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Choosing a Wine Cellar Cooling System

June 21, 2013

Choosing a Wine Cellar Cooling System

A healthy wine cellar mimics the legendary wine caves of France; a sturdy base provided by strong wine racks and an ideal balance of temperature and humidity within a controlled environment. The temperature within these caves is 55 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 60%; perfect for the aging of wine. If you are not lucky enough to own an underground cave in France (most of us are not), then the alternative solution is to add a cooling system to your cellar.
Wine cellar cooling systems are like special air conditioners for cellars. They have the basic parts; an evaporator coil to cool the air and condense as well as a condenser coil which uses a compressor to remove the heat in the room. Programmed to operate within a designated range, they turn on when the room is too warm and switch off when the temperature is low. Hot air is exchanged for cool air, allowing wine to age gracefully at the right temperature.

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Some cellar owners may be tempted to purchase a standard air conditioner to cool their cellar, but this is strongly discouraged. In general, an air conditioner does not maintain humidity; creating a dry environment that can dry out corks, allowing air to leak into the bottles.

Types of wine cellar cooling systems:
Self-Contained: These stand-alone and economical cooling systems are ideal for wine cabinets or smaller cellars with adequate ventilation. While many self-contained units do not require professional installation, proper placement is critical. Since the unit will be located inside the wine cellar, it should be installed where it will not interfere with racks while following clearance guidelines. Self-contained systems can also produce slightly more noise than a split or ducted system since all the parts are positioned inside the cellar. Though they may be fairly compact in size, they are powerful. Apex offers a range of self-contained cooling units from 1500BTU to 8500BTU with the ability to cool anywhere from 800 bottles to 8500 bottles.
Split System:Split systems can be used for a variety of wine room sizes. They are called “split” because the condenser and evaporator are separated. The condenser must be placed outside and up to 50 feet away from the cellar. They are designed to withstand wide temperature fluctuations during winter and summer months. Split systems can be installed as wall-mount, ceiling-mount, or rack-mount. Installation must be handled by a licensed technician. Their power ranges from 1500 to 8500 BTU with the ability to sustain temperature and humidity for 800 to 6500 bottles; perfect for small to medium sized wine cellars where a ducted system is not feasible.
Ducted System:Ducted systems allow for a variety of placements, both indoor and outdoor. They can be installed away from the cellar and concealed easily. A grill is installed inside the wall of the cellar and is then connected by insulated ductwork to the self contained unit which houses the evaporator, fan, and condenser. The result is a quiet cellar with minimal noise. These systems can cool a variety of cellar sizes and are very powerful; 2500 BTU to 8500 BTU with the ability to cool 1200 to 8500 bottles. If you have a large collection and large wine cellar, a ducted system is great option.
At Apex we use the highest quality materials to manufacture our cellar cooling systems as well as a talented team of technicians to construct and install these specialized units. We even handcraft custom wood grilles that can mask your cellar cooling system to ensure it will not detract from the design of your cellar. If you’re having trouble choosing the right cooling system or would like to learn more, please contact an Apex agent. We’re here to meet all your cellaring needs.
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