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Does A Refrigerator Need A GFCI? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 01:31 pm

Having appliances and not knowing the right connections to make for their proper functioning can be frustrating.

Refrigerators need the right amount of electric energy to function properly, but if you are keen on the safety and durability of your devices, you may have wondered and probably asked, does a refrigerator need a GFCI?

A refrigerator does not need a GFCI. Refrigerators can be connected to any circuit that can carry the manufacturers’ designated voltage specified for the refrigerator. However, you can also connect refrigerators to GFCI, especially in big companies, where refrigerators with very high voltage capacities are used, whereas a refrigerator does not need GFCI before it can function.

Can You Plug A Refrigerator Into A Regular Outlet?

Refrigerators can be connected to regular outlets, and this outlet should be with specified voltage capacity enough to carry a refrigerator.

But it is good to always have special circuits for connecting refrigerators, so the refrigerator has enough power to function properly, because if connected to a regular outlet, the power will be shared, sometimes causing power shortages to the refrigerator.

Most refrigerators have three prongs, and they can be connected to regular outlets with fitting points; the prongs of the refrigerator needs to be plugged completely into the outlet to prevent safety hazards, refrigerators often use volt ranges within 110-to 120 volts, and most regular outlets have voltages above this hence, you can use them.

When connecting refrigerators to regular outlets, you should make sure no other electrical appliance is connected to the same outlet as the refrigerator, especially if the other appliance requires more voltage capacity to function;

this will cause a power drag between the two items and the one with more power drawing capacity wins, this will affect the function of the refrigerator.

Regular outlets are found anywhere around the house and have voltages of about 120 volts to allow current to flow to a refrigerator without causing a breakdown in the current flow.

One thing to consider when connecting refrigerators to regular outlets is the number of inserts available and the outlet for the refrigerator to be connected to.

Does A Refrigerator Need To Be On An Arc Fault Breaker?

Refrigerators need to be connected to an arc fault breaker. This connection should be made for protection.

Arc fault breakers help protect refrigerators from sparks and burning when there’s electricity transmission between faulty wires.

When refrigerators are connected to arc fault breakers, disrupted electricity transmission is avoided, aiding proper functioning.

National Electrical Code Revision (NEC) in 2014 and 2017 has advised using arc fault breakers for appliances with 15 to 20 amp.

Circuits should have arc fault breakers that sense faulty electricity transmission between wires, which often resolve to sparks, causing damage to the refrigerator and the home.

Arc fault breakers are known to shut down current flow, preventing fire outbreaks.

The reason is that they are not like conventional circuit breakers that only work to avoid power shortage and overload on a circuit without protecting against conditions that cause arcing which are erratic, leading to reduced current.

The arch fault breaker, however, is built up with an arc fault interrupter. Arc fault interrupters function in distinguishing between harmless and harmful arcs.

They also protect against fires caused by aching faults in the home electrical wiring; the arc fault breakers monitor current, discriminating against normal and arcing conditions.

When arcing conditions are observed, ACFIs open internal contacts, de-energizing the circuit and reducing the potential of fire outbreaks.

One of the disadvantages of using AFC breakers is that they are very sensitive to radio waves.

Thus they may turn off when needed to power the refrigerator, therefore causing a total shutdown in the electricity flow to the refrigerator.

If this continues for a long time, items stored in the refrigerator may get damaged.

Does A Refrigerator Need A Dedicated Circuit?

Refrigerators need a dedicated circuit, refrigerators require consistent power supply without any form of shortages, allowing a refrigerator to share a source of the power supply may cause power shortage as there will be a drag by both appliances for the electric power supplied.

The other connected appliance may require more energy, dragging all the power supplied to itself without the refrigerator having much.

When there is a drag in the power supply, there is a power shortage, which may cause the refrigerator to not work properly.

Hence items refrigerated get spoiled, leading to waste. In most cases, the circuit used may get damaged because electricity may constantly be interrupted, leading to damage.

These reasons show why a dedicated circuit is needed for refrigerators.

When using a dedicated circuit for a refrigerator, the circuit should be one with about 15 to 20 amp, which is about 120 volts; this will help keep the refrigerator spiked up in functioning.

A circuit with such a power supply will help resolve the issue of an electrical overload even when extra items are connected to the circuit.

One advantage of using a dedicated circuit for a refrigerator is that it helps control the amount of current drawn by the refrigerator that may be more than required or the amount drawn which may cause damage.

The reason is that dedicated circuits have their circuit breaker; without dedicated circuits, houses will be prone to more fire outbreaks.

How Do I Stop My Fridge From Tripping The GFCI?

Tripping the GFCI is naturally a protective function; however, a frequent occurrence could indicate anomalies in the GFCI or Refrigerator itself.

You can stop this frequent tripping through various ways, including replacing the GFCI breaker or installing snubbers.

Having your refrigerator tripping on and off is frustrating, especially when you need something to cool down fast.

You can do a few things to fix this and stop the refrigerator from tripping off often. These things include:

  • Installation of snubbers: snubbers can be installed between the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and the refrigerator to act as a deceiver to the refrigerator, thereby reducing the effects of interference that may occur tripping occurs.

    Examples of snubbers are; resistor-capacitor damping network and the resistor-capacitor diode. When choosing a snubber, choose one that fits properly for the function you need.
  • When a GFCI breaker gets damaged, replace it with a GFCI breaker in the box if you want the refrigerator still connected to the GFCI.
  • Another way is by removing the GFCI outlet and connecting the refrigerator directly to a standard outlet, and this will prevent tripping and the possible effects that come afterward. When using a standard outlet, the amp of the circuit should match the required voltage of the refrigerator.

A refrigerator trips off or keeps tripping when connected to GFCI because it is an inductive load. Inductive loads, when turned off, transmit electromagnetic waves.

The waves cause interference between the power supply, usually leading to a shortage in the power supply hence tripping GFCI devices.


Refrigerators do not need GFCI to function because they work on any outlet with the refrigerator’s required voltage.

GFCI may occasionally trip off when refrigerators are connected because refrigerators serve as inductive load, interrupting the refrigerator’s electricity flow.

Various tips on how to keep the refrigerator working when connected to GFCI have been discussed in this article.


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