Choose the best Climate Control System for your Wine Cellar

Congratulations, you are designing a new wine cellar and it is very exciting choosing wine racks, beautiful wood, stone, floor finishes, and wall colours, but stepping into the wild world of wine cellar climate control can be very confusing, when it comes to choosing the best wine cellar cooling unit for your application.

Do I want a self-contained system, a through the wall unit, a ducted wine cellar system or a split wine cellar system?

Let’s explore each system and review the advantages to choosing the best wine cellar cooling system for your project.

1.Through the wall wine cellar cooling units

Through the wall cooling units are probably the most common wine cellar cooling units available. These small wine cellar cooling units are simple to install, affordable, do not require n HVAC technician, and easily replaced if they malfunction.  They are typically 14 ½ inches wide and designed to fit between the studs of standard wall construction and exhaust into an adjacent room space away from the wine cellar should be as large or larger than the wine cellar to allow for adequate ventilation. An informal room such as a mechanical room, laundry room or garage is ideal.

wine cellar climate control

They require a standard 15 amp 120-volt outlet and a place to run the condensate drain, usually a ½ inch vinyl tube.  These wine cellar cooling units come pre-charged and can usually be installed in a short amount of time by one person. The one disadvantage is that when they malfunction, they are difficult if impossible to repair.

WhisperKool and Wine Guardian are two top brands of these wine cellar cooling units.

2.Ducted self-contained wine cellar cooling system

About twenty years ago the self-contained ducted wine cellar cooling systems became available and have become the first choice for professionals designing and installing wine cellar climate control systems.  These units are best installed in medium-sized or larger wine cellar construction projects from 750-4000 cubic feet.

wine cellar cooling unit

Offering more cooling power, integrated heating and humidity control make these wine cellar units one of the most popular wine cellar climate control systems for larger or commercial wine cellar design.  One of the great advantages of these systems is the ability to access the unit for repair by the series of removable panels that allow a technician to access for recharging the coolant or replacing parts that may have malfunctioned.

These wine cellar cooling units come pre-charged and are installed in an adjacent space to the wine room and have a supply duct and a return duct running into the wine cellar. One or more supply grills can be run into the wine cellar for an evener temperature dispersion. The ducts need to be insulated, free from sharp bends and under 25 feet in length. Only the supply and return grills are visible in the wine cellar allowing for a more pleasing aesthetic in the wine cellar design.

Self-contained ducted wine cooler systems are the first choice for the  HVAC trade because of easy installation and a wide choice of mounting options.

The option of adding an integrated heater for cold climates or a humidifier unit makes these units a great choice for a more professional wine cellar design.

These wine cellar cooling systems usually come with a digital thermostat/ humidistat combination and control wiring for complete and ready to install convenience. The Wine Guardian brand is one of the leaders in this kind of system.

3.Ductless Split Wine Cellar Systems

A convenient configuration for many wine cellar cooling applications is a ductless Split System wine cellar climate control unit. In many cases, there is no room to run ductwork, and the ductless cooing unit is the only choice. Available for small to medium-sized wine rooms, the system consists of two main components.

ductless split system whisperkool

The evaporator that consists of a controller, cooling coil, and fan in a housing that is mounted in the wine cellar space, and the compressor that can be located in a remote mechanical room or outside to dissipate the heat and noise. If mounted inside, the compressor needs enough room for adequate ventilation and to dissipate the heat. Usually, space needs to be as large or larger in cubic feet as the wine cellar.

Two insulated copper tube is run between the compressor and the evaporator and the whole system is charged with a coolant. Installation of these spit wine cellar cooling systems is performed by a licensed HVAC technician. Mounting the evaporator high in the wine room is important as cool air falls. Also, there will be the need to plan for the condensate drain, usually a ½ inch vinyl tube.

Two well-regarded brands of the wine cellar cooling system are Wine Guardian and WhisperKool.

4.Ducted Split Wine cellar systems

The most sophisticated systems for wine cellar climate control are the ducted split wine cellar systems.  Often the first choice for restaurant wine cellars and larger private wine collections, split system cooling units are the most aesthetically pleasing as there only needs to be two grills in the wine cellar for the supply and return ducts.

ductless split system whisperkool

These wine cellar cooling systems also offer the most options such as heat, integral humidifiers, and remote controls that can be mated to whole-house control systems. They also come with temperature and humidity control and control wiring.

The evaporator can be mounted next to or near the wine cellar, supply and return ducts are run into the wine cellar and two copper set lines are run to a remote compressor either in a mechanical room or outside. As in ductless split wine cellar cooling, the compressor needs enough ventilation to dissipate the heat generated.

The mechanical room needs to be as large as or larger than the total cubic footage of the wine room. Installed by a professional licensed HVAC technician, one is assured of a quiet, long-lasting and reliable wine cellar control solution.

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