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My fridge (2017 GE upper double doors 1500 W, 145 W icemaker) is now on part of a four-outlet circuit with a microwave. An electrician is going to run a new circuit to the fridge only. He said I can buy a breaker at home depot for cheaper than his company sells it. He didn't say what kind to get, just Square D homeline.

I'm trying to figure out if I should get

  • AFCI/GFCI combo breaker (and what are the different types?)
  • AFCI breaker and GFCI outlet
  • Just an AFCI breaker?

The fridge is between two counters and upper cabinets so the outlet is not easy to get to. I've read differing opinions and code citations online saying a fridge frequently trips GFCI outlets or doesn't, that combo breakers trip and it's impossible to know why, many people citing 2014 electrical code, etc. Very frustrating research.

The fridge located about 8 feet from our sink on opposite side so I think I only need GFCI if it protects the fridge motor. I'm willing to pay top dollar for quality outlets and/or breakers.

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  • I think a refrigerator can be on a standard breaker, and should be, i.e. not GFCI, not AFCI. False trips result in ruined food. – Jim Stewart Mar 2 at 22:46
  • I agree with Jim, where in the world do you live? It looks like 7 or 8 states are still on the 2014 code they would quote what in use. My state allows that dedicated circuit to be a standard breaker and that’s what I recommend. Compressor motors and fans are hard on gfci’s, a new fridg with a inverter control for the compressor may not run on a AFCI because of the wave shaping it can’t tell if it’s an arc so trip. You don’t want your food to spoil. So where are you and we can tell you the version (or look up NEC adoption map). – Ed Beal Mar 2 at 23:23
  • Yes, since refrigerators are all encased in grounded metal, you don't need any of the other advanced safety features, and you really don't want them if you can avoid it, since if they trip, your food spoils. But code may require you to use one, depending on where you are. See here for more info: diy.stackexchange.com/a/186896/91556 – Nate S. Mar 3 at 0:57
  • I live in Idaho so we're always behind the times on many things. Thank you @ThreePhaseEel for the edit and great answer. – Kirk Hings Mar 3 at 3:29
  • What type of panel do you have (name etc. and are the breakers 1" wide, 3/4" wide or 1/2" wide)? A pic of the panel would help too. Don't just get a HOMeline unless your panel is Square D and your breakers are 1" wide. It really matters, though some in the trade don't care. Those who don't care typically go for HOM, that's why I ask. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 3 at 19:36
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You don't need GFCI for a fridge receptacle in a residential kitchen

Refrigerators are, and have always been, effectively exempt from the GFCI requirements for dwelling units in the NEC, as those requirements only require receptacles serving kitchen countertops to be protected, and a dedicated refrigerator receptacle clearly doesn't serve countertop space.

AFCI is likely required though

However, your location is on the 2017 NEC, with no apparent local amendments, so you'll need to get an AFCI breaker for the new circuit, as basically all dwelling unit receptacles are required to be AFCI protected under the 2017 NEC.

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