Nuisance GFCI tripping, or something worse?

gblentzSeptember 6, 2009

Every now and again, the GFCI receptacle on one of our kitchen's small-appliance branch circuits trips. This occurs when our refrigerator's ice-maker water valve solenoid energizes or de-energizes. I've always been somewhat puzzled by this, being that the refrigerator is downstream of the unprotected side of the receptacle. This has happened infrequently, probably several dozen times in the past ten years, since we've lived here. But I've always chalked it up to just a flaky GFCI receptacle nuisance-tripping.

Does anyone have a more dire assessment that I should be aware of?

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I never, I repeat, never, put a refrigerator on a GFCI.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 2:56PM
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Read it again.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:21AM
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OK, I've read it again. What is your take? Other option is to put refer on a dedicated circuit which we usually do.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 8:14AM
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GFCI's are electronic devices and they usually do a pretty good job of ignoring electrical noise. That doesn't mean that they are totally immune. Evidently, there is something about that solenoid valve that gets the GFI confused & causes a trip.

Since the refrigerator is not protected by the GFI, you're in no danger of losing its contents. If it is bothersome, try a new GFI, Underwriters Labs tightened up the performance specs a few years ago & I believe the newer ones are less prone to nuisance tripping.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 10:20AM
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Tex: Well, my 'take' is that the receptacle my fridge is on is NOT downstream of the protected side. Therefore, the fridge, though it is the cause, is completely unaffected by the effect of the trip. I'm well aware that one shouldn't put things like refrigerators, freezers, sump pumps, etc., on GFCI. You seem to be reading my post as if I have, and as a result am losing power to the fridge when it trips, which I am not. :-)

Tom: That's what I figured. I read some time ago that the newer-gen devices are more "robust" in their noise rejection. I've just been too lazy to change it out since the trips are relatively infrequent, and the biggest inconvenience is having to reach behind the microwave, push the reset button on the receptacle, and reset the time. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something, and endangering myself or my family as a result.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 11:09AM
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