My Fridge trips my GFCI circuit breakers. I'm setting it up on its own circuit. Does it have to be the only thing on the circuit and breaker or can I run the circuit to other plugs like my water chiller (which has not yet set off the GFCI...). Or can it be the first run in a circuit with past outlets GFIC protected at the outlet? Since my walls aren't covered yet, I'm able to run the extra circuit. I doubt most folks are in this position with a fridge that seems to daily trip the GFCI breaker

  • 1
    The whole idea of having the fridge on a separate circuit is so other appliances don't trip the fridge. That said, a fridge is a very small load (it's the largest appliance in your home, but that does not correlate to energy use) typically drawing 120 watts (1 amp) when running. Jun 25, 2021 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


In my jurisdiction I can use a standard breaker then put a GFCI receptacle for the kitchen counters.

If you have both a fridge and a chiller on the circuit that will max out most circuits so I would run a separate circuit for the chiller and fridge to be on that 20 amp branch circuit and the other receptacles on its own circuit.

Unfortunately I see a lot of fridges and clothes washers that trip the modern breakers.

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    Just feel like mentioning explicitly: avoid the scenario where your GFCI receptacle is behind the fridge...
    – GManNickG
    Jun 26, 2021 at 6:54
  • @gmannickg as long as the receptacle is accessible or you can reach it to reset without moving it is fine behind the fridge. Some jurisdictions don’t require Refridgeration equipment to have GFCI protection even in an out building, I agree with that code because food poisoning is a much higher threat than a shock.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 29, 2021 at 16:03
  • my code dosn't require the fridge to be on a gfci, but i think that changes under 2020 NEC (well AFCI, not really the same problem)
    – mark f
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:00

I think your question is based on a little misunderstanding of what NEC requirements are. The relevant NEC paragraphs say:

210.8(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (A)⁠(11) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

(6) Kitchens — where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces

(7) Sinks — where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink

There is no requirement for the fridge to be on a dedicated circuit unless the instructions that come with the fridge say so. (NEC 110.3(B))

The Small Appliance Section 210.52 requires kitchen outlets to be 20A, but there is an exception that allows 15A dedicated circuits to feed an appliance like a fridge, you could not extend that to your water cooler since it would be no longer dedicated. That section doesn't effect GFCI requirements.

There is no special requirement or exception regarding for GFCI for a fridge. If the behind the fridge it can be considered to not be serving countertop surfaces, if within 6' of the sink protection it is required.

It also doesn't say how to provide the protection. You can use breakers, load terminals from the first receptacle on the circuits, or feed all the j-boxes unprotected and protect each outlet with individual receptacles.

Since 2014 the NEC has required the GFCI reset to be "readily accessible", which to "remove obstacle" doesn't satisfy the NEC definition, so to protect a dedicated receptacle behind a fridge without using a GFCI breaker you would need to place a dead face GFCI adjacent to the fridge. You could extend that fridge circuit from load or line side of the dead face to any receptacle in the kitchen, pantry or dining type area. The requirement for GFCI protection for those receptacles would need to be evaluated individually.

  • Appliance as in built in can be 15 or 20 amp and not part of the small appliance circuits. Not true on the dead face comment. If it can be reached quickly without moving. NEC 300.4.C , the load terminals of a GFCI type receptacle would work but not just any load terminals. Or GFCI receptacles at each point.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 29, 2021 at 15:57

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