I'm rewiring an old monitor-top fridge. The original wiring was only 2-wire and it has completely disintegrated.

I was thinking about replacing the power cord with a grounded plug and wiring the ground to the fridge body/chassis, which is how a 1960's fridge (which I also recently rewired) was originally wired.

Is there any reason I should keep the fridge 2-wire?


I don't see the harm in adding the ground wire. All neutral wires end up going to the neutral bar in the main panel that is mounted directly on the metal box just like ground wires are mounted directly a ground bar that is mounted to the box. Sub-panels are different having an isolated neutral bar but everything goes back to the main. House panels here in California have the neutrals and grounds going to the same bar. In all actuality if you go from hot to neutral with a volt meter you will get 120v and when you go from hot to ground you will get 120v. Adding the ground to the frame of the refrigerator will just be a more direct route for the ground to take at the fridge. You might want to ohm it out between the hot and ground before testing on a life circuit, making sure there is no continuity.

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    That's the point of the ground wire -- it's a path back to neutral that is more readily available. That way, if a hot wire inside the fridge were to get loose and touch the metal chassis, it would instantly short out. Without the chassis being grounded, it would instead just remain hot. In that case, if you were to then touch the fridge and a grounded object (such as the kitchen faucet) you would form a circuit. You do not want to form a 120V electrical circuit. :) – Shimon Rura Dec 2 '11 at 4:06
  • Thanks, that's what I thought...just figured I'd double-check in case I was missing something obvious. – rob Dec 3 '11 at 8:22

Yes, add a ground wire and wire it to the chassis, and ideally to any metal surfaces accessible on the outside of the appliance. This is a safety feature that reduces the danger of the chassis becoming electrified (e.g. due to failure of insulation). More recent appliances with a metal chassis are grounded for this reason.

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