Freezer Mystery Solved

Gfci edited 03.23.10 I solved a mystery today. No, not the meaning of life. That’s next week. No, this has to do with a freezer and a bathroom.

You see, every now and then, all the food in our deep freezer starts to melt. That’s because home builders – either because of code or to save money – put ALL the ground-level garage outlets on one GFCI outlet.

For those who don’t know, GFCI’s are the outlets that have the black and red buttons that POP when you drop a hair dryer into a tub filled with water. Those who do know usually scream at the TV whenever someone “dies” that way.

In our rental house, the GFCI outlet is in the kids’ upstairs bathroom. So, whenever the freezer light fails to come on, I go there to restore power.

Stupid, I know, but short of running an extension cord along the ceiling of our garage to the Genie door-opener outlet, I’m not going to spend $200 on a rental house to install an always-on outlet.

So if I know all this, what’s the mystery? Well, I couldn’t figure out WHY the GFCI outlet kept popping. Was it the freezer sucking up too much power? Was it the night light bulb burning out and causing a short? Was it my cell phone charger outlet, which shares the same GFCI?

Well, this morning, I found the answer. I was walking by the bathroom while Lael was coming out. She mumbled something like, “who left the light on?” and proceeded to punch the TEST button on the GFCI outlet. (How did she know to do that?)

Off goes the nightlight and off goes the deep freezer. Doh! I explained nicely to Lael that the GFCI is NOT a light switch and to please never touch it again. Mystery solved.

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