Current requirements call for their being GFCI protection of ALL 120 volt receptacles in your home’s garage. There used to be exceptions for dedicated refrigerator circuits and garage door openers but now these exceptions are no longer allowed in most jurisdictions.
Some people argue that putting refrigerators and freezers on GFCI protected receptacles could result in the refrigerator or freezer not having any power and this might go un-noticed resulting in the thawing of foods.
I think in time refrigerators and freezers will all have lights and alarms to let you know when power has been lost—-some do already. There are also some handy little devices like the THP 207, POWER FAILURE ALARM & SAFETY LIGHT, that can be purchased to do the same thing.
These devices plug into the receptacle that the refrigerator or freezer is plugged into. They are also great to use in conjunction with sump pumps. When power is lost, an alarm sounds and emergency lighting comes on. They are designed to hold a charge for up to 8 hours—-enough time for the homeowner to wonder what the heck that noise out in the garage is—-and go turn the tripped GFCI back on.
Inspectors will love these things too when they inadvertently trip a GFCI and they can’t find the location of the GFCI—as long as it is plugged into the same receptacle that has the GFCI device 🙂 .
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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