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Old 08-30-2007, 07:02 AM   #1
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Dear Forum,

I have had a Kenmore freezer outside in sa partially protected area, plugged into a GFCI. Eventually it stopped working, which we attributed to exposure to outside dirt, and moved it inside. However, it turned out that the outside GFCI was broken, and tripped immediately anytime anything was plugged in. We have replaced the outdoor GFCI, which now works normally.

Now, in its new location, the freezer is plugged into a second GFCI switch. When we plug it in, it appears to operate normally for a short period of time (hours), then trips the GFCI. It has done this numerous times, and we have now unplugged it. I am quite sure that there is no connection to ground anywhere. The freezer is in a basement, elevated from the floor on a wooden pallet.

My question is, what is more likely to be causing the problem: the freezer, the GFCI outlet, or (possibly) the fact that the freezer should not be plugged into a gfci outlet. Is it possible that whatever surges of demand would trigger a normally working gfci? Can plugging a freezer into a GFCI damage the GFCI, causing it to malfunction?

Thanks for your help.

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Old 08-30-2007, 07:55 PM   #2
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Plugging it into a GFCI should not damage the GFCI but a freezer should not be plugged into a GFCI. Not that it is causing the trip, it just isn't a good thing to do. You don't want your food to spoil because something else tripped the GFCI.

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:15 PM   #3
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Replace the GFCI with standard 20 amp 120v outlet. Then see if the problem goes away. I'd almost bet it will. GFCI's are know to be culpable for problems such as yours.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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Freezer tripping GFCI


I know this is an old thread, but I feel compelled to respond to such bad advice.

GFCIs do not trip for no reason. I would strongly suspect a fault in the freezer, especially if it spent time outside.

A high impedance fault can allow enough current through to kill someone, but not trip a breaker. This is the whole point of GFCIs.

There is at least one known case of an electrocution from the frame of a freezer.

I cannot believe that people place the value of food over the value of their family's lives. This was hotly debated during the 2008 National Electric Code process, and the NEC continues to tighten up the GFCI requirements. If a paticular appliance trips a GFCI, CHECK THE APPLIANCE OUT!!!
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:11 PM   #5
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJ0906 View Post
I know this is an old thread, but I feel compelled to respond to such bad advice.

GFCIs do not trip for no reason. I would strongly suspect a fault in the freezer, especially if it spent time outside.

A high impedance fault can allow enough current through to kill someone, but not trip a breaker. This is the whole point of GFCIs.

There is at least one known case of an electrocution from the frame of a freezer.

I cannot believe that people place the value of food over the value of their family's lives. This was hotly debated during the 2008 National Electric Code process, and the NEC continues to tighten up the GFCI requirements. If a paticular appliance trips a GFCI, CHECK THE APPLIANCE OUT!!!

Just to add my own 2 cents, For an appliance to trip a GFCI, leakage current would have to increase 8 to 12 times the permitted leakage current of the appliance. just something to really think about...
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:26 PM   #6
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Respectfully, I stand by the solution I submitted. GFI 's should not be used for refrigerators or freezers. Many manufacturers state outright that GFI 's are not to be used. Now I never asked why but I suspect it is because the high initial current draw when the compressor kicks in it causes a slight imbalance between the neutral and live conductor, thus tripping the GFI. This is especially true in older models.

Some manufacturers simply state the refrigerator should be on a time delay circuit breaker circuit. None come out and say to use a GFI.

The only exception is commercial kitchen refrigerators and freezers in food prep areas, they are required and designed to be on GFI's. To further support my argument I'd like to offer the following information readily available on the internet...

ARTIC AiIR states in their specification for refrigerator R22CW that GFI's are not allowed.

Intelectric is yet another source stating not to use them, a quote follows.

Intelectric, Inc.
3718 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.5486 voice
310.838.5773 fax


Refrigerator Power

If the power goes out to your refrigerator or freezer you need to fix it fast! Here are two tips to help you quickly restore power:
  1. If your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI receptacle, you can re-set the GFI and see if you now have power. If this works, that's great! Now that it's working again you should make arrangements to replace the GFI with a regular receptacle as soon as possible.

    Refrigerators should never be plugged into a GFI receptacle because GFIs are very sensitive, and you don't want to be on vacation and lose power to your refrigerator just because the GFI accidentally shut off. So if your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI receptacle, you should replace the GFI with a regular receptacle.
  2. If you can't restore power to the receptacle that your refrigerator is plugged into, you should call an electrician who is good at troubleshooting to locate and fix the problem. But while you're waiting for the electrician to arrive, you can plug the refrigerator into a heavy-duty extension cord and plug it in to a receptacle that has power.

