GFCI behind fridge?

Hi Electrical geniuses:mrgreen:
I looked at a house that was renovated from the 50’s. They updated to GFCI’s, which is obviously a good thing. My question is, do you have to have GFCI protection on the same side that a refrigerator is if it has water going to it…i.e. an icemaker?? Just seems to me there should be a GFCI if the fridge has water going to it. What do you guys think?


I’m not an elctrical genuis, but I would think not.

An errantly tripped or otherwise defective GFCI could spoil a lot of food without anyone even noticing until too late. The probability of food poisoning could outweigh the likelihood of being electrocuted by a fridge.

Refrigerators shouldn’t be plugged into GFCI receptacles as they may trip them at start up.

(I’m far, far from an electrical genious, so we’ll see how quickly I’m told how wrong I am)

There has been discussion here on this matter and the concensus has been that it may trip and ruin a lot of food and maybe even let the beer get warm.


If the Fridge in question is in the basement or lets say a garage in question…and the plug is behind it…you do not need to place it on GFCI…is their anything wrong with it being on GFCI…nope…perfectly fine and has nothing to do with the “Water” running within it for an ice maker lets say.

We install the circuits in kitchens all the time as well…hit the fridge as the first receptacle…and then go to the next one…the first one on the counter and place a GFCI their…now everything beyond it is protected.

So in short…nope the fridge does not need to be on GFCI…even in a location that would require GFCI…like a unfinished basement…if the fridge is in place…and without going into too much detail…then it would not need to be on GFCI…but the others would.

Hope this helps…

Spoiled food can be thrown out, but warm beer here in FL would be an emergency! Excuse me, I have to run and check my fridge just in case!! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:


Here the refrigerator is required to be on a dedicated circuit, but CodeCheck show that Ref’s OK on individual circuit > 15 amps, it must be a local code modification I guess.

Blaine, you have been agreeing with me all day, now. I am starting to get worried. Please stop.


it is fine for a fridge to be on a dedicated circuit of 15A…or 20A in that fact…or with the counter top for that additional fact.

**(B) Small Appliances.

(1) Receptacle Outlets Served. **In the kitchen, pantry,
breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling
unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch
circuits required by 210.11©(1) shall serve all receptacle
outlets covered by 210.52(A) and © and receptacle outlets
for refrigeration equipment.

*Exception No. 1: In addition to the required receptacles
specified by 210.52, switched receptacles supplied from a
general-purpose branch circuit as defined in 210.70(A)(1),

Exception No. 1, shall be permitted.

Exception No. 2: The receptacle outlet for refrigeration
equipment shall be permitted to be supplied from an individual
branch circuit rated 15 amperes or greater.

I saw that in my CodeCheck Paul, locally they put the Fridge on its own circuit, I thought that was the Code, but now I see that it can be either way, some where else. Thanks.


I am sure it can be in YOUR area also…IF you wish to fight a good fight…they would have to adopt it formally…and in written down somewhere otherwise AHJ’s can’t re-write code or impose their own WILL…they can just define it as it is supposed to be written or per their …interpretations… and just possibly they MAY get it wrong…we are all human…AHJ’s want to learn like anyone else…educate them…:slight_smile:

So while it may be the WAY in your area…could just be from their ignorance…or just lack of understanding of the NEC…

**90.4 Enforcement.

**This *Code *is intended to be suitable
for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise
legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including
signaling and communications systems, and for use by
insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for
**enforcement of the *****Code ***has the responsibility for making
interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of
equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission
contemplated in a number of the rules.
By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction
may waive speci.c requirements in this *Code *or permit
alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives
can be achieved by establishing and maintaining
effective safety.
This *Code *may require new products, constructions, or
materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code

is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction
may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials
that comply with the most recent previous edition of
this *Code *adopted by the jurisdiction.

I know the answer is no, but he brought it up because of the water line. Water get it? Good point…

lol…water has nothing to do with GFCI placement…the NEC tells us where the GFCI’s need/should be…:slight_smile:

I think you have a better chance of slipping and falling down the stairs during an inspection than to be electrocuted from the water line to the fridge leaking…since it is usually connected at the bottom of the fridge…

I was refering to the ignorance of the local AHJ if they demand something a certain way…even if the NEC allows something another way…not the inspector who posted it…it was a great point and makes for a great learning experience.

Inspected a home one day that the main electrical panel was behind the fridge.

One case that I did move the fridge to check the panel. 100-amp service with Split HVAC, stove, water heater, outside spa and a wall heater.
Panel was moved and upgraded prior to closing.


Is it a reportable safety issue if the fridge socket is a dual or single?


All this discussion is wonderful, but why didn’t anybosdy bring up the fact that outlets dedicated to appliances do not need GFCI’s. If a clothes washer does not require a GFCI, why would a fridge with an ice maker need one? I love this message board, but sometimes we just dance around the answer.



if we are speaking of a lets say floor freezer in a garage and lets say it is a duplex receptacle…and only (1) plug is being used and one is open it would still need to be GFCI protected.

As for safety…I would say it would need to be reported in the same way you would report on the GFCI on a countertop as GOOD ADVICE since we know the NEC is not retroactive.

BUT if we are talking about a receptacle ( duplex ) in a kitchen lets say…no need to report it…as they do not have to be on GFCI…remember only the counter is required these days in the kitchen…but the branch circuit small appliance circuit can also extend into the dining room, pantry and so on…so…in areas like unfinished basements and garages where the freezer only takes up HALF of the plug…and only half…and the rest is exposed…it needs to be GFCI…:)…if it is a single dedicated plug…it does not need to be…

Ahhh…kenny I did bring it up…indirectly

Also I think you MISS the point…thats why the board is here…to elaborate and TEACH as the disussion grows…do you REALLY expect me or someone to cover all ISSUES IN A SINGLE POST…it has to GROW and we generally answer the question that is presented…because if we elaborated TOO MUCH…then you would come in saying…just get to the point and skip the other stuff…cant have it BOTH ways…

Generally speaking, inspectors tolerate non-GFCI duplex outlets behind freezers and such if there are other GFCI receptacles in the area.

Thing is the recepetacle behind a fridge or freezer in a kitchen is NOT serving a counter, so NO GFI is required. Duplex or not. Period.

Kevin, your blanket statement above is not actually true. Receptacles dedicated to appliances have NO bearing on GFI requirements. It is the location of these receptacles that does.
A washer receptacle, for instance, if located within 6’ of a laundry sink requires GFI protection. NO exceptions.
A receptacle for a freezer in an unfinished basement, if not located directly behind the appliance, DOES require GFI protection.

So you see, it is not always as simple as it looks.