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Old 07-29-2008, 01:01 PM   #1
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


I have a built in outdoor BBQ and next to it is small fridge with an ice maker. I ran a dedicated 20 amp circuit to the fridge and am powering it with a 20 amp Murray GFCI breaker. The fridge keeps throwing the breaker and I am wondering - should I have used a GFCI breaker or could there be something else wrong. When I turn the fridge on, it appears fine, but when I go back a couple of hours later, it is off.

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Old 07-29-2008, 02:22 PM   #2
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


You might try a new breaker to rule out the overcurrent device as the problem. That's always a good place to start. Same for the receptacle.

Might also be worth trying a conventional 20A breaker and a GFCI receptacle instead.

Assuming that this receptacle isn't getting moisture somehow?

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Old 07-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


That was my thought - switch out the breaker first. I would have to pull out the fridge to access the outlet behind it. It is pretty well protected under the counter top so I wouldn't think moisture would be a problem.

One of the reasons why I went with the GFCI breaker was access was going to be a problem. Am I correct that it does require some sort of GFCI device?
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


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Originally Posted by Git View Post
That was my thought - switch out the breaker first. I would have to pull out the fridge to access the outlet behind it. It is pretty well protected under the counter top so I wouldn't think moisture would be a problem.

One of the reasons why I went with the GFCI breaker was access was going to be a problem. Am I correct that it does require some sort of GFCI device?

If the receptacle is located outside, then it requires GFCI protection.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:34 PM   #5
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


The trip curve for the breaker should match the normal current vs. time curve for the fridge, plus 10% or so.
Compressors pull a lot of current on startup unless they have "soft start".
The fridge manu can recommend the proper breaker.

If the proper breaker is already in place, maybe the fridge compressor is nearing the end of its life, or a motor starting capacitor is failing.
Diagnosing these problems takes some test equipment.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-29-2008 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
The trip curve for the breaker should match the normal current vs. time curve for the fridge, plus 10% or so.
Compressors pull a lot of current on startup unless they have "soft start".
The fridge manu can recommend the proper breaker.

If the proper breaker is already in place, maybe the fridge compressor is nearing the end of its life, or a motor starting capacitor is failing.
Diagnosing these problems takes some test equipment.
I always check that before I buy a new fridge... Oh, also, no offense, but this is a DIY forum...
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:30 PM   #7
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


My persoanl opinion would be to begin by testing the gfci breaker fpr porper operation. Simply push the test button with fridge unplugged. If it kills power to the receptacle and then resets and restores power consider it working properly.

Now question the load and if moisture is being created from its operation. It is also possible that when the fridge compressor cycles it is at this point that the gfci breaker trips.

My best guess is that in those cramped quarters condensation is forming on the inside of the electrical box and causing a current leak. This is taking some time to build up enough moisture to trip out the gfci breaker...sooooo....Is it possible to relocate the receptacle if moisture proves to be the problem? A location with better ventilation may cure your problem.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #8
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


My bad. I thought this was a circuit breaker problem and not a GFI problem.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:13 AM   #9
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


It's a small, under the counter type fridge that is made for outdoors, by U-Line. It is in a pretty sheltered location - I attached a pic, the fridge goes under the counter on the left, by the end.

Tonight, I switched out the GFCI breaker with a regular 20 amp breaker I had on hand, it appears to be working fine. Tomorrow I will see about replacing the GFCI Breaker
Attached Thumbnails
Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems-fridge.jpg  
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:21 AM   #10
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Outdoor Fridge - Breaker problems


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Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
I always check that before I buy a new fridge...
Yep, always...right before I check the energy star rating and cu. ft. capacity!

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