Is it a good idea to use GFCI outlet for a refrigerator?

Thread Starter

Rahulk70

Joined Dec 16, 2016
522
Hi everyone,


Recently I have been upgrading the old 15A outlets in my house to Leviton 20A 125V GFCI outlets (The wire size is 12AWG). It is a much older style home. So, for some strange reason the ground wire is present only in the 220V outlets. So, I had to add some additional ground wires from here to some possible 110V outlets like for my refrigerator outlets etc. There are also some outlets with a blank next to it. I'm adding some Leviton T5832-2BW (w/ USB ports) as load outlets.

I have a few questions:

  1. Are GFCI okay to use with refrigerators? I'm a bit concerned if they tripped/malfunctioned the outlet might shut off since these are electronic based outlets. Is it mandatory as per code?
  2. Do GFCI outlets react same without ground wire? I read that they detect change in current in L & N.
  3. Is the USB output 5V (Type A & Type C) from these outlets safe & reliable like the ones from USB chargers? I know Leviton is a reliable brand but still I've never used one before.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,762
I would not use a GFI on a refrigerator circuit, just a dedicated outlet.
GFI outlets require a GND conductor.
In the US, a GFCI does not require a ground wire - it works because the gfci monitors the current difference between the L and N terminals (not the ground terminal).
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
4,884
We’ve been through this before. It is legal in the US code to install a GFCI on an existing circuit without a ground. It is the only way you are allowed the install a 3 prong socket on an ungrounded circuit. The GFCI outlet comes with a sticker saying there is no actual ground, which you must apply to the faceplate.

Bob
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,762
US, outdoors and in the garage a GFIC should be used. Refrigerator (freezers) in the garage should not have a GFIC. These things trip and the food spoils.
GFCIs are REQUIRED in ground level exterior buildings and garages - garage floors get wet when snow/ice melts off of cars. Use a GFCI in a garage.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
29,755
Are GFCI okay to use with refrigerators? I'm a bit concerned if they tripped/malfunctioned the outlet might shut off since these are electronic based outlets. Is it mandatory as per code?
An answer to my avatar co-worker --

I would use a GFCI outlet for the refrigerator only if the outlet is not grounded.
If it has a ground then the GFCI is not needed.
 
Last edited:

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
5,064
If your fridge has a earth-leakage fault then get a new fridge. It's an indication that it will soon fail, then you'll have spoiled food regardless of what sort of isolator you have on its circuit.
Residual Current Circuit Breakers (our term for Ground Fault Interruptors) have been mandatory for all sockets downstairs on in outbuildings for many years, and I have yet to have one tripped by a refrigerator, even on a 230V supply.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,175
I think we thrashed this out once before https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...outputting-voltage.184639/page-2#post-1704108
Refrigerators come with a two wire + GND wired for a standard grounded outlet, so no GFI is necessary.
The regulations here are that any outlet installed on the exterior of the building etc shall be GFI.
One of many reasons is that in some cases portable appliances come double insulated without GND conductor, if water comes in contact with the device it can cause electrical shock.
The GFI prevents this.
My point of the required earth for a GFI socket is for the test function to work.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
5,064
My point of the required earth for a GFI socket is for the test function to work.
The British ones have a pushbutton in series with resistor from the output live to the input neutral. Pressing the test button puts 30mA through just one side of the current balance transformer. There isn't even an earth terminal.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
419
USB chargers that are hooked up to line voltage 24/7 are going to be exposed to every voltage spike that comes along the power line, so how long will they last? And if they're ten times as expensive as a regular socket... I'd rather just install a double or triple outlet and have extra space for plug-in chargers.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/leviton-usb-wall-adapter-teardown/
Personally, I stick with name brand chargers, although that's not necessarily a guarantee of quality.
https://www.righto.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html
 
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