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I know this is a common problem and there are many posts on this, but I can’t get a resolution. Please help.

  • fridge in garage plugged into gfci. Trips occasionally (no pattern - can be daily, weekly or even months in between). Happening more lately (summer time).
  • on its own 20a, dedicated, new and functioning gfci. Seems to happen less when on a shared 15a gfci (which screws up timers and equipment on the shared outlet).
  • gfci is new and functioning. Happens no matter where in garage plug in.
  • I do NOT want to bypass code and plug into non-gfci (don’t even have any in garage). There is an issue I would like to address, rather than bypass.
  • Used a snubber - didn’t help.
  • 10 yr old fridge.
  • Cleaned coils.
  • Manual does not indicate to use non-gfci.
  • Ice maker not in use.
  • Checked wiring - didn’t seem to be any shorts, damage, fray or loose connections.
  • Outlet and plug elevated and away from moisture.
  • Nothing coming up on error codes.
  • I do not know how to troubleshoot a vaulter defrost circuit….
  • Not sure if there is ‘excessive’ moisture. Some water below the coils in the pan.
  • fridge was pretty boxed in on sides and pushed back to the wall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I think I troubleshot most major culprits with this problem.

Thanks Ken

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  • What is the humidity of the air like? Fridges like some ventilation around them, so pulling it away from the wall a bit and adding an inch or two, to the sides might help, if possible. 10 year old should be new enough to like GFCIs, I think the before 2008 ones did not like GFCIs.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 15:51
  • Does the refrigerator have any MOVs or surge suppression in its schematic? I would expect GFCI trips to relate to the motor shutting off and the large inductive spike which follows, forcing its way through insulation to ground, and leaking some regular current with it. But some MOVs across hot and neutral may suppress this. Of course MOVs get fatigued eventually, especially if they are absorbing external surges. GFCI trips could also happen from a faulty defrost, but that would be a genuine ground fault, then. See if the schematic lets you disconnect defrost. Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 19:15
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    The auto defrosting may have a short.
    – Kris
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 20:06
  • In many locales, refrigerators are not required to be on a GFCI protected circuit for food safety reasons. You mention it trips regularly on its own dedicated circuit and less frequently on the shared circuit. Now, imagine something else trips that shared circuit and you don't realize it - all the food spoils.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 1:00
  • Thanks for all the advice everyone. Very much appreciated. One of my problems is the inconsistent schedule for tripping - which makes it hard to troubleshoot. - I pulled the fridge out and unblocked the sides to give it some breathing room and cleaned the the coils. Thought it worked but it Tripped again after a few days. Humidity in garage is about 75%. Next step is to see if I can disconnect the auto defrost. I couldn’t find an indication of a MOV. No possibility of moving fridge out of garage to interior space. Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 14:41

3 Answers 3

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In my experience even some newer fridges don't like GFCIs. My 2022 Samsung fridge regularly tripped up GFCIs despite not explicitly saying that in the manual, and I had to put it on a non-GFCI outlet.

If the outlet is completely covered by the fridge (so not generally usable for other stuff), consider replacing it with a non-GFCI single-outlet receptacle and labeling it as "no GFCI". If nobody is regularly plugging things in/out, it reduces the likelihood of electrocution anyway.

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See also Avoiding GFCI for my fridge for context on fridge GFCI issues, and https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/248429/128465 for a similar suggestion to a similar issue.

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A garage is a relatively wet environment. Your fridge may simply not be designed to work there. Do you have anywhere actually indoors you could try it and see if it blows a GFCI there?

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Perhaps its fan/vent for air is clogged of blocked with lint or something? It might be heating up and causing heat to flow back into the wire/ outlet?

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