7 Reasons Your Whirlpool Refrigerator Keeps Tripping GFCI!

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a critical part of every electrical appliance in the home.

A GFCI puts your safety first in case there is an unusual surge of electrical energy going through your appliances.

Knowing this, as a safety-conscious person, you would be alarmed when your Whirlpool refrigerator’s GFCI keeps tripping. 

A Whirlpool refrigerator keeps tripping GFCI for several reasons. These include a faulty fan, a defective compressor, or issues with the defrost heater. Also, an overloaded circuit, earth leaks, bad wiring, and a short circuit could cause the GFCI to trip. 

Why Does My Whirlpool Fridge Keep Tripping the GFCI Breaker?  

Whirlpool Refrigerator Keeps Tripping GFCI

Your Whirlpool fridge keeps tripping the GFCI breaker because the fridge is defrosting or has a short circuit.

It is common to experience a tripping GFCI breaker with Whirlpool fridges, and there are several reasons for it. First, most cases are known to happen while the fridge thaws out. 

It is particularly alarming when your GFCI breaker keeps tripping because the chances of getting electrocuted are more probable.

Below are the reasons why your whirlpool fridge keeps tripping the GFCI breaker; 

#1. Accumulation of Water

An accumulation of moisture is one of the common causes of GFCI tripping in a Whirlpool fridge.

When a leakage affects the wires, the GFCI breaker gets tripped. This trip is because a GFCI is to turn off to alert you of the danger of water accumulation around any exposed wires.

As long as the hot and neutral wires of the GFCI circuit breaker are correct, contact with water will make it trip. 

#2. Defrosting the Fridge

Most Whirlpool fridge owners who complain about a GFCI trip experience it while defrosting their fridge.

While you defrost your fridge, the GFCI circuit breaker of your whirlpool fridge could detect electrical leaks and begin to trip.

 When your defrost heater is defective, it would randomly defrost the ice in your fridge and cause water accumulation. This water accumulation will then cause your GFCI to trip. 

#3. The Fan is Faulty

Whirlpool fridges that cool by fans can experience GFCI tripping when the fan is faulty. For example, the fan could develop a fault when it has dirt or debris and stops working correctly. 

And when the fridge’s cooling system (the fan) is defective, the GFCI could begin to trip. Also, if the electrical wiring of your fan develops a leak, it could cause the GFCI to trip. 

#4. A Defective Compressor

Plugging your whirlpool fridge’s compressor in certain situations will cause your GFCI to trip, and unplugging it will solve the problem.

However, the GFCI tripping while the compressor is in line is unsettling because, without the compressor, your fridge will stop cooling. 

When this happens, you would need to replace the compressor for the GFCI to be stable. 

#5. A Short Circuit 

A short circuit could happen in any electrical wiring in the fridge, but once it is triggered, the breaker of your Whirlpool fridge will trip.

A short circuit occurs when two wires in the fridge touch and cause a spark in the electrical current.

 In turn, it causes the breaker to trip. The short circuit could be in the wiring of the wall, breaker box, or electrical outlet. 

#6. An Electrical Overload

The GFCI breaker of your whirlpool fridge needs a certain amount of electricity to function without interruptions.

So when there is an electrical overload, the breaker will begin to trip. An overload typically happens when too many appliances are in line with the same circuit.

This overload prevents the circuit from distributing the amount of power needed by the fridge, resulting in the breaker’s tripping. 

#7. An Earth Leak 

An earth leak is dangerous when electricity deviates from its original route to the ground. For example, this rerouting of electrical energy causes the breaker in a whirlpool fridge to trip.

An earth leak allowed electricity to touch the ground rather than pass through the fridge increasing the risk of electrical shocks.

The GFCI trips in response to an earth leak, and this cuts off power to prevent electric shocks. 

How Do I Stop My Whirlpool Refrigerator from Tripping the GFCI?

Since there are several reasons your Whirlpool refrigerator can trip the GFCI, you must first identify the problem before using these methods to fix it.

You can stop your whirlpool refrigerator from tripping GFCI by resetting the GFCI, installing a number, offloading the circuit, or fixing the defrost heater. 

Below are the ways you can stop your whirlpool refrigerator from tripping the GFCI

#1. Resetting the GFCI 

One of the first things you should do when your GFCI begins to trip is to get it tested by a professional.

