Wine Cellar Cooling 101

If you’re like most wine connoisseurs, you have a lot invested in your wine collection. Unfortunately, with an improperly installed wine cellar refrigeration system, your long-stayed collection runs the risk of turning sour. How can you protect your prized collection and still realize the wine cellar of your dreams?

Wine Cellar 101

Go with a pro.
Each cellar faces a unique set of challenges during construction. A wine cellar HVAC professional will have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you identify and address each, ensuring the most effective and efficient storage environment.

Educate yourself on essential wine storage conditions.
This includes ideal storage temperature: 55 degrees Fahrenheit; as well as recommended humidity levels necessary to preserve corks against drying, shrinkage and cracks which allow for flavor destroying oxygen exposure, as well as mold and mildew proliferation on labels. In areas where relative humidity drops below 50%, built-in humidity control is strongly suggested.

Feel the heat.
Heat dissipation is critical to cooler performance. Improperly vented, the lifespan of your cooling unit can be put at risk. Ensure the temperature differential is adequate for the desired storage temperature (55 degrees). For example, exhausting your system in a 90 degree environment with a 30 degree temperature differential will only allow you the ability to cool to 60 degrees, making a higher temperature differential a necessity. Luckily your wine cellar professional can help you circumnavigate such installation quandaries.

Understand the nature of the beast, and design for it.
Cooling units are designed to keep things cooled 24/7, 365 days a year. Akin to a walk-in refrigerator, they will run 50-70% of the time to accomplish this – and will make noise while doing so. How much depends upon the location of your cellar and the cooling system exhaust, which will vary based on your chosen system (split or ducted). If noise is of particular concern, make this a predominant factor in the design of your system.

Don’t try to cut corners.
A vapor barrier, framed walls, and insulation are all necessities for proper wine cellar construction. Concrete walls are not appropriate, as they absorb cooling. Remember, the more water and airtight your cellar, the better your performance will be. This equates to less in energy costs, and less wear-and-tear on a unit that is forced to run more frequently to maintain temperature. Additionally, your cooler will also require a dedicated circuit, and properly connected and functioning drain line.

Realize you can’t “get it and forget it.”
Cooling units require annual maintenance and inspections, as well as the daily monitoring of temperature and humidity to ensure the longevity of your wine. If things are looking a little off, emergency service is strongly recommended.

At H&H Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer the widest range of temperature control systems in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and take the time to understand the intricacies of each unique installation. Protect your prized collection and your investment. Contact H&H and schedule your free wine cellar cooling unit installation quote today.