fridge: Best when on a dedicated circuit (?)

davidro1November 19, 2010

is there a big surge when a fridge turns on?

Is this why I seem to have learned that fridges are best handled by giving them a dedicated circuit?

A fridge doesn't draw many amperes, so this is the only rational reason I can think of.

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A dedicated circuit for the refrig is exempt from GFCI regulations in the kitchen. All other kitchen outlets must be GFCI protected.

Not nice coming back from a week up north and find the circuit is tripped by the motor or compressor in the frig.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Only the kitchen receptacles that are installed to serve the countertop surfaces are required to be GFCI protected. I often feed the refrigerator first without GFCI and then from the same small appliance circuit feed countertop receptacles that are GFCI protected. The small appliance circuits can also serve receptacles (other than countertop) in the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit. I usually pick up some of the other non GFCI receptacles with the other small appliance circuit before going to the remaining countertop GFCI receptacles. Having the refrigerator on the circuit with other receptacles should not present any problem.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 1:19PM
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The only problem, if indeed one considers it a problem, is a light fixture or tv on the same circuit will burp momentarily when the fridge comes on. You might see momentary static noise on a tv when the unit goes into defrost. As the other guys mentioned, you don't want a GFCI on that circuit for the reasons stated.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:01AM
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While allowed on the two small appliance branch circuits, deeding on what other loads you commonly use it might be better on its own circuit.

A toaster or other large load just about maxes out a circuit.
Add a microwave or convection oven, even a large stand mixer and you can overload.

Like every induction, the refrigerator compressor pulls a significant start up surge.

If the magnetron in the microwave cycles on at the same moment the compressor starts 20 amps may not be enough (even with the 'slow-blow' of an inverse time circuit breaker).

If the refrigerator is used frequently every day the odds of missing the power being off are pretty small (unlike the freezer in the basement on its own circuit).

Even a coffee maker is a significant load when it is brewing.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:54PM
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Not sure what this has to do with GFCIs.

In my house the refrigerator is on its own circuit simply because I don't want a fault/overload from anything else causing it to lose power... and ruining a bunch of food in the frig'!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:33PM
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There is no NEC requirement for a refrigerator to be GFCI protected.
I have not seen a refrigerator (or freezer) in many years that was not on 3-wire cord and plug.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 7:24PM
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