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I live in the US and my refrigerator is 115 Volt. I'd like to power it directly from the socket with an extension cord, but I've been told that it must be powered via a surge protector or a special power cord. Is this true?

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I have never heard of a requirement that a refrigerator be powered via surge protector (in the US or otherwise). Considering the current draw for starting a motor, I would think you need some sort of a "slow blow" surge protector, and I don't know if they are even spec'd in this way. –  Dave Nay May 6 '12 at 16:23
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Refrigerators are supposed to be on a branch circuit to themselves: would that be what you mean by "special power cord"? –  Niall C. May 6 '12 at 16:25
    
How long will the cord be? Will this be short-term of permanent? –  Jay Bazuzi May 6 '12 at 18:50
    
@NiallC. - I'm not sure what i mean! –  SamtheBrand May 6 '12 at 22:47
    
@JayBazuzi - That's the problem. This cord needs to be long (36 feet) because I am trying to wire it around the molding of a room. And yes, this is permanent. What to do! –  SamtheBrand May 6 '12 at 22:48

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The power cord would have to be short and made of 12AWG wire with ground. I would not go more than a few feet. Best to just have an outlet (dedicated) installed to the fridge.

No special surge protector or special type of extension cord would be required other than the size I mentioned.

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Much thanks for the wisdom here. But a problem: it looks like I've got to go with a long cord (~36 feet) in order to wrap the cord around a room. Any options besides installing a new outlet or moving the fridge? –  SamtheBrand May 6 '12 at 22:50
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Sorry, but no. To keep it safe, you really need to add a dedicated outlet. –  SteveR May 6 '12 at 23:11
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Extension cords are meant for "temporary" use, although in practice "temporary" is often indistinguishable from "permanent". In the case of a refrigerator, it would be hard to argue that it's a temporary use. A 36' 12AWG cord will be hard to conceal (and you'll probably end up with 50'). I agree that if you have the option to move the outlet or install another, it would be best. –  TomG May 7 '12 at 2:24

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