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current leakage #61529
01/26/06 10:23 PM
01/26/06 10:23 PM
B
BigB  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 725
Tucson, AZ USA
Just came from an interesting service call. It was a halfway house for veterans that I have worked at before. They have a number of duplex units built in the 50's, no equipment grounds at any receptacles.

Anyway a resident complained of shocks received off the refrig. When I got there they described the shocks as a snap accompianied by a blue spark. They get them whenever they touch anything metal and also the phone and the thermostat. Well I told them it was static electricity, but I would check the fridge anyway.

Well when the fridge is running, it will light my non contact tester when held close to the cabinet. So I got my analog meter and checked from a part of the fridge that was not painted to the grounded gas line nearby. I got about 13 volts. Remember this fridge has no equipment ground with the old 2 wire system.

So now I am thinking, in addition to the static shocks, they could've gotten a real current shock off the fridge. Is the 13 volts excessive? As soon as the fridge shuts off it goes away. I told them, short of running a new circuit, the only thing to do is get a new fridge. I know if I put in a GFCI it will not hold.
I know the code requires refrigerators to be grounded, but if they can't pay for a new circuit, what else is there to do?

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Re: current leakage #61530
01/27/06 12:33 AM
01/27/06 12:33 AM
G
gfretwell  Offline

Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,224
Estero,Fl,usa
You are seeing the real reason refrigerators trip GFCIs. You have a short inside the compressor. If it was grounded it would quietly arc and spark inside the can in a freon bath until it finally quits.


Greg Fretwell
Re: current leakage #61531
01/27/06 03:32 AM
01/27/06 03:32 AM
S
Sixer  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
Canada
I've run into "hot fridges" many times. Once you ground the fridge, the casing will no longer be hot. Thanks for the explanation gfretwell....I've always wondered how a compressor can have a short and energize the casing, and yet when you ground it, it not only solves the problem but the breaker doesn't trip.


Sixer

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