0

I don't know the proper terms so please bear with me. But here's the scenario.

We have a second refrigerator in our garage. It plugs into a standard looking outlet. But it is wired from another outlet on the other side of the room that is a GFCI. So when that GFCI gets tripped (rarely happens) it cuts power to the fridge.

We had some work done by professional licensed electricians who had to turn off the main power to the circuit panel. This tripped our GFCI's and we had to reset them.

But before I assumed that this was the case I thought something more insidious happened. Not to get into a long story but we are having nightmare after nightmare scenarios with wires failing in the walls, etc. in our new home we recently moved to. That's why they were here, to address an entire second floor where we lost all power. We called them back thinking what they might have done caused the issue but on their way back I remembered to try hitting the GFCI in the garage and the power went back on to the fridge. The licensed electrician has seen me do some work around the house and trusts that I have an idea of what I can do.

When I told him that it was the GFCI he said that the fridge should not be connected in anyway to a GFCI because if we, for example, went on a long vacation and somehow the GFCI tripped we could come home to a very horrible rotting situation.

He told me to wire the GFCI in a "line to line" manner. In other words, I'm supposed to avoid carrying the romex to the fridge by using the "load" connections on the back of the GFCI outlet. At first I couldn't picture what he was saying because I didn't have an outlet in front me. But now that I bought a new one I can see that I can insert one set of Romex wires to the "line" on top and then insert another pair of wires on top just a quarter of an inch below or above the top connections.

So in other words, I leave the yellow tape over the connections that say "load" and just do what I explained above? I have never done this before so I thought I would ask for clarification. Also, I can't seem to find any info on this while doing internet searches.

I trust our electricians. They have been here at least three times fixing really horrible scenarios that are out of my league. And apparently, he trusts me to wire this GFCI but did I understand him correctly? I just wire the two wires and do a "line" to "line" connection and avoid the "load" connection?

2
  • 1
    Use caution with internet advice as it is commonly wrong. I agree that it is not a good idea to have a fridge on a GFCI but in a garage unless your state has an exception it is a code violation to remove the GFCI protection. We go to add them if not required as they cost more.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 14 at 0:27
  • 1
    With the down votes and being the only licensed electrician I can tell you violating code because someone told you will do as much good in court as telling a police officer a friend that is a officer said that they wont pull you over for 8 over the posted limit.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 22 at 2:18
4

Yes! That's exactly what you do.

he said that the fridge should not be connected in anyway to a GFCI because if we, for example, went on a long vacation and somehow the GFCI tripped we could come home to a very horrible rotting situation.

Yes, or even worse, the GFCI trips, the temperature rises, bacteria run amok... and then someone resets the GFCI for some other reason and it never occurs to them that the fridge lost power. So they do not warn the chef. The chef finds cold food as expected. No warning of failure.

They do make refrigerator alarms for that purpose. They monitor the fridge for loss of cold.

I can see that I can insert one set of Romex wires to the "line" on top and then insert another pair of wires on top just a quarter of an inch below or above the top connections.

Yes, the 2 little slots or holes that are directly under each screw.

I trust our electricians. They have been here at least three times fixing really horrible scenarios that are out of my league.

I rely on your claim there. Your local people know your local Codes, amendments, AHJ practices and whether the circuit is grandfathered based on your facts.

I will say that GFCI protection is generally required in garages. Local authorities (or local amendments) very commonly grant exceptions for refrigerators and freezers, but they want to see a receptacle set up that can only be used by the fridge, and is labeled as such. E.G.

enter image description here

3
  • Guess you don’t follow the national electric code! NEC 120.8.A.2 “garages “ require GFCI protection for all receptacles. So it would be a code violation even ceiling mounted receptacles are required to be GFCI protected.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 14 at 0:19
  • @EdBeal It is not for me to second-guess a REAL electrician who actually has boots on ground in the physical site, and is intimately familiar with local adopted NEC version, local amendments, AHJ practices and grandfathering. If THAT electrician says it's A-OK, I must rely on that. How do you hold yourself above that person? Aug 14 at 0:26
  • @ Harper. Thanks for your very detailed answer. We had them install a separate outlet in the garage to power an in-wall air conditioner we also just recently installed which is now on it's own individual circuit at the electric panel. Before we did this we had it plugged into the same outlet that the fridge was powered from and the GFCI kept tripping when it got really hot out. We strive to keep the garage at 90 degrees because higher ambient temperatures can significantly shorten the life of a fridge. It can reach as high as 122 in our area in the summer.
    – Adrien
    Aug 14 at 1:42
-1

He may have had you wire it line -line because it would be something he could loose his license over if he did it.

Line to line is bypassing the GFCI for all the receptacles protected by this GFCI.

Garage receptacles require GFCI protection if under the NEC current code.

Some states have exemptions for dedicated circuits like one that only goes to the fridge or freezer.

Wiring the GFCI line to line in your case has the problem that the other receptacles on this circuit are not protected (if there is only the receptacle to the fridge it may be ok depending on jurisdiction)

It sounds like you are using back stabs, 15 amp circuit push in connectors. I don’t like these and especially not on a Refridgeration circuit.

If back and side that uses a screw to secure the wires that would be better. Might try a line to line then a fridge if this was the only receptacle or if the others could be protected by another GFCI wired line load to protect the remaining receptacles.

7
  • I don't think it's something he's telling me to do because if he did it he would lose his license. We had him also do some rewiring for outdoor outlets near our pool equipment and outdoor kitchen area. Before he came along we had a GFCI outlet that I was using to plug an irrigation timer into. The GFCI was tripping now and then which resulted in me not knowing that the trees I planted this past winter weren't getting any water. Well, $500 of a waste later all of my trees are dead. He wired a separate outlet that is no longer GFCI for the irrigation so I won't ever have this problem again.
    – Adrien
    Aug 14 at 1:45
  • 1
    I can't believe you got 2 DVs on this! I thought it was code legal to replace GFCI breakers/outlets with ones that didn't have GFCI protection in situations where you got nuisance trips, esp. when on fridges and freezers. Aug 14 at 15:06
  • 1
    Adrien, All receptacles outside require GFCI protection there are NO exceptions in a wet area. pools haves required GFCI protection prior to my apprenticeship in the 70’s and yes if some e is injured because you removed a GFCI even if not required when built but installed later, replacement receptacles are required by code to meet code. I can not remove or bypass a GFCI because of legal lability, it sounds like you now have multiple code violations that could end in injury or death and believe me there are lawyers that will clean you out even from in-laws injuries I have seen it in the past.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 14 at 16:24
  • 1
    @george Anderson in our jurisdictions it is legal in some inside cases but the Pacific Northwest has multiple exceptions to the NEC even though we are on the 2020 code version. There are many states there are no exceptions and the outside water timer not being protected is similar to a case I know of where a family took another family member to court and the home owner lost a sizable judgement I remember him being more upset because the insurance company lawyer stated it was a good thing the person died if disabled the judgment would have been 10x
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 14 at 16:40
  • 1
    He wired a separate outlet that is no longer GFCI for the irrigation so I won't ever have this problem again. That is DANGEROUS. It is not only outside, so required by code to have GFCI, but it is a WATER-related receptacle. Water and electricity don't mix - at least not safely. The very fact that it used to trip is an indication that there was a danger that it was protecting you from - possibly saving your life. Aug 22 at 2:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.