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Wine Cellar Cooling Facts and Fundamentals

Wine Cellar

Learning these key points could save
you money and your wine collection.

  1. Consult a wine cellar professional
    Every wine cellar has a unique set of challenges that need to be identified during construction. A cellar professional will help you to address all of the variables that are associated with creating the most efficient cellar environment.
  2. Cooling units make noise
    Our units are designed to be as efficient as possible, but all cooling units generate noise from the compressor and airflow through the fans. You need to consider the location of the cellar and the cooling unit exhaust, particularly when installing a self-contained unit. If noise in these areas is not acceptable, consider a split or ducted system. For more information, please visit our Sound Levels page.
  3. Cooling units run the majority of the time
    The amount of time that any cooling system will operate is dependent on the cellar design, the size of the unit, and the ventilation environment. Because your cellar is comparable to a walk-in refrigerator, the unit will operate as needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your unit will run 50% to 70% of the time on average in order to maintain the correct temperature.
  4. Cooling units generate a large amount of heat
    As the unit cools the cellar by absorbing heat from the air, the condenser must reject the heat created during operation. It is critically important that the heat be dissipated effectively from the unit in order to maximize performance. Failure to provide proper ventilation will compromise the wine cellar environment and shorten the lifespan of the cooling unit.
  5. Temperature differential
    This critical specification for a cooling unit plays a major role in its ability to cool your cellar to the desired 55°F for wine storage. The temperature differential is the difference a unit can cool from the area it is exhausting into. For example, a unit with a 30°F temperature differential will only be able to cool a cellar down to 60°F if the exhaust environment is 90°F. For exterior exhausting applications a 55°F or higher temperature differential is highly recommended.
  6. Humidity
    Precise control of humidity is essential in maintaining perfect wine cellar conditions. A cellar with high humidity may stimulate mold and mildew growth, which can develop on wine labels and throughout the cellar. In a cellar with low humidity, tops of corks will dry out, shrink, and crack, allowing oxygen to come into contact with the wine. Prolonged oxygen exposure will destroy the complex flavors, and will eventually spoil your wine collection. All WhisperKOOL cooling systems will maintain temperature as well as remove excess humidity. In cellars with too little humidity, our ACH550 and Built-In Humidity option are able to add the right amount of moisture. This is especially critical in areas where relative humidity drops below 50%.
  7. Insulation affects cooling unit performance
    The more insulation you have, the more efficient your cellar will be. Without insulation, your cooling unit will work harder to maintain the proper temperature. This results in a shorter lifespan for the unit. Note: concrete walls are not appropriate for a wine cellar, as they absorb cooling. Your cellar requires framed walls with insulation.
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  1. Install a vapor barrier
    Just as you need insulation to help regulate cellar temperature, you must install a vapor barrier to help your cooling unit maintain the proper humidity. Lack of a vapor barrier will result in improper humidity and will compromise the wine storage environment. Consult your local regulations and building ordinances for proper vapor barrier installation.
  2. Cooling units eventually require mechanical service
    As mentioned above, cooling units run about 50% to 70% of the time. Consider if other appliances in your house ran almost constantly… how long would they last? With proper installation and maintenance, in a properly designed wine cellar your WhisperKOOL unit should operate for 35,000 hours before mechanical service is required.
  3. Redundant cooling systems for high value collections
    If cooling failure occurs for any reason, a redundant system will keep your cellar environment from being compromised. Redundancy can be a second cooling unit, or the home A/C system can be used. A backup generator is a good idea in case of power failure. You should have some kind of contingency plan in place in case of electrical or mechanical failure in the cellar. For more information, please visit our Redundant Systems page.
  4. Your cooling unit requires a dedicated electrical circuit
    Running lights or appliances on the same circuit as your cooling unit can cause the unit to underperform and increases the risk of tripping the circuit breaker. Always use a dedicated circuit for your cooling unit. If you have any questions, consult an electrician.
  5. You must connect your drain line
    WhisperKOOL cooling units are designed to maintain proper humidity in your wine cellar. This process involves evaporation and condensation, and creates moisture. Your cooling unit requires a drain line. It is critical that the drain line is connected at all times to ensure that there is no water damage to the walls and other components of the wine cellar. Failure to properly install the drain line will void your warranty and can lead to mold and mildew growth.
  6. Consider an annual inspection service
    In addition to the standard maintenance procedures as outlined in the Owner’s Manual, it is recommended that a certified HVAC/R technician perform an annual inspection of your cooling unit.