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I recently put a fridge in my garage, the outlet I am using I discovered is on the same circuit as the bathroom indoors across a hall. I believe the previous owner installed it as he is a 'contractor' and did a lot of work on the house.

There are 3 outlets on the circuit, all 3 have GFCI receptacles. I'll call them, A,B, and C. A is in the garage, B and C are in the bathroom. The fridge is plugged into A, nothing is usually plugged into B or C unless we have guests stay with us. When the fridge is plugged into A, within 48 hours it will trip the GFCI on B. A and C remain untripped.

Does anyone have an idea of why this might be happened and what I can do to fix it.

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    First thing you need is to figure out how they all linked to each other. Is A wired on the load side of B, for example? They're all on the same circuit, granted, but is anyone after another one? If so, on the load or line side? – Jeffrey Jul 2 '19 at 18:24
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    Also take a look at this question. A fridge really should not need a GFCI and they are prone to nuisance trips. Of course, you still need to know how everything is hooked up before you remove one of the GFCI outlets. – JPhi1618 Jul 2 '19 at 18:40
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    These have a test button. If you press it, it will disconnect that receptacle and any other connected to it's load terminals. If you have three GFCIs, they should all be independent. Anyway the frig should not be on a GFCI so add another box in the garage and put a single receptacle in it (not GFCI protected) and use it for the frig. The other receptacle in the garage should still be GFCI protected. – Jim Stewart Jul 2 '19 at 19:33
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    > "contractor" > 3 GFCIs on the same circuit .... uh huh... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 2 '19 at 20:43
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    There is nothing wrong with having multiple GFCIs on the same circuit breaker. Having multiple GFCIs chained together doesn't make sense and seems like it could cause no end of weirdness. Start off by sorting out how they are actually wired. – dlu Jul 3 '19 at 16:01
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You should avoid plugging fridges into GFCIs any which way you can. Refrigerators are the exact opposite of the use-case for GFCIs.*

However, the latest version of Code requires GFCI devices in garages. It's a pity; old installations are "grandfathered" and you are not required to retrofit GFCI. We are recommending that you use any means possible/necessary, to arrange your wiring so the refrigerator/freezer is on a "grandfathered" old outlet not on GFCI, and this outlet is a single outlet labeled "Freezer only".

You might think "Oh, I'll hit Habitat for Humanity Store and find some old, ugly, painted-on boxes, receptacles, covers, conduit and/or cable, and some rusty screws to make the installation look old". I couldn't possibly advise such a thing.

Now if "3 GFCIs on one circuit" is true, this guy's either dumb, or so smart he looks dumb. Generally, fridges notwithstanding, one GFCI device can protect the whole circuit. There are reasons to put multiple GFCIs on a circuit (like a fridge at the 3rd receptacle), but pressing "test" on one GFCI should never knock power out to another GFCI. If so, the second one is useless and should be changed to a plain receptacle. The spare GFCI can then be used to protect another circuit.


* Fridges are 3-prong grounded, metal chassis, all the electrical gear is in the bottom back where it is wildly inaccessible, you are unlikely to drip hollandaise sauce into it, and you probably won't drop it in the sink. They are also expensive (not cheap throwaway countertop appliances) and contain a cyclically operated large motor that is prone to minor ground faults, which are factors that are anti-GFCI. Further, there's another life-safety issue: food spoilage. So you have "dueling safety features", like a low-oil-level shutoff on a fire pump. Do not sacrifice the warehouse to save the fire pump.

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  • Thank you very much. I'm going to hand this work over to a pro as I'm not comfortable with my own level of experience and this questionable install. There are plenty of other projects I think I can tackle though. I've got other plugs in the garage I can use in the mean time. – Mike D Jul 4 '19 at 0:37

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