Once you’ve identified what your needs are for building a wine cellar that fits your lifestyle, the next thing to consider is the wine cellar cooling unit.
First of all, here’s a brief explanation of the 3 different types of wine cellar cooling units available to you:
Wine cellar cooling unit self-contained/through-the-wall
A one piece unit that mounts through the wall and vents to another room. This is usually the least expensive and simpler of the three.
Wine cellar cooling unit split system
The evaporator and condenser are separate units, which means that the evaporator installs in the cellar, while the noisy condenser can be mounted in another area away from the cellar.
Wine cellar cooling unit ducted system
Both condenser and evaporator can be installed away from the cellar, where the heat and air are exchanged via ducting.
With the types in mind, let’s take a look at choosing the right cooling unit for your space.
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This will be dependent on the type of unit you choose, the cooling requirements of the cellar and dependability of the unit.
The cost of installation is covered below.
Can the unit be easily maintained and serviced? The self-contained unit is cheaper to buy, but it may need to be sent to the manufacturer for servicing. This means removal from the wall and costly shipping.
Because your wine cellar cooler unit will be running 70-80% of the time, it will be a major power consumer.
The unit’s size, what it needs to cool and the area of coverage will determine how much power is used. This is covered in the next point.
“This is important to note: make sure a dedicated 110 volt 20 amp circuit is available or can be installed.”
Your wine cellar cooler needs to offset heat generation and heat absorption. Consider these 5 things when choosing size:
• The size of your wine collection – a large collection = higher absorption
• The room size – in cubic feet
• The room location – is it above or below ground?
• The ambient temperature – is the cellar naturally cool or warm?
• Any heat bearing items like windows, doors, and lighting
Like home A/C, the cooler needs to fit the area it’s going to cool.
If the unit is too big, the room could cool down too fast and be inadequately dehumidified creating a high humidity situation.
Conversely, too small and there’s not enough cooling power. The unit would run longer than normal as it fights to keep a constant room temperature.
This could affect your wine by inflicting many temperature variations during the day and increase power costs.
Excessive cooling like this lowers the humidity causing cork cracking or crumbling and spoilage due to exposure to oxygen.
When shopping for your cooling unit, check on the requirements for installation. Will you need a licensed HVAC tech to put it in?
Or can you DIY or hire a handyman to install it? If you hire someone, remember to add that to your cost list.
If you prefer to install yourself, a self-contained system is the best choice. You likely won’t need a licensed technician and it can be mounted between the studs of a wall in the cellar.
Humidity should be kept to around 75%. If the cellar is in a dry area, you may need to install a separate humidifier. Some manufacturers will offer a humidification option on their units.
Noise might be an issue if the unit can’t be insulated enough. If so, consider a model that can be installed away from the cellar.
A split cooling or ducted system could be your solution. The split unit evaporator can be installed in the cellar because it’s quiet.
The condenser can be mounted away from the cellar in a garage, on a rooftop or other suitable room. This would give it space to easily dissipate heat and noise.
The units are connected by electrical wiring and copper tubing.
The ducted system allows both parts of the system to be located elsewhere while exchanging hot and cool air via ducting in the cellar.
The ducted setup gives the cellar a cleaner look and more room.
Koolr is a Canadian manufacturer with 25 years experience in wine storage. They produce quiet, smart wine cooling solutions with a selection of cabinets, small coolers and racking to fit your needs.
Made in Petaluma, California, CellarPro began building wine cabinets. When they couldn’t find any cooling systems that satisfied their expectation, they designed their own.
CellarPro has a selection of coolers in all three types of wine cellar cooling units. Ranging from 250 to 15000 cu ft. with most units having a 5-year warranty.
With over 20 years in wine cellar cooling, WhisperKOOL has a wide range of experience with contractors and customers. This experience that has guided cooler development.
Manufactured in Stockton, CA, WhisperKOOL uses an in-house testing facility that allows them to experiment with any environment during product development.
This lets them maintain a continuous development cycle in all 3 types of cooling units.
WhisperKOOL has self-contained units and split and ducted systems that can cover a cellar size range of 500 cu. Ft. to 2000 cu. Ft. and use a liquid probe thermometer that allows an accurate measure of in bottle wine temperature.
Made in the US by industry leader WhisperKool, CellarCool’s wine cellar cooling units cover cellar sizes of 350 to 4000 cu ft. A typical ducted unit isn’t part of their line. Their take on the ducted model is a self-contained unit that can be mounted up to 25 feet away.
Most units use liquid bottle probes for accurate in bottle wine temperature as apposed to ambient air temperature.
Made in the US, Wine Guardian offers a large selection of wine cellar coolers. Billed as quietly energy efficient, Wine Guardian’s line spans the range from home cellars to commercial installations.
They provide 2 of the typical cooling unit types – through-the-wall and split. Their ducted models are self-contained and install away from the cellar.
Wine Guardian will also customize a unit for you with available options in addition such as remote monitoring and humidification.