GFCI Outlet and a freezer... what can I do?

I’m inheriting a freezer from my parents in a few days. I want to put it in my garage. I just noticed today that the outlet I’m planning on plugging it into is a GFCI outlet. Now I’m worried that the stupid thing is going to blow and I’m going to lose all the yummies in my freezer because I won’t notice for a week.

Sooo… aside from paying an electrician to un-GFCI the outlet (if he even can… maybe it’s against code?), are there any devices that I can put between the outlet and the wall that will alert me if the outlet trips? I thought I’d heard of such things, but I can’t seem to find any. I don’t even know what they’d be called.

Aside from that, any other advice/solutions?

I think you’ll find this does the job well.

An electrician to un-GFCI the outlet? It’s a 2 minute job, with a $4 part from the hardware store.

Pick up a new outlet, turn off the fuse for the garage, and replace. It might take 4 minutes if you’ve never done it before. This link from Bob Villa’s site will show you how.

If it’s GFCI, it’s that way for a reason. Like code. And safety.

Simplistically, yes. Garage outlets are supposed to be GFCI, as are kitchen and bathroom. The exception is generally for outlets that are not normally accessible, such as the one behind (and dedicated to) your refrigerator, or one that is used to plug in a unit heater 10 feet off the floor in your garage. Replacing this outlet is not going to cause a problem, unless it is the first in a string of other outlets that are not protected.

Yep, and the national electrical code allows for an exception for a non-GFCI appliance receptacle in section 210.8(A). However, there still needs to be a GFCI receptacle in the garage per 210.52(G), so if Athena only has one receptacle in the garage, another will need to be added.

All of which begs the question - Should it be replaced? If the GFCI trips, it is doing so because of a ground fault. Replacing it to prevent tripping is going to leave a potentially dangerous condition.

GFCIs will also nuisance-trip, depending on how conscientious the electrician was who wired the house. If the outlet is to remain, perhaps plugging in a low-wattage/low voltage light into the same outlet would give some peace of mind to the OP.

There currently are a couple exceptions to the NEC that allow non-GFCI outlets in garages based on being not conveniently accessible - such as a single receptacle behind and dedicated to running a freezer, or sufficiently high up (IIRC, it’s about 7 feet off the floor) for things like the garage door opener.

These exemptions are scheduled to be eliminated in the 2008 Code, at which point **all ** receptacles in a garage must be GFCI-protected.

Also, current Code requires that you bring things into compliance - if you’re replacing an outlet in a location that did not require a GFCI at the time of installation, but one is required now for new work, you must install a GFCI now.

If you’re concerned about protecting the contents of the freezer, there are power failure alarms and temperature alarms that can be used so you’re not sacrificing the safety of “live meat” over the “dead meat” in the freezer.

I second Harmonious Discord’s suggestion. Simple, plug-in solution with a very high likelihood of taking care of completely satisfying the main concern: the GFCI trips but Athena doesn’t notice.

You could plug in a UPS in line with the freezer.
Make sure you get the kind that screams, and loudly, when it loses AC power.

Thanks for everyone’s replies. I think I’m gonna check Menard’s for an alarm as Harmonious Discord suggested. I like the alarm idea; it will not only tell us if the outlet has tripped, but if anything else causes an electrical failure. Very handy!

Yeah-what he said! :wink: Covered all the points, brother. Well done! :smiley:

A GCI is not the same as a circuit breaker. It measures the difference in current betwee the two wires going to the appliance and trips if that difference exceeds a certain amount. If your freezer has zero or negligible leakage from the hot line to the frame the GCI shouldn’t trip.

How much confidence should you put in someone who keeps calling a GFI a GCI?

Regardless of what they’re called, I’ve had too many instances where they’ve been tripped for seemingly no reason to trust a freezer on one. Thus my OP.

I think the new ones are much more reliable. I have them all over my house, and they never trip.

The newer ones are much better but I would never use one where I didn’t have to especially on a freezer or such that could cause problems if it nuisance trips.

I did a restaurant a little while back. It was required we use GFCI receptacles throughout the kitchen with wet location bubbles(the inspector wanted it didn’t bother checking the code to argue) seven coolers total all of them on GFCI’s haven’t heard about any of them tripping.

Begging the question.

At best you could say the OP was ‘‘begging the question’’ because everyone is plugging away as if GFCI outlets are just bound to tripping.

Properly installed and without fault interruptions, they are not going to trip.

Athena, I did have another thought that might be cheaper than the above-mentioned alarm, but requires that this be a garage you’re in and out of pretty regularly to be effective: buy an extension cord and one of those “light comes on when the power goes out” flashlights that you leave plugged in and set it up where you’ll be sure to see the light shining.