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Read the whole story before responding. Refrigerator started tripping the circuit after being in our new house for 5 years now. Nothing new has been added to the outlets on that circuit breaker(20 amp). Ran an extension cord to another set of outlets on another circuit breaker(also an 20 amp) and had the same problem. Then decided to try a 3rd outlet on a 3rd circuit breaker(this one a 15 amp which also runs the TV/Box) and have had no issues.

The trip seems to happen after multiple opening and closing of the fridge in a short period of time.

I am not an electrician but this seems wrong to me?

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    What make and model is the fridge, and do the breakers in question have TEST buttons on them? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 2 '20 at 0:33
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    LG LFX25974ST, yes they have a test button. They also have a red light that blinks 5 times. Eaton Breakers, looked on their site and 5 blinks means "Ground fault detected." – Kevin Peterson Sep 2 '20 at 0:59
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    Does this answer your question? Why would a GFCI trip on refrigerator circuit? – Thegs Sep 2 '20 at 7:53
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You answered your own question. This is a ground fault. Your TV circuit isn't in a wet or unfinished area, so it doesn't have or need ground fault protection, so it doesn't have a problem. Since the problem happens on two different GFCI-protected circuits and didn't happen when the refrigerator was brand new, there likely really is a problem. Multiple opening and closing as a trigger would indicate either some sort of interference that happens (e.g., perhaps there are fans/motors that stop when you open the door and start again when you close it and repeated action causes the ground fault) or maybe some part that has an insulation breakdown and repeated opening/closing of the doors allows condensation to drip down to just the wrong place.

Bottom line: GFCI with refrigerator is generally not a good combination, because if this happened while you were out and didn't find out until the next day, your food would all be spoiled. Or potentially worse, you had the problem and didn't know it and reset the breaker because of something else, you might not realize the refrigerator had been off for several hours.

The ideal solution is to fix or replace the refrigerator. Realistically, the problem is probably not a true safety hazard, but we can't be sure. In many cases, a refrigerator can be plugged into a non-GFCI circuit, but normally the exception is based on the circuit not powering any countertop kitchen receptacles, which typically requires running a separate circuit exclusively for the refrigerator. Extension cords are only a temporary solution.

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  • Thank you! I hope that it is a simple repair and not needing an new refrigerator. there is not sign that there is a leak anywhere. Bummer!! – Kevin Peterson Sep 2 '20 at 1:27
  • Refrigerators tripping GFCIs doesn't necessarily mean a fault, this question has a pretty good breakdown on why. Motors produce an inductive load, and when turned off return a small amount of current the GFCI does not expect, which trips it. – Thegs Sep 2 '20 at 7:52

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