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Old 11-15-2009, 11:59 PM   #1
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


Here is the situation. There are three outlets at the counter tops and one outlet behind the fridge to feed the fridge. I am replacing outlets from ivory to white and decided to bring things up to code and put in GFCI outlets. Here is how the wiring is done. Keep in mind that this house is about 25yrs old, not sure if this matters regarding the codes then.
There is a 12/3 with ground feeding the first outlet box. How it was originally wired was this first outlet is sharing the black leg with the fridge, outlet number two is sharing the red leg with outlet number 3. If you can picture it, from right to left..... Outlet1 ------ Outlet2 ------ Fridge ----- Outlet3
Outlet 1 and fridge were on the red(hot) and Outlet 2 and Outlet 3 were on the black(hot) from the 12/3. From outlet1 I took that off the red and fed it from the black and wire nutted the reds straight through to isolate the fridge on its own circuit. Now I have all three outlets on the black feed. I put a GFCI at outlet1 and regular outlets at 2 & 3 fed from the Load side of the GFCI at outlet 1.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM I AM HAVING. Even though I isolated the three countertop outlets from the fridge outlet they all share the same neutral, When I plug the fridge into its outlet it trips the GFCI at outlet1. If I leave the fridge unplugged I can reset the GFCI and all is good. Is there an issue with the fridge sharing the neutral that is feeding my GFCI circuit?

Sorry if this got confusing or too wordy.

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Old 11-16-2009, 04:54 AM   #2
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


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Here is the situation. There are three outlets at the counter tops and one outlet behind the fridge to feed the fridge. I am replacing outlets from ivory to white and decided to bring things up to code and put in GFCI outlets. Here is how the wiring is done. Keep in mind that this house is about 25yrs old, not sure if this matters regarding the codes then.
There is a 12/3 with ground feeding the first outlet box. How it was originally wired was this first outlet is sharing the black leg with the fridge, outlet number two is sharing the red leg with outlet number 3. If you can picture it, from right to left..... Outlet1 ------ Outlet2 ------ Fridge ----- Outlet3
Outlet 1 and fridge were on the red(hot) and Outlet 2 and Outlet 3 were on the black(hot) from the 12/3. From outlet1 I took that off the red and fed it from the black and wire nutted the reds straight through to isolate the fridge on its own circuit. Now I have all three outlets on the black feed. I put a GFCI at outlet1 and regular outlets at 2 & 3 fed from the Load side of the GFCI at outlet 1.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM I AM HAVING. Even though I isolated the three countertop outlets from the fridge outlet they all share the same neutral, When I plug the fridge into its outlet it trips the GFCI at outlet1. If I leave the fridge unplugged I can reset the GFCI and all is good. Is there an issue with the fridge sharing the neutral that is feeding my GFCI circuit?

Sorry if this got confusing or too wordy.
The gfcis are doing just what they are made to do, that is, detect an unbalance between the hot and the neutral. Since you have shared a neutral, it will detect what it thinks is a problem, whenever a load is put on either Circuit.The fridge sould not be on a gfci for obvious reasons


Last edited by 300zx; 11-16-2009 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #3
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


GFCI's are very finicky about the neutral. You can even disconnect the black from the load side of the GFCI and then touch the neutral & ground together and it'll trip. It will detect there's 0 current on the black and the neutral-to-ground short will cause residual energy to flow which it will detect as an imbalance.


To fix, the easiest thing is to put everything (fridge included) on the black feed that way the neutral balances out. The problem with fridges on GFCI's, your GFCI can trip and you don't notice it for days and then your food goes bad. Though todays code requires two seperate 20A GFCI circuits feeding kitchen recepts and the fridge goes on another circuit. The old fridges used to nuasance trip GFCI's, I haven't heard of a new one doing it.

Last edited by Piedmont; 11-16-2009 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #4
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


You can leave everything wired the way you have it, just install a GFCI receptacle in EACH box (except for the refrig), wired to the LINE side of the GFCI. That way, the shared neutral is never part of the GFCI circuit.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:51 AM   #5
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


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You can leave everything wired the way you have it, just install a GFCI receptacle in EACH box (except for the refrig), wired to the LINE side of the GFCI. That way, the shared neutral is never part of the GFCI circuit.
Fastest way to do this job!
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:26 PM   #6
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


Ooohh... I like that idea
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:46 PM   #7
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


Also..............


Wirenut/pigtail your neutrals (whites) wire tightly in the first box (the one with the 12/3).

Loose/open neutral on a 3 wire home run may result in 240 volts to your appliances.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:23 PM   #8
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Replacing kitch outlets to GFCI


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Fastest way to do this job!
Smartest way, under existing conditions!

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