Forgive me if this is basic or redundant, but I couldn't find any questions addressing my specific scenario.

I've got a GFCI outlet in my garage which also protects three separate outdoor outlets. I have a refrigerator plugged into this because it's the only outlet in my garage. I've had it trip a couple of times over the years when the only load on the entire circuit is the refrigerator. More often, I've had it trip with things plugged in outside such as Christmas lights. I'd like to avoid this so that such an event doesn't leave the refrigerator without power.

Is the solution as simple as replacing the garage outlet with a standard one and each of the three outdoor outlets with GFCIs?

  • Have you considered that the fridge might be the culprit in all this? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 21 at 13:50

Yes, but you'll violate Code if you do. Garage outlets need GFCI also.

Your best bet is to crack open that box, and extend the circuit to a 1-socket recep marked "Refrigerator Only" installed at a location of your convenience. It's good to eliminate extension cords as part of this, but err on the side of "within your skill level".

A "Fridge only" labeled 1-socket recep is also technically a Code violation, but one most AHJs will cheerfully provide waivers for.

If the walls are open, then extend off the existing box, to your new box, using normal wiring methods.

If the walls are closed up, use a system such as Legrand's Wiremold surface conduit. Start with a "Surface conduit starter box" that extends the existing outlet to give you about 1" of sidewall to attach the surface conduit. (mind you this surface conduit can go 1 inch). Then you install a surface box. To cable between them, buy black, white and green THHN/THWN individual wires (about 2' longer than the conduit) and run them down the conduit.

Either way, into the new box you install a 1-socket receptacle (which are weirdly more expensive than 2-socket types; economies of scale gone wild!) And get the correct 1-socket cover plate; very important since you must label it.

The new socket attaches to the LINE side of the GFCI outlet - not the LOAD side. Almost all GFCI receps provide a way to put 2 wires under or behind the LINE screws.

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  • Perfect solution, and I thought there was an allowance in the code for garage refrigerator receptacles... For the outdoor receptacles, you don't have to replace "each of the three" with GFCIs, just the first. Wire the two downstream to the load side of that first one; they will then be protected by it. And label them as GFI Protected. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 21 at 14:54
  • Great, and thanks, but when you say "just the first" outlet need to be GFCI, how can I tell which outlet that is? – Toddler Jun 21 at 17:47
  • Harper, could you break the tabs on both sides and convert one of the receptacles of the duplex to non-GFCI and label it for refrigerator? – Jim Stewart Jun 22 at 12:53
  • Still wondering how to tell which outlet it is when only "the first one" needs GFCI. – Toddler Jun 26 at 9:55
  • @JimStewart Yes, if a GFCI recep is in the same box with a plain recep, you could do that to the plain recep. GFCI receps don’t have tabs to break. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 27 at 18:56

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