I have a deep freezer in our basement laundry room and the only available space is next to a GCFI outlet that was already in place when we moved in. To avoid tripping the outlet constantly, I was going to replace it and move it further down the circuit, but I'm unsure of the best place to do so.

There are currently 3 outlets as follows:

  1. Unused GFCI (where freezer is)
  2. Regular outlet powering washing machine/dryer
  3. Regular outlet powering water softener

The room is using a 20-amps breaker. All of the outlets looks like 15-amps from the outside.

My plan is to replace the GFCI with a regular outlet and to replace one of the other outlets with the GCFI. From what I understand, GFCIs only protects itself and downstream outlets.

Should I then replace the the next outlet downstream of the current GFCI? (If so, how do I find out which once it is?)

Does it matter which outlet has the GFCI? Or should I replace all the outlets (sans freezer outlet) with GFCIs?

Thanks for your time.

  • A dryer and a freezer on the same circuit might not be good, too much power if both working/on together, even the washer might be iffy. Check if all outlets are on the same circuit by turning off the breaker. If an older house the GFCI might be a new circuit, but the other two are older and not fall under GFCI regulation/code(grandfather).
    – crip659
    Aug 28 at 22:18
  • Checked and all of the outlets are on the same circuit. The house was built in '66.
    – joewindetc
    Aug 29 at 14:19
  • 66 circuits are probably 15 amps, 14 gauge wires. I would really think of adding a new circuit for the freezer. The freezer plus what is already on that circuit might be too much to be reliable. Check the gauge of the wires. Since 66 it is possible someone had problems with a tripping breaker/fuses burning out and just increase the size of the breaker to unsafe level.
    – crip659
    Aug 29 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


Current code (though varies somewhat by location) actually requires GFCI for pretty much everything in a basement or laundry room. That being said, I understand the concern about GFCI on refrigerators/freezers - the loss from unnoticed spoilage is a far greater risk than a ground fault on a freezer, provided you don't have a major flood in your basement.

The receptacles are often 15A on a 20A circuit - that is perfectly normal and means basically nothing. As far as which receptacle to move/rewire/etc. if you choose to do so, it is just guesswork without seeing all the wiring in your laundry room.

But as far as "avoid tripping constantly", I am unclear about your situation. Do you:

1 - Have a deep freezer connected to a GFCI and have already had problems with the GFCI tripping frequently.

2 - Are now installing a deep freezer and are concerned about GFCI tripping.

If it is # 1 and the freezer is not really old then this is a reasonable conversation to have.

If it is # 2 then I highly recommend simply hooking it up, particularly if the freezer is relatively new, and seeing what happens. Put in a freezer thermometer with an alarm, and unless you (a) have frequent GFCI trips (even once a week is a lot) or (b) go away for multiple days at a time so that you might not know if there is a problem, I would not worry based on "people say you shouldn't put a freezer on a GFCI". It is a problem in some cases but not as bad as you might think.

  • 1
    My fridge is coming up on 3 years powered only from a GFCI protected circuit. Zero trips.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 28 at 22:43
  • 1
    No water dispenser (to break and want expensive filters), no icemaker (to break and want expensive filters and take up freezer space and run a heater in my freezer regularly to waste more power), and typically uses less than 1 kWh/day. A water jug and an ice cube tray work just as well now as they did in 1950. Actually better, for the ice cube trays - the old all-aluminum ones were a pain to release.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 29 at 0:25
  • 1
    I have a freezer on a circuit that used to infrequently trip (been a couple years now since it did), and put a power failure alarms in the other port on the outlet (amazon.com/Reliance-Controls-THP207-Failure-Flashlight/dp/…) You can also get WiFi thermometers, so if the power goes out and you're on vacation, you can alert someone to go over to take a look.
    – Huesmann
    Aug 29 at 12:57
  • I had originally plugged the freezer in to GFCI but it was tripping every 2-3 days (luckily nothing was in there as of yet). Yesterday actually the GFCI tripped with nothing plugged into it, just by me switching on the lights in the room. Could this just have been a GFCI going faulty to begin with?
    – joewindetc
    Aug 29 at 14:23
  • It may indeed be a faulty GFCI. How old is it? If it is a GFCI/receptacle more than a year old, I would replace it and then see if that fixes the problem. Aug 29 at 14:28

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