How can I plug a extra fridge in basement without add new breaker?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by charles w, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. charles w

    charles w New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2020
    Location:
    MANITOBA CA
    Appreciate every one here for your help.

    Just bought a extra fridge and wanna use it in basement. So, I have to make a new circuit for it. Because we already have a fridge on my kitchen which served by No 16 breaker .( see my main board )

    No 16 : 15A squire D breaker, type QO

    My question is : I don't have space to add extra breaker for the new fridge, can I make a Parallel plug circuit with the previous fridge circuit?

    run 14/2 wire , connect the hot line to No 16 breaker . I see the pole can accommodate 2 wire , but not sure

    any suggestion can help me to avoid add a sub box for it? I am amateur , dont want to do complex things.

    thank you !
     

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  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    It looks like you have one full sized and one half-sized slots left in the panel. If you look at the panel cover, you should see that those spots have nubs on them. You can grab a pair of pliers, twist it back and forth a bit and it will break off leaving you room to then install a new breaker.

    A typical refrigerator can pull a bit more than what it takes once it's running. Trying to power two of them off of the same breaker is just asking for the breaker to trip.

    Being in a basement, today's code wants the receptacle to be at a minimum of a GFCI, but many places are also calling for an AFCI. You can get that in one breaker if you want. This may not apply in Canada, but a GFCI is still a good idea. Some will disagree, as if it trips, and you don't recognize it, you might then lose everything in there...but, not having the protection if there's a fault, it could kill you. A properly operating unit will not trip a gfci. If it does, there's a problem.

    Depending on how the basement is finished, you may need to run the wire through a conduit to protect it.
     
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  4. charles w

    charles w New Member

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    Mar 25, 2020
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    MANITOBA CA
    THANK YOU sir, and I checked my panel , it looks like no slot for new breaker. the picture is below , do I need to
    buy a sub panel for it? really do not want to do so, it will cost extra money and time.
     

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  5. JerryR

    JerryR Active Member

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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  6. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

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    Why do you need to wire? Are your basement circuits overloaded?

    At least in the US it is against code to use a kitchen circuit for a basement receptacle.

    This may not apply to Canada but here you need to look at the label to see if your panel was supposed to take tandem breakers. Yours also appears to have only enough neutrals for the 24 spaces. Regular tandems won't physically fit. The cheater tandems (non CTL) are a lot more expensive if you can get them.
     
  7. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Before doing all that work, why not plug into an existing outlet on a basement circuit, ideally one that doesn't see a lot of use and is on a 20A breaker. If you plug in a tool or something and trip the breaker, you'll know and reset if before the food spoils.

    A subpanel might be an option, as is using the half breakers if the panel allows you to add more. However, I think plugging in somewhere could be a good bet.

    Another possibility to consider, add an outlet to the basement lighting circuit. Probably not code compliant to put a fridge on that circuit, but if you have LED bulbs and a fridge, I think it's unlikely you'd need even 15A. Since the lighting circuit was designed for old bulbs, it probably can easily spare the the amps needed for the fridge.

    If rewiring, I'd generally use #12 wire instead of 14.
     
  8. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    A refrigerator does not need its own dedicated circuit thought it may be preferred. My home built in 2007, the refrigerator shares its circuit with a few lights. I asked my licensed electrician buddy about it when I was doing a remodel when I realized it and was told it meets code. It was not possible to add a circuit do to its location.
    I added a circuit in my garage for a second refrigerator, outlets and LED lights. The refrigerator is on a GFCI and it has not tripped since the install about three years ago. Another point is if you look at the power consumption of a modern refrigerator, it is very small due to US Energy Standards. My one year old Samsung, 28 CuFt four door unit, is rated at 5 amps (about 600 watts). It annual cost according to the energy label is $99 a year, meaning they do not run as much as older models. I had a GE refrigerator from 1999 and it never turned off except during the defrost cycle.
     
  9. JerryR

    JerryR Active Member

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    Having a refrigerator sharing a GFCI could cost you spoiled food if you get a nuisance trip and didn’t realize it

    I have an additional refrigerator in my garage on a shared 20 amp GFCI circuit. In the past the GFCI has nuisance tripped without us knowing, so I rigged a power monitor connected to my home alarm system. I immediately get a text any time the power goes out and another text when power is restored. I have that alarm zone configured as a monitor only zone so the central station doesn’t call me.