    This will keep your food cold and safe until your electrician arrives.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:16 PM   #7
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
Respectfully, I stand by the solution I submitted. GFI 's should not be used for refrigerators or freezers. Many manufacturers state outright that GFI 's are not to be used.
You dont understand how a GFCI works do you? Did you read my post above? If the Appliace is leaking current, it could kill someone, what part of that does not make sense? A GFCI should be mandatory if nothing else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
Now I never asked why but I suspect it is because the high initial current draw when the compressor kicks in it causes a slight imbalance between the neutral and live conductor, thus tripping the GFI. This is especially true in older models.
Impossible, current does not magically disappear into the air. what goes IN must come OUT.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
Some manufacturers simply state the refrigerator should be on a time delay circuit breaker circuit. None come out and say to use a GFI.
Its the NEC's job to specify GFCI protection, and face it, the 2008 is getting pretty strict on GFCI requirements, soon it will be pretty much required everywhere, what are you going to do then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
The only exception is commercial kitchen refrigerators and freezers in food prep areas, they are required and designed to be on GFI's. To further support my argument I'd like to offer the following information readily available on the internet...
Every receptacle in a commerical kitcher requires GFCI protection, You want to tell me why you think that is? Gee, is it for personal protection from appliances leaking current?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
ARTIC AiIR states in their specification for refrigerator R22CW that GFI's are not allowed.

Intelectric is yet another source stating not to use them, a quote follows.

Intelectric, Inc.
3718 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.5486 voice
310.838.5773 fax


Refrigerator Power

If the power goes out to your refrigerator or freezer you need to fix it fast! Here are two tips to help you quickly restore power:
  1. If your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI receptacle, you can re-set the GFI and see if you now have power. If this works, that's great! Now that it's working again you should make arrangements to replace the GFI with a regular receptacle as soon as possible.

    Refrigerators should never be plugged into a GFI receptacle because GFIs are very sensitive, and you don't want to be on vacation and lose power to your refrigerator just because the GFI accidentally shut off. So if your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI receptacle, you should replace the GFI with a regular receptacle.
  2. If you can't restore power to the receptacle that your refrigerator is plugged into, you should call an electrician who is good at troubleshooting to locate and fix the problem. But while you're waiting for the electrician to arrive, you can plug the refrigerator into a heavy-duty extension cord and plug it in to a receptacle that has power.

    This will keep your food cold and safe until your electrician arrives.

Thats nice, too bad if that fridge is in an area that requires GFCI protection, you cannot just change it to a regular receptacle.

Last edited by chris75; 08-10-2008 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Gfi are required in commercial kitchens due to the constant wet environment .
Much more so than a residential setting.

As the GFCI monitors current flowing from hot to neutral it looks for a imbalance in current between the two points. Due to the sensitive nature of GFI's even a slight imbalance (or mismatch) of 4 or 5 milliamps will trip the GFI. The GFI is more suited to locations which can be wet, like counter tops, where your toaster and blender type appliances are located.
I'd be interested to see which states and towns now require GFI's for refrigerators and which are planing to require them.

I'd also like to see the statistics for electrocution by refrigerators.

s
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:01 AM   #9
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
Gfi are required in commercial kitchens due to the constant wet environment .
Much more so than a residential setting.
That is incorrect my friend. Its because employees have been electrocuted in the workplace due to equipment failure. frayed cords, etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
As the GFCI monitors current flowing from hot to neutral it looks for a imbalance in current between the two points. Due to the sensitive nature of GFI's even a slight imbalance (or mismatch) of 4 or 5 milliamps will trip the GFI.
ANd you dont have a problem with this mismatch? You feel that its safe for current to flow wherever?

What sensitive nature are you talking about, 4-5 milliamps is 8-12 times more current then a product is permitted, If its tripping a GFCI the appliance has a SERIOUS problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
The GFI is more suited to locations which can be wet, like counter tops, where your toaster and blender type appliances are located.
Is this your opinion or fact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
I'd be interested to see which states and towns now require GFI's for refrigerators and which are planing to require them.
Its all in the location of the fridge, not the fridge itself, read up on 210.8 of the NEC.

Last edited by chris75; 08-11-2008 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:10 AM   #10
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Suitability was in part opinion, based on factual readings at various periods of time. Since I am not in the trade I spend little time dwelling on such matters. I refer you back to NEC 210-8(6)... Residential refer's are not required to be GFIC protected only rec. serving counter top spaces.NEC 210-8(6)

My argument is well supported in more than several locations on the internet.

Such a mismatch with regard to current in refrigerators is common and as such I have no problem with it. Thats why GFI's trip so often in refrigerators and freezers, and thats why most sources tell you not to use them.

You said your piece and I said mine. Which reminds of a saying.

