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I have an old freezer-on-the-bottom fridge in the basement. The refrigerator light does not work, and I am replacing the

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Old 04-30-2008, 12:19 PM
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Default mild electric shock from refrigerator
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I have an old freezer-on-the-bottom fridge in the basement. The refrigerator light does not work, and I am replacing the door switch.

However, I am getting a mild shock when I touch the door handle or door with bare feet or socks on. shoes insulate me.

Any ideas where I should look? Or is it related to the door/lightswitch problem?

Thanks
John

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Old 04-30-2008, 05:10 PM
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This is not a good sign at all, somewhere in the electrical circuit there's voltage going to ground only as far as the fridge cabinet.. My guess is your wall electrical receptacle is not properly grounded or the ground wire prong on the refrigerator cord plug has been broken off or an adapter is used on a 2prong receptacle... Next to worst case scenario is your compressor has an indirect ground, if you locate the path to ground interruption and remedy the problem then the compressor will not start and never will, replacement of compressor or fridge is the next decision.. Worst case scenario is you or a loved one being electrocuted, suggest dealing with this problem pronto... cheers, kooler
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:56 PM
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I thought it was unusual that the plug is NOT a 3 prong. Does that mean someone replaced it?

Thanks for the response!
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:39 AM
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When you say old fridge, just how old??? A lot if not all units 40+ years old did come with 2 prong plugs but there was only 2 wires in the cord...If the plug on your fridge looks like you can disassemble it with a screwdriver then 'yes' someone replaced it... If the plug has that 'molded' look with a raised bridge between the 2 prongs then originally there was a ground prong protruding out of the bridge but it's been broken off... If there are 3 wires in the cord then there should be a 3-prong plug on the end; replace the plug with a 3 prong plug (if you know how)... Hopefully the voltage finding it's way to the fridge cabinet is something simple like your faulty door switch and not the compressor... Use an ohmmeter to locate the culprit...
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:01 PM
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Default Electrical Shock from fridge

Run a ground wire from the chassis to a metal pipe in the general area.
Buy a grounding bracket. $1.80 approx @ Home Depot and some 12 gage solid core wire and an eyelet to attach to the other end of the wire.

Attach the eyelet end to a screw behind the fridge and the other end to the grounding bracket. If it arcs very slightly you are O.K. If you eperience violent arching then your wires are crossed!
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:12 PM
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A compressor can be electrically grounded internally... A direct ground or short typically will trip the circuit breaker feeding power to the fridge usually indicating a burnt compressor motor, fan motor, defective wiring or switches... I've come across an indirect ground on two occasions in which the compressor showed continuity to ground (metal casing of fridge) but would still operate just fine... That is as long as the ground wire of the power plug was removed... Hook up the ground wire and the compressor would not start; it would try to but shut off with the current overload clicking the circuit open... Without the ground wire your fridge will operate as needed however you or someone you love runs the risk of becoming that ground wire (path to ground) when you reach to open the door or simply lean against the fridge... If any accessible wiring or switches are causing the short, they can be repaired/replaced... If it is a hermetic compressor with an indirect ground then it must be replaced or the fridge disposed of... It will still cool fine but in my opinion it ain't worth risking someone's life over... cheers kooler
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:46 AM
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Take kooler's advice and get this either fixed or replace the unit ASAP.

You are only getting a slight shock because you are not grounded.
If you do ground yourself perhaps by also touching another appliance that is grounded you could get a nasty shock.
It may not kill you but if this happens to a child or someone with a heart problem then the results can be deadly!!!
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