    You can see from alarm log below the last time that power was out. It was out for 15 seconds and then restored.

    You can also see internet went down and alarm switched to cellular communicator then it switched back to internet communication.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    I have been runnig a freezer and refrigerator, plus a couple of other things, on a single circuit for years. When I got a false trip of the GFCI, I removed it.
     
  11. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

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  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Alarms do not help if you are on vacation when it goes off, whixh happened to my daughter.
     
  13. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

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    Then time for a new refrigerator.
     
  14. charles w

    charles w New Member

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    MANITOBA CA
    thanks. I have to make a independent circuit for fridge in base ment. it is required from city. but in my main box, slot is fully used, no available space
    to add even 1 breaker. that is why I trying to get some help here.
     
  15. charles w

    charles w New Member

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    MANITOBA CA
    Thanks . I agree what you said. but the housing inspector required special circuit for fridge with out any other thing plug in this circuit.
    Manitoba code may strange , haha.
     
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    You should probably give up and put in the subpanel. Making a mod to let you use a tandem breaker would probably not go over with the inspector. Yours is an old panel probably not approved for the tandem breakers.
     
  17. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    I've never had to have an inspection done on a fridge plug in. Just sayin.
     
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    In most places, adding a circuit calls for a permit and an inspection. Now, I'm not saying that many people do it.

    For the OP, if your box is full, adding a subpanel can make things a bit easier when you want to do something else. A kitchen remodel and maybe a bathroom one will often call for additional circuits, and some things just are more convenient when on a dedicated line.

    ONe thing that I highly recommend is a whole-house surge suppressor. While they can be installed on the main line before the main breaker, much easier is on a 240 breaker in the panel, and it's better if that's dedicated. While I do put protection on individual expensive items, doing it on say your refrigerator or microwave may be be something you think about doing it for. My mother had both a microwave and refrigerator damaged by a lightning near miss. I've had one installed for nearly 25-years and not had an electronic item fail, whereas neighbors have. Cheap insurance, and easy to install if you have room in the panel. Look at Mersen. Lots of companies make them, but Mersen is more of a commercial staple and thus the quality and premium isn't as high as some of the others of similar quality. I have no financial interest in the company...just what I've seen over the years.
     
  19. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    I think what most people would do is find an outlet in the basement and plug in the fridge. More meticulous folks might check the load on that circuit, and depending on the location of the fridge, and circuits available, might add an outlet. Doing a DIY subpanel install by a self described amateur seems like a lot of extra work and risk. Perhaps you could tell the inspector that you've changed your mind and instead of a fridge, you will plug in a portable dehumidifier at that location. Then after he's gone, the fridge is installed.

    Regarding the gfi, that's a bit of a trade off. I've never had a gfi nuisance trip, but I know it happens. I've also never been electrocuted, but obviously that's a serious issue. I'll put gfi outlets even where they are not required if I think something could happen. An outlet in a room with a door or window could be used to plug in an extension cord for a tool outside for example. I try not to buy the cheapies, I usually end up with levitons and they seem ok. If I had a fridge on it, I'd think about changing it out every 10 years or so. One drawback to the gfi is it may hog space in a small box, but usually it works out. People do get killed by ground faults, but not often. Fridge compressors are one of the more likely sources of nuisance trips. On the balance I'd probably try to find a reliable gfi or use one of the monitoring techniques described earlier.
     
  20. JerryR

    JerryR Active Member

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    Location:
    Florida
    HJ,

    Yep. It happened to me once about 20 years ago. Lost all the food in the fridge.

    That’s why I have the garage fridge GFCI outlet monitored to my home burglar alarm system. If it nuisance trips the battery backed up cellular communicator Sends me a text and I call call my neighbor to go into the house to reset the breaker.
     
  21. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    And how many times has that happened since you set it up, over what time period? If at least once, was it actually an isolated trip, or was it the first sign of the fridge failing?

    Cheers, Wayne
     
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