Whether you are an avid wine-lover or take to wine collection as a hobby, you probably already recognize the importance of a proper cellar cooling system. A good cooling system is probably the most important aspect of your cellar since it maintains the ideal conditions necessary to preserve your wine. Considering this obvious importance of a cellar cooling system, you want to get a proper one. This article is written specifically to help with that task, so read on to understand how to search for a good cellar cooling system.
WHAT IS A CELLAR COOLING SYSTEM?
Cellar cooling systems are specialized systems designed to maintain the proper temperature and humidity for wine cellars and other specialty refrigeration applications. Temperature, humidity and such other factors are necessary to keep your wine at optimal conditions. The way these cooling systems work is somewhat similar to typical air conditioners. This, however, does not mean that an air conditioner can replace a specialized cellar cooling system. This is because cellar cooling systems are specifically engineered to maintain humidity levels in your cellar, so they don’t remove as much water as regular air conditioners.
The cooling systems use parts like the compressor, condenser, metering device, and evaporator coil to carry out refrigeration. Refrigeration is achieved when the compressor pulls in low-pressure gas from the evaporator coil and then compresses this air into a high-temperature ware liquid. The liquid moves into the metering device, causing a drop in pressure to a low-pressure liquid. It is the low-pressure liquid that moves into the evaporator coil and absorbs heat out, thereby cooling the room.
TYPES OF COOLING SYSTEMSSelf-contained: These are cooling units that stand alone. They are best suited for wine cabinets and wine rooms with adequate ventilation. This system is different from a split system because its compressor and evaporator are enclosed in a single piece and mounted through the wall like a window unit air-conditioners. These systems are usually the cheapest and are relatively easy to install. Before you go for self-contained units, it is important that consider their disadvantages. These units can be very noisy, and they also don’t work well with large cellars. Furthermore, when mounted on an interior wall, as is often the case, they vent heat and exhaust into the other room. Finally, if you pay attention to aesthetics, self-contained systems might not be the option for you as they stick out of the wall in a very unattractive way.
1. Split system: As noted earlier, in a split system, the evaporator and compressor are not placed in a single piece. Rather, they are housed in separate detached housings. Split systems are more suited for cellars that don’t have access to good ventilation. They are also quite flexible in installation as there are wide varieties that can be mounted on the ceiling, wall, or even with a rack. Split systems are the most cost-effective if you have a large cellar. However, you should know that split systems don’t control humidity and are louder than ducted units.
2. Ducted system: Ducted cooling systems can cool even the largest wine cellar. These systems make use of connections to link an external cooling unit to the cellar. This means there is no need to vent exhaust and hot air. You are also able to save space and reduce noise in your home. Ducted systems can be configured with split and self-contained systems. These systems are best if you have very large cellars with wine bottles that you plan to hold for many years. The major disadvantage here is that the systems require extensive in-wall installation of ductwork throughout the house, which is expensive. Also, the installation has to be done by HVAC professionals, thus, adding to the cost.
3. Wine Fridge: Wine fridges cannot be described as systems as they are more of appliances. Nevertheless, they remain an option for wine collectors, depending on their preferences. Wine cooler fridges could be built-in or freestanding, and they are usually more flexible in placement. Wine cooler fridges can be used for bottles that are likely to be served soon since they preserve the integrity of wine flavor in the short term.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Noise Level: You must consider the noise levels of your cooling system in relation to how much noise you are willing to tolerate. This way, you would avoid the possibility of making replacements out of frustration. Better still, go for systems that produce minimal noise. Many modern manufacturers have made great strides in making their cooling systems as quiet as possible. This is usually achieved by minimizing vibration and making the systems top venting. So, invest your time in getting the cooling system with the perfect noise level for you. It would be worth it in the long run.
Ease of Repair/Replacement: As with any other technological equipment, you should always consider the possibility of damage. Thus, it would help if you minimized the hassle you will go through to fix your cooling system in the occurrence of damage by considering this possibility at the point of purchase. It might be advisable to go for systems that are easier to access and replace. Usually, self-contained systems possess this quality as you can easily replace them without changing the entire wine cellar. In all, plan long-term when selecting your cooling system, since your cooling system is supposed to age your wine for years and years to come.
Electronic Temperature Control: It might be useful to look out for features like electronic temperature control and digital displays in cooling systems. They are usually a sign that the products are coming from a quality manufacturer. Also, it means the systems can be controlled easily and in a precise manner.
The best cooling system for your wine collection might vary depending on your cellar, noise tolerance, budget, and general preferences. Therefore, it is important to consider all the relevant factors before making your decision.