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rmila75 09-08-2008 06:13 AM

Possibility of low voltage?
I have replaced my GE fridge that had a burned out control board, followed by three incidents of compressor failure even after replacing relay and overload. I have heard of similar trouble on the same model of GE fridge.
I now have a new Whirlpool and it's working fine, but I have to wonder: What if I have a wiring or other electrical issue that may be causing a low voltage situation? The fridge is on the same circuit as one other outlet in the kitchen; currently serving a microwave. All had run perfectly for over 5 years before the control board failed, tripping the circuit breaker and starting all my compressor failures, even with a new board. (the new board had it running for 3 weeks before it failed again)
I realize it's best to have the fridge on its own circuit, and I may have that done. But I also worry about the wiring itself, particularly the outlet serving the fridge. I hate to damage another fridge.
Is it realistic to think that a low voltage issue could have developed recently and damaged only the refrigerator compressor? (fan and inside blower were working fine on the GE) I will track down a multimeter in the next day or so and try to test the outlet.

Gene 09-08-2008 01:45 PM

I do not think a low voltage could damage the compressor.

It is a good idea to have the fridge on a separate circuit and I would recommend to put a surge protector on the fridge. Power surges created a lot of troubles.


richappy 09-09-2008 06:23 AM

I use the Lowe's surge protector, 1000 Joules, in a blue box and made for Appliances, $12.95

rmila75 09-09-2008 11:23 AM

Thanks for the advice!
I guess I did not realize that it was acceptable to use a surge protector; I thought the fridge would always need to be plugged directly into the wall socket with nothing in between.
How do the joule ratings work? I just searched online and found one that is 900 joules. Would that be OK for a fridge?

rmila75 09-09-2008 03:30 PM

Here's a bit of an update: I borrowed a multimeter from a friend to try testing the outlets. I have not yet tried the one the fridge is on, but the other outlet on that circuit, as well as several others in the house, show 123 volts. (not sure exactly how reliable the meter is)
Is that a problem? Should I always be under 120 to be safe?

libertyappl 09-09-2008 04:05 PM

Most appliances allow a 10% varience so you should be ok there. If in dowbt get a $25 Kill-o-watt meter. You just plug them in and plug the appliance(or whatever) into them and you can check voltage, watts used etc.

richappy 09-10-2008 04:33 AM

You can call this sites parts section for a 1000 Joule surge protector, they should have one. The Joule rating specifies how much energy the device will shunt away from the appliance. Make sure you get one for appliances. A lot of the computer devices actually blow out if there is a serious power surge, thus removing power from the fridg. a nasty surprise!!

icehouse 09-24-2008 04:54 PM

The NEC 2008 (National Electrical Code) requires Refrigerators be plugged into a dedicated circuit, wired 12/3 wire 20 amp breaker. :)

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