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King_Galaxius's avatar

Why do some apartments have GFCI plug outlets?

Asked by King_Galaxius (307points) 1 month ago

I think these outlets are a pain in the butt, because these outlets stay on yellow and are the cause of appliances not working, such as: refrigerators and microwaves (in my opinion). This happened to me today. The plug outlet is still on yellow with a non-working refrigerator. I wish these outlets in apartment living was never invented.

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18 Answers

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Well for starters it’s required by code so…

kritiper's avatar

Some people like to take electrical appliances into the tub with them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It took a bunch of people being electrocuted for them to become a standard.

snowberry's avatar

You need to run an extension cord from your refrigerator to an outlet that is NOT CFGI.

I hate them too. They put the darn things in the most ridiculous places, such as in a garage. Many people install an additional freezer or refrigerator in their garage, but it’s a challenge to find an outlet that isn’t GFCI. After all, who WOULDN“T want their freezer full of food to defrost because the GFCI did its thing?

We got around this by putting one of these in the overhead light socket of our garage to power our freezer. Problem solved. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Leviton-Plastic-Keyless-Lampholder-w-Outlet-1-pk/23331313

smudges's avatar

The only places I have that kind of plug is in the bathroom and next to the sink in the kitchen. None of the major appliances are plugged into them.

I’ve never seen one that’s yellow…it’s either green, or the button is popped out, in which case you just push the button back in.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

If it keeps tripping on you it’s one of two things and both require your landlord’s attention. There is an electrical fault downstream somewhere after the GFCI (like your fridge for example) or the GFCI itself is shot and needs to be replaced. New code in the USA actually requires AFCI and GFCI so if a new breaker or home run outlet is required it must be one of those. More safety=less chance of fire or electrocution so thank your GFCI, it may have saved your life.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Here’s the latest NEC ;

Updated 20210601

2020 NEC Changes

Important: Please refer to the 2020 National Electrical Code for detailed information

1. 210.8(A) GFCI Protection for Personnel: Dwelling Units
The changes in 210.8(A) will result in all 125‐volt through 250‐volt receptacles installed at dwelling units supplied by single‐phase branch circuits rated 150‐volts or less to ground be provided with ground‐fault circuit‐interrupter (GFCI) protection for personnel. During the 2020 NEC cycle it was substantiated that 250‐volt receptacle outlets present similar shock hazards as 125‐volt receptacle outlets. This change will impact the typical 240‐volt receptacle outlets for cord‐and‐plug connected dryers, ranges, ovens or similar appliances. This new addition of 250‐volt receptacles, and the removal of any ampere limitation, will require GFCI protection for commonly used receptacle outlets in the specified areas of 210.8(A)(1) through (A)(11): Bathrooms, Garages and Accessory Buildings, Outdoors, Crawl Spaces, Basements, Kitchens, Sinks, Boathouses, Bathtubs and Shower Stalls, Laundry Areas, Indoor Damp and Wet Locations. Also, (A)(2) for basements previously only required GFCI protection in unfinished areas; (A)(2) requires all receptacle outlets in basements (area below grade level) to be GFCI protected, regardless if the basement is finished or unfinished. During the 2020 NEC code cycle it was substantiated that conductive floor surfaces prone to damp, wet or flooded conditions may exist in both finished and unfinished basements. The potential for electrical hazards and risk of a shock hazard exists regardless of unfinished or finished surface

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Let me add: AFCI breakers required 2020
In the 2020 edition of the NEC®, Section 210.12 requires that for dwelling units, all 120-volt, single-phase, 15— and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms. Both AFCI and GFCI are required in kitchens and laundary rooms.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@snowberry G.G, you’re really asking for it plugging a fridge into one of those. Did you cut off the ground prong to get that to work?

snowberry's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Nope. We screwed it in and plugged it in. The hardest part was screwing hooks into the ceiling to hold up the extension cord.

By the way, my son installs commercial dishwashers into restaurants and hospital kitchens. He says it gets really weird when he has to make an installation in a new building. He says when the electricians install their outlets, they never bother to consider that a commercial dishwasher cannot be run on a CFGI outlet. Before my son can complete the installation, he has to switch out the outlet.

I wonder if the geniuses who thought of this law just weren’t thinking or what.

snowberry's avatar

Hmm, after a bit of research I found this link. It says you can switch out the CFGI outlet to a regular one if you want to use that outlet exclusively for a refrigerator. That’s my favorite option.
https://howtofixit.net/this-is-why-refrigerator-keeps-tripping-cfgi/

There’s also a doo-dad called a snubber that you can install between the CFGI outlet and your refrigerator plug.

SnipSnip's avatar

All outlets in the kitchen and baths should be that type.

snowberry's avatar

@SnipSnip That’s great, but not very practical if you don’t want to wake up one day to have your food spoiled. Did you read the link I provided above?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Tripping a GFCI with a refrigerator means 1) the outlet/circuit is faulty or 2) there is a problem with the refrigerator. We had a GFCI circuit breaker replaced under warranty in our house after we were in it for 6 months.

Also commercial dishwashers should be “hardwired” not plugged into an outlet. So your son is right and the designer/architect drew the blueprints wrong.

Forever_Free's avatar

They are there and put in place for a reason. Not to just annoy people.
Code requires them for outlets installed above the countertop and in moisture areas like bathrooms.
While you can plug a refrigerator into a CFGI, you don’t have to. Also don’t get and extension cord to add to your refrigerator cord to plug it somewhere else. That would violate code as well.

Why is it tripping on a refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, etc, in a CFGI is because any inductive load when switched off, can produce electromagnetic interference (EMI). This interference can, and often does, trip GFCI devices.

snowberry's avatar

@ALL regarding the kitchen problem, we had a kind of slumlord type landlord at the time and she didn’t speak English well. Asking her to fix the CFGI outlet or fix/replace the refrigerator was not going to happen. We did what we had to and moved out as soon as we could.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@snowberry Your dedication to preventing food waste at the expense of risking burning to death in your sleep is admirable

snowberry's avatar

@Lightlyseared We had already discovered that our landlord was simply impossible to deal with. On top of that, my husband was in very delicate health, and he couldn’t handle the stress of litigation or whatever else might have been possible at the time. She found ways to blame us for things she had caused and we had to pay for it. Given the same circumstances, you obviously would have chosen differently. It sounds like you have an electrician’s background, so perhaps you’d have re-wired that circuit, or whatever.

She’s certainly not the first slumlord who ignores safety hazards and gets away with it.

Anyway, thank you for your obvious concern for our welfare. It’s so nice to know you care.

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