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:57 PM   #11
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post




Such a mismatch with regard to current in refrigerators is common and as such I have no problem with it. Thats why GFI's trip so often in refrigerators and freezers, and thats why most sources tell you not to use them.
What ever you wanna believe. just keep it to yourself and stop misleading people into believing GFCI's are not allowed to supply a fridge.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Never said that!!! Only quoted what Artic Air said in their fridge/freezer spec sheet.

Only quoted NEC-8 (6) which you may want to study further...

Says not required! Did you notice ?

Residential refer's are not required to be GFIC protected only rec. serving counter top spaces.NEC 210-8(6)

Good bye, and good fortune to you sir.
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:42 PM   #13
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Freezer tripping GFCI


That's absolutely correct... it is not required ... however you are absolutely incorrect in stating that it is the fault of the gfci if a refrigerator is tripping it. Telling people to remove the gfci protection or move the appliance to a non-gfci receptacle is pure and simple ridiculous and irresponsible. The gfci is tripping because of a fault with the refrigerator. Sorry facts hurt sometimes but your fairytales and myths need to be exposed so that people don't follow such dangerous advice.

Quote:
Due to the sensitive nature of GFI's even a slight imbalance (or mismatch) of 4 or 5 milliamps will trip the GFI.
Thank goodness cause that is right at touch potential and is very close to fatal amperage. But heck it is alright if the appliance leaks this to ground and fools the gfci into tripping....jeez fella.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher
Gfi are required in commercial kitchens due to the constant wet environment .
Much more so than a residential setting
Thats funny... because the r22cw you said the manufacturing company said gfci's are not allowed....is a commercial refrigerator...so to use the laughing icon.... I wonder how they got their UL listing if they are not allowed on gfci due to leakage tripping of gfci's....hmmm

And again whats is with the wet environment thing, hard to put much faith in someone that cannot make an accurate statement.

BTW you didn't provide any links to the manufacturers you said wrote that BS about gfci's, in my opinion that was all make believe.. by you. As there aren't many technical writers that would use that type language....after all you presented it as a qoute. If I read that in a manual for the appliance I would run like hell.

As for the deaths due to electrocution from refrigerators here is a little article from the consumer products commission, please note table 2. also note this is the statistical results from 1997 updated in 2000. Also note that the deaths are decreasing for large appliances. And note again that the nfpa research attributes this to increased use of gfci's. Go over to the nfpa and give it a look. Might be interesting to read something factual for a change.

http://www.cpsc.gov/library/shock97.pdf

For those reading this thread I hope that they consider what has been said and can separate the foolish rhetoric mentioned here from what is real. So I urgently request to readers of this thread that if they have a gfci tripping on a refrigerator.. remove it from service until you can have it properly inspected for electrical fault to the frame. These appliances have large surface areas of metal and increased potential for electrical shock if grounded faults occur. Never consider that the gfci is the cause for a trip out due to an appliance motor.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:49 PM   #14
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Freezer tripping GFCI


http://en.allexperts.com/q/Electrica...allation-4.htm

Heres a bunch of residential refrigerator manufacturers that do not recommend their refrigerators on GFI outlets...

ttp://www.applianceaid.com/gfi_plugs.html

http://fixitnow.com/wp/2008/03/28/us...th-appliances/

http://www.intelectric.net/tips.html Paragraph 1, under refrigerator power.

It's all right out there on the internet. Not just the examples I give, but pages and pages of " Do not use GFI with refrigerator " . I don't see any support for the use of the GFI.

Just so you know I believe the 2008 code requires GFI on refrigerators. We will see if a rash of issues with them occors.

http://easydiyelectricity.com/?p=490 A good read.


I never meant to imply it is the GFI's fault. To clarify it is the refrigerator which causes the GFI to trip. But that does not necessarily mean their is a problem with the fridge. One should have it checked out after the GFI trips and if it is then proven there is no electical issue with with the fridge... Remove the GFI and install a standard outlet. Like most people all over these united states have.

Last edited by Docfletcher; 08-14-2008 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:54 PM   #15
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Freezer tripping GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfletcher View Post
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Electrica...allation-4.htm

Heres a bunch of residential refrigerator manufacturers that do not recommend their refrigerators on GFI outlets...

ttp://www.applianceaid.com/gfi_plugs.html

http://fixitnow.com/wp/2008/03/28/us...th-appliances/

http://www.intelectric.net/tips.html Paragraph 1, under refrigerator power.

It's all right out there on the internet. Not just the examples I give, but pages and pages of " Do not use GFI with refrigerator " . I don't see any support for the use of the GFI.



Just so you know I believe the 2008 code requires GFI on refrigerators. We will see if a rash of issues with them occors.

http://easydiyelectricity.com/?p=490 A good read.
No one is saying a GFCI is required for every refrigerator, only where the NEC requires them, you obvioulsly have don't understand how a GFCI works and the dangers of a fridge or freezer that trips a gfci, so let it go, do what you want in your home, but do not post your nonsense here.

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