A new home has GFCI breaker on a dedicated outlet for the refrigerator. Since the manufacturer recommends Non GFCI circuit I want to swapping it out. I've added new circuits before in the main box but never converted from GFCI to non GFCI. Can someone please guide me with the wiring?

The refrigerator is not within 6 ft to a sink or water outlet (besides ice maker line)

  • 2
    Where are you on this planet? Current NEC editions (2014 and 2017) require AFCI protection for all kitchen outlets (including a dedicated fridge outlet); however, some local codes amend the NEC to except dedicated refrigerator circuits from this requirement. Feb 19, 2017 at 12:37

2 Answers 2


First off, have you considered that the fridge manufacturer might be silly and lazy in not making their appliance GFCI-compatible? Although the shock risk from a properly grounded fridge is low, I'd consider returning the fridge for one that doesn't have this caveat in the manual.

That aside, this is not much different from any other breaker changeout.

Before doing this, I'd ask the power company to kill the power to your house while you work on it (modern smart meters can be disconnected remotely, even) -- that way, you don't have to worry about working around live parts at all. I'm mildly paranoid about live parts though; if you're not that way, you can simply turn the main breaker off and avoid the main breaker supply lugs while you're working, as they'll still be quite hot.

Also, the new code (2017) requires the use of torque tools to torque terminal screws to specification (this avoids loose or overtightened connections, both of which can fail over time) -- there should be a torque spec on the panel's labeling, and you can pick up a cheap torque screwdriver for oh, $50 or so at one of the big box stores.

Once everything's dead and you can safely pull the deadfront, remove the GFCI breaker from the busbar, tag the hot and neutral wires, and disconnect the hot and neutral wires for the circuit from it -- you'll have to unscrew the terminals to do this. You can then remove the neutral pigtail on the breaker from the neutral bar and land the tagged neutral in its place. Take the new regular breaker and install it in the open slot left behind by the GFCI breaker, then attach the tagged hot to the new breaker and plug it onto the busbar (again, you need to torque the terminal screw to spec here). Put the deadfront back on, and have the power company turn the power back on.

BTW: a non-GFCI breaker here is Code-legal as 210.8 point 6 only requires GFCI protection for kitchen countertop receptacles. A dedicated fridge circuit's receptacle serves no countertops, so it does not require GFCI protection.

  • Come on have the power company kill the power for a dedicated branch circuit breaker replacement . In this case the op has changed breakers and just needed to know to move the neutral to the neutral buss and install the hot in the breaker as normal. If the power needs to be turned off the main disconnect or circuit breaker would be the best way to do this.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 19, 2017 at 17:11

Actually you need to remove the circuits neutral from the gfci breaker and install it on the neutral bar and place the hot on your new breaker no need to call your power company if you are afraid to work in a live box just turn off your main breaker and have someone hold a flashlight for you(in 30 years in the trade I never called a power company to shut down a house to change a breaker I would have gotten fired for that one)

  • I'm not sure if Code in his jurisdiction requires this GFCI to be replaced with an AFCI instead of a standard breaker... Feb 19, 2017 at 16:19
  • Do GFCI breakers last longer than GFCI receptacles? Feb 19, 2017 at 22:21

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