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Old 12-08-2012, 01:31 PM   #16
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


Thanks for the feedback guys.

When the original fridge was plugged into the new GFCI and ran for 8hrs, the compressor was running and everything was functioning/cold, I checked every hour or two. After a few hours, I unloaded my two mini fridges and put everything from them back in the original fridge/freezer as I thought it was all good. Then around hour 8, I went to get something and light was off/GFCI was tripped. Mystery how it ran and was cold for 8hrs before tripping, but assume it is safe to say it is a problem with the original fridge, as the GFCI won't allow it to be plugged in anymore without tripping.

I think I will go fridge shopping this weekend.

TTW - "The best thing to do would be to have your electrician ground that outlet, preferably by running a new wire."

Now that there is a functioning GFCI in place, what additional benefit would grounding the outlet provide?

Also, the fridge is a Frigidaire Gallery Professional Series, Model # FRS26ZSH

Jim - Thanks for the correction!

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Old 12-08-2012, 01:46 PM   #17
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by lmark103 View Post
...

TTW - "The best thing to do would be to have your electrician ground that outlet, preferably by running a new wire."

Now that there is a functioning GFCI in place, what additional benefit would grounding the outlet provide?
The GFCI is providing you with one form of protection. However, you still have an ungrounded outlet, and lack the protection/safety that a separate ground provides.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #18
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


I worked on a fridg that did the same thing. There was a short in the heat strip that defrosted around the freezer door. Only when that strip cycled on did it trip the breaker. Disconnected it and put up with manual defrost and all was well until I got a new heat strip.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:13 PM   #19
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by lmark103 View Post
...Now that there is a functioning GFCI in place, what additional benefit would grounding the outlet provide?...
Grounding is a safety feature. The metal case of appliances is connected to the 3rd ground prong of the outlet. And in a modern home with all up to code electrical wiring, metal plumbing objects like a sink or faucet would be grounded as well.

So the sink and refrigerator metal case would always be at the same electrical "level" (Called "potential".) Basically that means you would never get shocked even if a wire shorted to ground like has happened with your refrigerator.

Then when something shorts to ground, one of two things happens. If it is a "small short" - leaking a small bit of electricity, the circuit breaker would not trip and you also would not be shocked even though a small amount of electricity was flowing through the ground connection. But you WOULD have a higher electric bill!

If it was a "large short", then the circuit breaker would trip - safely turning off the electricity. And again you would not be shocked.

A GFCI is also a safety device. This detects electricity flowing to "ground". If there was a short and ALL the electricity did not loop through the electrical wires (like when you were shocked and some was flowing through your body), then it will instantly shut off the electricity.

The thing is that GFCI's detect very small amounts of "leaking" electricity. And things like electric motors (like in a refrigerator) commonly do this. So you could come home and find your refrigerator (new) with the power off some day. But that would not happen with a grounded non-GFCI outlet.

Personally I prefer a refrigerator / freezer to be on a grounded outlet and not on a GFCI.

And so far as your situation, I would go look for a new refrigerator. Newer refrigerators use less energy - so lower electric bill.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #20
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


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Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
I worked on a fridg that did the same thing. There was a short in the heat strip that defrosted around the freezer door. Only when that strip cycled on did it trip the breaker. Disconnected it and put up with manual defrost and all was well until I got a new heat strip.
Don't trash the fridge yet!

Many of the neweer fridges actually install 2 mullion strip heaters (heat strip that defrosted around the freezer door) at the factory, so if the original one fails, the appliance guy comes out, unplugs the original, plugs in the other plug and collects your money.

Also, a properly wired and grounded outlet is really a good idea, should be 12-2 on a dedicated 20 amp circuit.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #21
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


Article 250.114 requires the following to be used on a properly grounded circuit.

250.114 Equipment Connected by Cord and Plug.
Under
any of the conditions described in 250.114(1) through (4),
exposed, normally non–current-carrying metal parts of
cord-and-plug-connected equipment shall be connected to

the equipment grounding conductor.

(3) In residential occupancies:
a. Refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners
b. Clothes-washing, clothes-drying, dish-washing machines;
ranges; kitchen waste disposers; information
technology equipment; sump pumps and electrical
aquarium equipment
c. Hand-held motor-operated tools, stationary and
fixed motor-operated tools, and light industrial
motor-operated tools
d. Motor-operated appliances of the following types:
hedge clippers, lawn mowers, snow blowers, and
wet scrubbers

e. Portable handlamps
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTW View Post
.

