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Why Your Fridge Keeps Tripping Your Breaker

It’s not uncommon to hear clients wonder aloud, “Why is my refrigerator tripping the circuit?” If it’s a new fridge, you’re probably wondering why you’re having this problem. The fact is that many electrical trips don’t come from your wiring. They are a result of the demands that the fridge puts on your electrical systems. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to the question. There are a lot of different ways that a refrigerator can cause a circuit breaker to trip. A tripped breaker isn’t a bad thing (unless it leads to everything in your fridge spoiling). Breakers are designed to trip to make sure surges and overloads don’t damage your appliances. Here, we’ll look at the most common reasons for a fridge to trip a breaker.

Overloaded Circuits

Overloaded circuits sometimes happen when you have high power-demand appliances plugged into your electrical systems. Electrical overloads happen when the number of devices plugged into a circuit exceeds the recommended load for it. Residential codes allow for a maximum of twenty (20) amps to be running through a circuit as the rated amount. Suppose your fridge is plugged into a circuit with other high-demand electrical devices (freezers, air condition units, etc.). In that case, you could lead to an overload on the circuit without even knowing you’re doing so. When that happens, the breaker will trip to ensure that no damage occurs to the other appliances you have plugged in.

Short Circuits

You’ve probably encountered short circuits before in at least one of your household appliances. Short circuits tend to occur when a neutral wire touches a ground wire, leading to electricity bypassing the rest of the circuit completely. Troubleshooting this sort of problem is relatively simple. If the breaker tripped immediately after plugging in the fridge, then you should consider unplugging it, resetting the breaker, and plugging in a second appliance. If the second appliance works, the short circuit is inside the refrigerator. If the second appliance doesn’t work, you’ll have to examine the outlet itself. If you can’t find a problem with the outlet wiring, it may exist within the breaker box. Isolation of the issue gives you a chance to fix it (or, even better, call a professional).

Old Wires and Insulation

If you have an aging home, then the fault may lie with your insulation or wiring. Materials of the house’s electrical system are likely to become worn out with time. Insulation in older homes starts to flake and crumble, leaving wires exposed. Aside from being a very present fire hazard, this breakdown of materials can wreak havoc with your appliances, not just your fridge. Prints on the refrigerator cord also age and may bend. The breaker box’s metal and plastic components are also of extreme concern, becoming loose and potentially leading to faults over time.

Why is My Refrigerator Tripping the Circuit?

As we explored, the issue may stem from any number of factors. You can probably pinpoint the problem yourself, but fixing it is another matter entirely. Electrical systems can be dangerous, especially to non-specialists. It doesn’t take many amps to render a person unconscious. On the contrary, it could happen with something as simple as an in-home electrical outlet with a short circuit. If you’re having this breaker problem, always call the professionals. LiveWire has been serving the community for years, and we would be glad to take a look at your breaker box and house wiring. Call us today to schedule a visit!

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