My new Samsung fridge is currently on one of my kitchen's two 20A circuits, which I'm trying to bring up to code prior to inspection. This previously caused problems with GFCI on that circuit (see Avoiding GFCI for my fridge), which I've solved by making each individual countertop outlet use its own GFCI (without using the "load" terminals) and using a regular non-GFCI outlet for the fridge.

Now I'm looking at introducing AFCI at the breaker to make the kitchen circuits code compliant, and I noticed the AFCI breaker immediately trips whenever I plug in the fridge. I tried using two separate AFCI breakers and they both immediately trip when the fridge is plugged in. I've also replaced the 15A fridge receptacle to no avail. The same circuit doesn't trip when the fridge is not plugged into the receptacle.

I was considering running a new dedicated, non-AFCI circuit for the fridge, but then I saw this other question (What rooms or loads require AFCI protection?) which implies that AFCI breakers are now required on all 120V circuits, including for dedicated devices.

What options do I have? My fridge doesn't seem to like AFCIs or GFCIs.

Update: I'm in Washington state (2020 NEC), directly under state (not city) jurisdiction. The circuits mentioned above were rerouted during a recent remodel as we had to move some walls, so I believe current code is in effect.

Update 2 (5/5/2023): looks like the fridge is perfectly fine, and I just didn't know how to properly install AFCI breakers :)

Context: Square D Homeline AFCI breakers trip for all appliances

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    to make the kitchen circuits code compliant With certain exceptions, "code compliant" depends on date of original installation. What state are you in, what year was the house built, and if the kitchen circuits are substantially not the original (e.g., full kitchen renovation or some of the circuits were added after original construction), what year applies to the circuit(s)? In particular, until relatively recently, even after AFCI requirements began, most circuits only needed AFCI or GFCI but not both (for practical reasons). Apr 19 at 22:57
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    Are these new circuits that were just put in place? If no, were these circuits in code compliance when put in? If these circuits were code compliant before, they still are compliant, and you do not need to bring them up to today's code. You can if you want, but it is your choice and not something that has to be done. About the only circuit that is recommended to be upgraded are old dryer/stove circuits that used NEMA 10-30 plugs(two hots and neutral).
    – crip659
    Apr 19 at 22:57
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    Even a full kitchen remodel may not trigger an electrical update. If you can move all the existing outlets to the new remodel without extending wires, without new boxes, etc, your AHJ might not require an electrical permit or inspection.
    – KMJ
    Apr 19 at 23:00
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    @crip659 I would argue (as my electrician did when he put GFCI in my bathrooms years ago, even though the circuits were not new or changed in any other way) that GFCI for kitchens and bathrooms is such an obvious safety upgrade that it is worth doing for anyone, any time. But AFCI, and GFCI in non-wet areas, is an entirely different story. Apr 19 at 23:08
  • This was part of a large kitchen remodel that moved walls and rerouted circuits / outlets, so I believe new code should apply.
    – peter
    Apr 20 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


The problem is the fridge, not the AFCI or GFCI.

I expect from a long string of Samsung appliance questions here (and cheap used broken ones on craigslist that were obviously not worth repairing) that you'll get no joy from this, but you could certainly try reporting it as a defect in the new fridge requiring a warranty repair or replacement.

Given current codes, the fridge should work on AFCI or GFCI and if it does not, it's defective.

My LG fridge works on a GFCI without a hitch, for instance; been fine for over two years that way. I don't have an AFCI as yet, (since I use "Chicago-style" wiring I'm not very urgently concerned about adding it) but I expect it to be fine with that, too.

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    The owners manual is a bit too well hidden and requires agreeing to a license agreement to download once you find it, but the only possible out they'd have is if they weaseled their defective product by instructing that it be connected to a non-GFCI, non-AFCI outlet and still managed to pass NRTL testing. In which case you could provide such an outlet (simplex) to "comply with manufacturer instructions." Which is Code...
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 20 at 1:52
  • I've read through it and it doesn't seem to mention GFCI or AFCI anywhere (the only conditions for outlet are that it is grounded), so it doesn't seem that you could use that as a loophole, though you might be able to bring it up with Samsung for a replacement.
    – B-K
    Apr 20 at 11:21
  • In that case, yes, "it won't work on outlets compliant with current applicable code" is grounds for repair or replacement or full refund so you can buy something that actually works.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 20 at 11:51
  • @Ecnerwal: Fun fact. If you use electrical risk management, you get the result of fridge should be on AFCI. If you use total risk management, you get the contrary result because in-home nursing can't be bothered to ensure the fridge remains running will and serve spoiled food; and the spoiled food risk exceeds the house fire risk from a single dedicated circuit.
    – Joshua
    Apr 20 at 14:16
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    @peter You could reasonably go ahead and post an answer here to that effect, and accept it. I still won't be buying any Samsung appliance based on what I've seen and heard, but in this case I was wrong about that.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 5 at 21:08

The problem was the breaker

Looks like the fridge was fine, and I just didn't read the instructions for installing an AFCI breaker properly (see Square D Homeline AFCI breakers trip for all appliances). Now that I've wired the breaker correctly, the fridge no longer trips it up.

I had initially assumed the fridge was at fault since the circuit was fine with no appliances connected, but when I plugged in the fridge it immediately tripped. After some further investigation, I realized any other appliance drawing a nontrivial amount of current also tripped it up.

Notes on interactions with Samsung

A few days before I realized the problem with the AFCI breaker, I had reached out to Samsung who sent technicians over to investigate. The technicians themselves told me they see problems with Samsung fridges + AFCI breakers all the time, but Samsung deflected any responsibility, claiming that "since the fridge works on a regular breaker, the problem is with the customer's home wiring".

Samsung was right in this particular case, but for the wrong reasons :) since they didn't do any troubleshooting and assumed all AFCI issues are out-of-scope. Given the many other reports of Samsung fridges tripping AFCIs, it would have been an uphill battle fighting with them for a repair or replacement.

Note that the fridge still has issues with GFCI, but that's a different story and much easier to get around (see Avoiding GFCI for my fridge).

  • " I realized any other appliance drawing a nontrivial amount of current also tripped it up." - so you forgot to connect the neutral to the special port on the breaker and instead just put it on the neutral bar? May 6 at 1:33
  • @whatsisname correct, which made it trip any time something pulled current
    – peter
    May 6 at 1:51

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