I finished my basement that was roughed in 10 years ago and found out that my refrigerator plug is on the end of the GFCi line of plugs. There is only one GFCi plug nearest to the box that feeds the line of plugs to the refrigerator. When I plugged in my older refrigerator it tripped the GFCi plug. How do I make the plug that the refrigerator plugs into at the end of the line a non-GFCi? If I put that one gfci plug on the line only, would I then install a GFCI plug all the way down to the fridge and they will still be GFCI covered?

  • 2
    Is there a legitimate reason or need for a gfci plug or gfci circuit in that line? If there is then I would leave it alone and find another circuit to power your fridge. Is there water anywhere near these plugs? Sinks, hot tub, kitchen or laundry room areas? Feb 6, 2019 at 2:40
  • Is having the fridge checked by an HVAC/R tech an option? (They could probably bring an insulation resistance tester over and check the compressor for leakage) Feb 6, 2019 at 4:10

3 Answers 3


I’m not going to address the issue of if a GFCI is required but instead directly address the asked question.

On a GFCI outlet, the are two sets of hot/neutral connections, “line” and “load”. The incoming power is connected to the “line” terminals. Downstream outlets to be protected are connected to the “load” terminals.

What you can do, on the GFCI, is disconnect the downstream wires from the “load” side and instead connect them, along with the power wires, to the “line” side. (You should probably do this with wirenuts connecting the wires along with short wires (pigtails) to the outlet.) This will remove the GFCI protection from all of the downstream outlets. Any that still need protection should be replaced by additional GFCI outlets, keeping everything connected to the “line” terminals.

  • If I do what you say above and I put in additional GFCI's where I need protection down the line on the way to the refrigerator plug. If I keep the wires on the line side with those additional GFCI plugs, will they then be protected?
    – Lind j
    Feb 6, 2019 at 7:46
  • 1
    @Lindj Each GFCI outlet will be protected but will not protect any other outlets. The load side is only to add protection to other outlets.
    – DoxyLover
    Feb 6, 2019 at 10:23
  • I should've said that the refrigerator is on a 15 amp GFCI line also.
    – Lind j
    Feb 6, 2019 at 16:39
  • @Lindj Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by that. Is the first outlet the only GFCI on the circuit (my assumption) or are you saying there’s a GFCI circuit breaker?
    – DoxyLover
    Feb 6, 2019 at 18:11

Refrigerators should not have GFCI protection. That is a huge mistake, and you know why.

There's also the worse variant where the trip goes undetected for a couple days, someone resets it to use a power socket, never realizes the fridge was on it, and the fridge rechills before anyone realises the food is spoiled. The food is then served, spoiled, to a child or elderly person. Let me tell you, aides do not check food they give to seniors!

Because of that, there is an exception in Code for refrigerators and freezers even where GFCI is normally required. The receptacle must be a single (not the usual twin) and say "freezer only" etc.


Your refrigerator has a leakage. My suggestion is to try it on a RCD with little less sensitivity (30mA). If leakage is big and the bigger RCD still trip it means the refrigerator is gone bad and has to be replaced.

I don't understand how there you can leave unprotected such appliances where just getting a different breaker you get protection and no nuisance trip. Where in case of leakage and broken PE you still get full voltage from the appliance.

  • How did we get by in the old days by just plugging the refrigerator into a regular outlet? There did not seem to be a problem then.
    – Lind j
    Feb 6, 2019 at 16:40
  • With a higher rate of injuries and deaths due to home accidents caused by electric faults. PS: regular outlet is RCD protected, non RCD are only in non-compliant old homes (at least under CEI regulations).
    – DDS
    Feb 6, 2019 at 16:55
  • What does RCD stand for?
    – Lind j
    Feb 6, 2019 at 17:12
  • Residual Current Device (just saves me a keystroke over spelling GFCI).
    – DDS
    Feb 6, 2019 at 17:14

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