Also, replacing an ungrounded plug with a GFCI is the proper fix according to the 2011 National elec code, so your electrician did do the right thing.
Actually,I don't believe this is entirely true when your talking about a refrigerator. Plugging a refrigerator into a GFCI could result in the outlet tripping without you knowing it. The right thing to do would be to run a new line WITH a ground.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #23
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A properly functioning refrigerator should have no problems being on a GFI protected circuit.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:28 PM   #24
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


There are two things wrong. 1: That outlet really needs to be grounded. It will protect you in case #2 happens. 2: There is a fault somewhere in the fridge that is causing current to leak on the fridge's ground. I'd get that outlet grounded or GFCIed... but I'd rather have a grounded outlet in a case like this. Then I'd also get an appliance guy to check out the fridge.

If you put a GFCI now it will trip immediately (or at least, if you touch it) , because there is something wrong with the fridge. It will be doing it's job, but it will NOT fix the actual problem, which is the fridge leaking current.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:57 PM   #25
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They make gfci outlets with a warning buzzer to give an audible alert when the gfci trips. At least this way you'll know the fridge is off.

Ultimately you need to sort out the ground fault though.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:19 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Grounding is a safety feature. The metal case of appliances is connected to the 3rd ground prong of the outlet. And in a modern home with all up to code electrical wiring, metal plumbing objects like a sink or faucet would be grounded as well.

So the sink and refrigerator metal case would always be at the same electrical "level" (Called "potential".) Basically that means you would never get shocked even if a wire shorted to ground like has happened with your refrigerator.

Then when something shorts to ground, one of two things happens. If it is a "small short" - leaking a small bit of electricity, the circuit breaker would not trip and you also would not be shocked even though a small amount of electricity was flowing through the ground connection. But you WOULD have a higher electric bill!

If it was a "large short", then the circuit breaker would trip - safely turning off the electricity. And again you would not be shocked.

A GFCI is also a safety device. This detects electricity flowing to "ground". If there was a short and ALL the electricity did not loop through the electrical wires (like when you were shocked and some was flowing through your body), then it will instantly shut off the electricity.

The thing is that GFCI's detect very small amounts of "leaking" electricity. And things like electric motors (like in a refrigerator) commonly do this. So you could come home and find your refrigerator (new) with the power off some day. But that would not happen with a grounded non-GFCI outlet.

Personally I prefer a refrigerator / freezer to be on a grounded outlet and not on a GFCI.

And so far as your situation, I would go look for a new refrigerator. Newer refrigerators use less energy - so lower electric bill.
I would like clarify a few things.
Grounding allows a fault psth so circuit braker will trip.
Bonding keeps all metal parts at the same electrical potential.
Many get these to areas confused. The ground wire in a circuit provides both the grounding and bonding function.
The GFI will trip when there is a electrical differance between hot and neutral wires.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:43 AM   #27
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


It's up to you whether to DIY and find and fix the ground fault in the refrigerator. If not (or if you can't) then you'll be better off just getting a new fridge.

If the defrost timer is mechanical it will have a screwdriver adjustment which could be anywhere, perhaps inside near the temperature dial or outside in back next to the compressor. If turning this about a quarter turn clears the ground fault then you know the fault is somewhere in the defrost circuit. (Or plug it in using a non-GFCI receptacle and wait an hour)

A "solid" ground (bonding to ground) for the refrigerator can be had by running a #14 or #12 wire screwed on to the refrigerator frame at one end and the panel ground bus at the other end. This will eliminate the shock hazard but the behavior of the refrigerator could be unpredicable. For example you might now trip the breaker when the defrost cycle comes on.

Or the defroster could remain partially or fully on 24/7 consuming energy itself and also consuming more energy with the refrigeration running more to keep the food compartments cool, and possible inability to keep the freezer at a low enough temperature.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-09-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:18 AM   #28
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Refrigerator Electrocuted Me. Culprit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJMarine View Post
I would like clarify a few things.
Grounding allows a fault path so circuit braker will trip.
Bonding keeps all metal parts at the same electrical potential.
Many get these to areas confused. The ground wire in a circuit provides both the grounding and bonding function.
i disagree with what you are saying, by definition, grounding is the act of connecting something to the earth, this will not clear a fault and open a circuit breaker, THIS is the actual confusion within the NEC, they need to remove the word grounding and replace it with 'EARTH' then everyone with understand the concept that you are bonding something to the neutral conductor so a fault will clear.

The earth plays no role what so ever in a perfectly working electrical system. Grounding and bonding simply get intertwined which leads to more confusion, the simple act of replacing the the word 'ground' with 'earth' will solve this issue.


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