This test will confirm if nuisance trips caused it or if the GFCI of your whirlpool fridge needs replacement. Then, use your owner’s manual to reset the GFCI but if it keeps tripping, get it replaced. 

#2. Offload the Circuit

You can quickly solve a GFCI trip caused by an overloaded circuit. All you need to do is plug your whirlpool refrigerator into a different power outlet so that it can get the required energy to function.

If the GFCI continues to trip, you need to contact an electrician or your electrical service provider. 

#3. Replace the Circuit Breaker

If the whirlpool refrigerator’s GFCI trips due to a short circuit or faulty circuit breaker, there’s a quick fix.

Contact a licensed electrician to replace the circuit breaker or fix it depending on the diagnosed problem. 

#4. Reset the Defrost Heater’s Timer

A faulty defrost heater is one of the common causes of GFCI tripping in a whirlpool refrigerator. To fix this, you need to reset or replace the defrost heater’s timer.

When you replace the timer, reset it and wait to see if it overheats. If it overheats and the GFCI trips again, you must replace the defrost heater. 

#5. Rewiring the Refrigerator 

Faulty wiring can cause the GFCI of your whirlpool fridge to trip; luckily, you can fix this yourself.

First, unplug your fridge and open the lower panel behind it to check for any damaged wires. If you find any, get new wires and replace them and ensure that you tape them in place. 

#6. Test the Compressor 

If you suspect that the compressor is what has caused your whirlpool refrigerator’s GFCI to trip, get a professional to test it. You should get a new refrigerator if you confirm that the compressor is faulty. 

Should a Refrigerator Be Plugged into a GFCI Outlet?

Plugging your refrigerator into a GFCI outlet is not compulsory; it depends on what you decide is best for your home.

However, you should plug your refrigerator into a GFCI outlet if you place your refrigerator in a location where it is open to moisture

In this case, keeping you and your family safe from electric shocks is compulsory and is the best option for those with refrigerators located outdoors or in a basement. 

However, you’re safe if your refrigerator is in a dry area indoors, such as the sitting room or dining room. In this case, you can plug it into the power outlet instead.

It’s also essential to put your safety into consideration above anything else. There’s no harm in plugging your refrigerator into a GFCI outlet while in a dry area. 

Below is a table that highlights the advantages and disadvantages of using a GFCI outlet;

How Do You Fix a Short Circuit Refrigerator?

When your refrigerator has a short circuit, it is bound to malfunction, so you would need some tips to fix it.

You can fix a short circuit refrigerator by resetting your GFCI, offloading the circuit it is connected to, and requiring a damaged outlet or compressor. 

When you notice a short circuit, the most important thing to begin with is to diagnose the exact problem that triggered it.

Once you find the problem, you can employ any of the following tips outlined below to fix it; 

  • Reset your GFCI by unplugging your fridge, testing the GFCI, and resetting it.
  • Contact an electrician to fix a circuit dedicated to the fridge to avoid a circuit overload. 
  • Replace the power cut if rodents or heavy weights have damaged it. 
  • Get a licensed professional to replace your power outlet if it is faulty. 
  • Call an electrician to check your breaker box and replace it if it is defective. 

How Do You Fix a Refrigerator That Trips?

To fix a refrigerator that trips, you need to figure out why it trips and which parts are affected.

After diagnosing the cause of the trip, you can fix it by replacing the compressor, rewiring the fridge, or replacing the defrost heater.

Listed below are other tips you can use to fix a refrigerator that trips:

  • If you suspect your refrigerator’s GFCI or power outlet is faulty, you would need to test them and replace or fix them. However, ensure that your fridge is unplugged before you attempt to check these outlets to avoid getting electrocuted. 
  • If you have a no-frost fridge, the fan might be faulty and needs to be cleaned thoroughly or replaced. 
  • When there is an earth leak that affects your thermostat, you might need to get it replaced. 


A whirlpool refrigerator’s GFCI tripping is a malfunction commonly caused by a faulty defrost heater.

Other causes include; a short circuit, a faulty compressor, earth leaks, or bad wiring.

Make sure that you diagnose the problem correctly before trying to fix it. Always contact a licensed electrician for further help when confused.

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