptacle is seeing something it doesn't like.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:24 PM   #12
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GFCI trip form fridge


Run a 1kΩ resistor from the fridge ground pin to a ground but connect hot and neutral normally. More than 4vac across the resistor fails, less than 120 mV passes.

If no ground pin, connect the resistor to bare metal on the fridge housing.

Don't hold the resistor with your fingers; use a clothespin or something.

Put the 2W resistor in series with a 1/16 A fuse.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 02-04-2009 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #13
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GFCI trip form fridge


If you find that the device is at fault and there isn't a deeper problem somewhere in the circuit...

The receptacle for the fridge doesn't have to be GFCI protected unless it is located in a place that could fit it into the category of "serving the countertop". If it is behind the fridge and generally inaccessible, it would be unreasonable to require GFCI protection.

Reference IRC E3802.6, 2002 NEC 210.8(A)(6)


EDIT: Sorry, I missed out on the "basement" part. How about installing a dedicated receptacle instead? That could be done if the receptacle occupies dedicated space behind the fridge.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Yes, but the other leg of the MWBC isn't even wired up to anything, the conductor is just capped off, the neutral isn't even broken at the moment, but will be in the junction box previous to this one and pigtailed there.
So your splitting the multiwire and not sharing the neutrl after the JB??

If so then if the fridge is the only thing running on the neutral the gfci receptacle is tripping most likely on cycling of the fridge. Or you have something wired to the load side of the gfci that is causing the trip. I don't think you can correct this problem with a new gfci as you have found out.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
I did buy some of the cheap ones on black Friday, but didn't care for the quality of the screw down clamps so I have not used them much, but it is possiable this is one of the cheap ones.
Jamie
Would those happen to be the Leviton spec grade, which seems to take two tries to get the clamp to work?
I just bought a box of 20 Leviton 8599-I on Ebay for a total of $65 with shipping. A good price, but I am sure these are not the highest quality GFCI.
Anyway, when I use these, I often have the wire pull out of the clamp on the first try. That's with a straight, freshly stripped wire in a new NMB cable.
After re-straightening, and sometimes completely re-stripping then re-inserting and tightening, they pass my pull test.
If it were not for my pull test, I might have several bad connections already.

Next time I'll go with the P&S instead.

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