WhisperKOOL wants our customers to be as well-informed as possible about the business of storing, cooling, and aging wine. With that goal in mind, we’ve put together a list of six easy-to-remember preventative maintenance tips for your wine cellar cooling unit. These tips should help you keep your cooling unit running at maximum capacity and safeguard your investment in fine wine.
Tip #1: Ensure that the unit has adequate ventilation.
Ventilation is absolutely vital to the proper function and longevity of a wine cellar cooling unit. The unit must have adequate airflow or it will run more frequently, run less efficiently, and may even prematurely malfunction. Make sure that the unit has at least five feet of clearance on all sides.
For self-contained units (mounted through walls), make sure that the front and back of the unit have at least five feet of clearance, and the unit is mounted no more than 18 inches from the ceiling.
For split systems, ensure that the condensing unit has five feet of clearance on all sides, whether it’s mounted in an uninsulated room (such as a utility room) or outdoors. Even something as simple as tall grass or cobwebs can impair airflow to the unit and cause long-term damage. Simple preventative maintenance to the area where the unit is installed will save time and trouble.
Tip #2: Clean the evaporator and condenser coils.
The efficiency and operation of the cooling unit also depend on the cleanliness of the evaporator and condenser coils. Dust and other debris collects on the coils over time and can negatively impact the cooling capacity of your unit. For this reason, it’s important to clean the coils on a regular basis (every few months). You can spray compressed air through the coils while the system is running. Or you can turn the system off and use a vacuum hose with a brush attachment to clean the coils.
Tip #3: Verify that the drain line is free of obstructions.
Cooling units naturally produce condensate during operation. Your unit’s drain line helps direct excess condensate (water) away from the unit to a safe disposal area. If the drain line becomes fouled by mold, insects, or other debris, it can become clogged, causing water to overflow the drain pain inside your cooling unit. This can potentially cause water damage to your unit, your racking system, your wine bottle labels, and your cellar itself.
To avoid condensate overflow, make sure that your drain pan and drain line are clear of all obstructions and build-up. Every three months, inspect the drain pan and drain line for mold, bugs, and other clogging agents. Drop pan tabs into the drain pan to help combat mold growth, and detach the drain line and clean with soapy water.
Tip #4: If the unit is ducted, replace the filters regularly.
Clogged duct filters can also hamper the efficiency of a unit and shorten its lifespan. It’s a good idea to replace these filters on a quarterly basis. Filters for the Extreme tiR unit are available on our website.
Tip #5: If the unit is ducted, inspect the ductwork for cracks or leaks.
Ductwork is subject to wear and tear. The slightest leak or tear in the ducting can have the unpleasant side effect of reducing the cooling capacity of the unit. This may cause the unit to run an excessively long span of time. To protect your wines, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect all ducting for leaks or cracks.
Tip #6: Remove the grille and wash the filter with soap and water (Platinum 4000, 8000, and Mini Split only).
This tip refers to WhisperKOOL units specifically, but may also apply to other wall-mounted split systems. WhisperKOOL units with wall-mounted evaporators have a detachable front grille. Beneath this grille is a filter. As with the paper filters on the ducted units, it’s a good idea to inspect this filter on a quarterly basis and make sure it’s clean. The filter can be cleaned with soap and water, dried, and replaced inside the evaporator unit.
It is WhisperKOOL’s hope that these six preventative maintenance tips will help your cooling unit running efficiently and safely. At WhisperKOOL, our highest priority is the safety of your wine collection. For these and other educational wine storage and wine cooling posts, stay tuned to the WhisperKOOL blog and subscribe to our email list. Also, don’t forget to check out our website for the latest cooling solutions and wine cellaring information.