I have an issue with my LG fridge. The fridge is 2 years old and has been working fine until this morning. When I opened the doors the lights when out. I (after some time) figured out that it had tripped the GFCI in our kitchen (which we didn't even know the two outlets were connected. I have been doing some testing and it ONLY trips the GFCI when both doors are opening simultaneously. I can not get it to trip when just one or the other door is open. BUT if I open both doors at the exact same time the GFCI trip. I ran the refrigerator to another GFCI outlet via an extension cord and it tripped that one as well. My gut it telling me there is a ground fault in the door switch, but I can't understand why it wouldn't trip when I opened that particular door. I thought the control unit that lights up, but it also lights up when only one door is open. I thought perhaps the actual lights, but those come on also when only one door is open. Does anyone have any suggestions, or other tests I could perform to narrow it down.

The model is a LFCS22520S

Thanks so much in advance!

2 Answers 2


The fridge shouldn't be on GFCI anyway. Imagine if it had tripped over the night, you woke up to make coffee, the coffeemaker didn't work and you found the GFCI tripped, and you reset it naturally. Would you register what it means when the fridge also starts up? Or would the fridge re-cool by the time you go to get food out of it, and you're none the wiser that it was ever off? Meanwhile food has spoiled.

If the fridge is downline of a GFCI, then stop using the LOAD lines on that GFCI, and fit additional GFCI receps at any other place GFCI is needed again without use of LOAD.

What to do about the refrigerator, though?

Henny Youngman had a joke, "I told the doctor 'it hurts when I do that'. The doctor said 'Well, don't do that!'"

There's a reason we advise not to put fridges on GFCI.

Fridges do that. New fridges do that. Therefore, a fridge tripping a GFCI is a nothingburger in my book.

"Oh, noes, but it's unsfae!" OK stop. Why do we have GFCIs in the first place? Because people get shocked by ungrounded (not a fridge) appliances whose electrical bits are exposed (not in the bottom back of a 300 pound machine shoved into an alcove), which get wet (not likely) and who often drop the appliance into the sink.

Absolutely none of this fits a refrigerator. They are simply not the use-case for which GFCI is intended (or able) to help. Putting one on GFCI simply makes no sense.

And indeed, AHJs see it that way - they will often exempt "Fridge/freezer only" outlets from the rule requiring GFCI for all basement and garage outlets.

Keep in mind a fridge is a safety system. You keep perishable food in it.

Chasing it anyway

If you feel strongly about running down the problem, I would start by slicing up an extension cord and separating the ground wire a good distance from the hot+neutral (bind those together). Now you can put a clamp ammeter around the ground (or hot+neutral, as normal current will cancel itself out) and look for the leakage current. I readily acknowledge that a refrigerator light is an unusual source for a ground fault, and may be worth investigating.

Normally fridge ground faults happen when the compressor motor is shut off; that causes an inductive "kick" that will rise in voltage until it is shunted to neutral or ground. Refrigerators may have devices such as a VBO to deal with that, which then fail over time.

  • 1
    That was my next step; however that doesn't solve the issue with the very specific set of circumstances with which my fridge just started tripping the GFCI or that I could duplicate it on a secondary GFCI outlet. May 24, 2020 at 4:45
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    @jsbhistorian It's the fridge. You can have the fridge serviced or replaced if you really want to, but new fridges are known to trip GFCIs and they're not exactly the use-case for GFCI protection. Normally the trip is at the beginning or end of the compressor cycle, and your fridge may have a separate and serious problem - but you'll have to make the call whether you consider it worthy of moving all your food into coolers and packing it off to the repair shop. May 24, 2020 at 17:35
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Also here a 30mA GFCI seems to be the best solution - at least better then none, and a fridge most likely doesn't have its own circuit. Tripping fridges in the 30mA GFCI -part of this planet seems to be extrememly rare compared to the 5mA part. 5mA is too sensitive concerning all the condensing water, automatic de-icing and high moisture (cooking) environment.
    – xeeka
    May 24, 2020 at 17:51
  • @xeeka But then, you only have 30ma protection on the receptacles that need 6ma. Any GFCI on a fridge is a bit silly, but it might be worthwhile for OP's case though, given that this ground fault is NOT coming from the usual motor startup/spindown surge event, and further investigation would not hurt. If a 30ma GFCI holds, I would call it solved. May 24, 2020 at 18:07
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica To meet the code, the other receptacles could be fitted with 6mA GFCI-outlets. It is no problem to have 2 or even more GFCIs in series - in the contrary it minimizes the switching time.
    – xeeka
    May 24, 2020 at 18:13

It may be related to the cleaning method. Nowadays many users prefer cleaning sprays, which would settle and accumulate on even the interior surfaces through tiny openings, where hot wires are present. These residuals have conductive components (ions) which lower the surface resistance. Depending on which parts are set on high voltage, the opening of one or two doors could start a leakage current that will trip the GFCI. Spraying those internal parts with isopropanol (alcohol) can help to remove those conductive residuals. Of course, the fridge must be disconnected from the power and only reconnected when all alcohol has disappeared.

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