Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


09:42PM | 08/10/07
Member Since: 08/10/07
1 lifetime posts
> Hello

> I picked up a "new" used refridgerator today I got it home put it

> in the garage left for 3 hours came home seemed to

> work fine then the GFI

> breaker kept on tripping and I thought it was the

> fridge and the freezer

> being on the same circuit so I unplugged the freezer

> and it still was

> tripping so basicaly i'm not sure if it's the fridge or the GFI,it seems to coincidental that the GFI would go at the same time I get a "new" appliance....Did i get a lemon of a fridge or is it something else?


06:09AM | 08/11/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
REfigerators and freezers can have small leakage currents that are normal and no problem as long as they are connected to a true grouned receptacle. Also older units and older GFCI where more prone to false tripping due to motor starts.

Thus the code specifically allows the use of non-gfci protected receptacles where the receptacle is used by an appliance that is not normal moved.

Your best bet is to rewire the receptacles so that this one is not protected.

Depending on how the circuit is run that might take several GFCI's.


07:20AM | 08/11/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
360 lifetime posts
The green sheathed wiring, especially on the back side of a fridge, near the bottom of the frame, most likely culprit.

If you reset your GFI breaker for the garage, unplug this refrigerator, and plug in only the freezer, which worked fine before, does it still trip?

If not, I'd suspect a problem with the refrigerator itself, especially since if I recall correctly, you mentioned it was used, and that you transported it yourself.

Although it is true that both such appliances (freezers and refrigerators) can cause nuisiance tripping on Ground fault protected circuits (mostly due to their current draw and current fluctuations when either the compressor motor or heating element kicks on - frost free appliances) if the circuit is properly rated (amps sufficient for start-up of inductive load - motor loads and wire size - not overheating) and especially since you indicated a ground fault protective circuit breaker - you shouldn't have this difficulty UNLESS there is a true fault situation which I suspect IS LIKELY due to used appliance recently installed in a garage - where no other difficulties were previously experienced (especially with the freezer).

Dampness in the garage combined with a bad ground connection - especially to the case - could be an ACTUAL fault occuring and NOT NUSIANCE TRIPPING!!!!

Again, I would take this appliance out of service until/unless you can ASSURE this is not the case.

How many circuits to this garage? Attached or unattached to your home?

What is the Amperage of this circuit - 15 or 20 Amps?

It might be, especially since it is a GFI Circuit breaker - that your circuit has too few amps and/or the wiring is undersized and an under-voltage/overcurrent situation is occuring!!!!

If your circuit amps are correct for this refrigerator and the additional load on the circuit - and you have an undervoltage situation (could fluctuate - i.e. be fine one time you test, be low later) your motorized load will attempt to draw MORE amps to compensate.

If your circuit is undersized in the first place (MANY refrigerators NEED 20 amp circuits these days, some will do okay still on a 15 amp circuit but cannot SHARE it as will oftentimes draw more than 12 amps during a motor start AND a defrost/anti-condensation dryer cycle within). If another appliance, especially another motor load (freezer) is drawing a start up or continuous run at the same time - the result might be exceeding the trip limit on your Circuit Breaker.

Point being, without more information it would be entirely inappropriate to ASSUME you have merely a nusiance trip situation, given what information you DID provide.

There should be information regarding initial and run amps somewhere on this appliance, as well as the freezer.

Also you'd have to know if your CB (GFI protected) is rated at 80 or 100 percent.

Motor loads


08:58AM | 08/11/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
"Likely a bad/disconnected grounding/frame/case wire.

08/11/2007 11:20 AM MistressEll

The green sheathed wiring, especially on the back side of a fridge, near the bottom of the frame, most likely culprit."

If the ground wire is disconnected then there is no path for any leakage current.

Unless there is a direct metallic connection (copper waterine complete to EGC connection) or the metal feet on refigerator (most have plastic rollers or wheels) then there won't be any path for leakage to ground.

So the GFCI won't trip. Even if the case is directly shorted to the hot. That is until someone touches and they are grounded. Then the GFCI will trip.


09:10AM | 08/11/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
360 lifetime posts
garage floor - likely concrete.

Metal frame stretcher on back side - two leveling feet RARELY having "rubber or plastic caps" screw into threaded holes in frame. Contact with frame - if ground not attached to frame (dislodged from grounding screw, or wire broken, nicked etc.), in contact with moist/damp (POROUS CONCRETE IN CONTACT WITH EARTH) - and btw its summer in the US - think condensation at least! - and what do you have? ground fault - any time the fridge is running. Where is the motor housing? attached to the frame. Usually also the guard for the condenser.

Stop being a jack-a** ya old mule.

the poster said it was a GFI BREAKER that was tripping NOT an old style GFCI RECEPTICAL...DUH.


09:19AM | 08/11/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
360 lifetime posts
garages generally unconditioned spaces.

Refrigerator case condensation when in operation.

Condensation = water collection. Water can complete a circuit.

Another source of water? Drip line to drip pan, spilling onto floor - or absent drip pan.

Running a refrigerator in an unconditioned space especially in hot humid climates (especially a frost free combo fridge/freezer, especially opened frequently) can produce a lot of collected water, especially under the case frame in place and running.

Overloading the circuit (stated amps and/or low VOLTAGE) could also be tripping the circuit breaker.

Advice stands.

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