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Outlet Wiring for Garage Freezers and Refrigerators


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

GFI Outlet Problems with Garage Freezers and Refrigerator and How to Fix Them: How to Wire a Garage Freezer or Refrigerator Outlet


GFI Outlet Problems with Garage Freezers and Refrigerator and How to Fix Them

Electrical Question: I have a garage outlet I want to use for a freezer.

  • The outlet is a middle outlet protected by GFI.
  • How can I wire this so that this outlet is not GFI protected, yet the downstream outlets will still be protected?

Thanks

This electrical wiring question came from: Jim, a Homeowner from Woodland Park, Colorado.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jim.

Guide to Wiring Garage Outlets for Freezers and Refrigerators

Preparation
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Hi Jim, I understand the problem because typically refrigerators and freezers can trip GFI outlets.

  • According to the Electrical Code
    • Refrigerators and freezers that are permanently located in the garage and are not movable are not required to be protected by GFI.
    • The outlet may be a single outlet or the outlet may not be readily accessible.

 How to Wire a Garage Freezer or Refrigerator Outlet

  • The upstream GFI outlet should be wired so that the circuit wring leading to the following outlets will not be protected by this first GFI.
  • The middle outlet for the freezer can then be installed as a regular single outlet.
  • The next outlet after the freezer outlet will need to be replaced with a new GFI outlet.
  • If additional outlets are fed from this outlet, then the wiring leading to the following outlets will need to be wired trough the GFI outlet using the LINE and LOAD designations.

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120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
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4 Responses to “Outlet Wiring for Garage Freezers and Refrigerators”
  1. Chris Cudmore says:

    As far as I can tell, NEC 2008 requires all garage outlets to be GFCI. Can you provide a citation for the fridge/freezer exemption? Thanks.

    re:http://www.ask-the-electrician.com/outlet-wiring-for-garage-freezers-and-refrigerators/

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Chris,
      NEC Article 210.8(A)(2) Exception #2 states that GFCI Protection is not required for receptacles within the dedicated space for appliances that are not easily moved, and this applies to single receptacles for a refrigerator or freezer.
      I hope this clarification helps you.
      Dave

      • Chris Cudmore says:

        It appears those exceptions were removed in 2008.

        • Dave Rongey says:

          Chris – do you have an updated NEC Article number or reference where the update is mentioned?
          The codes do change often, this will help us keep current as well, and I’ll check in the NEC for the update.
          Thanks,
          Dave


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