Cassidy on March 6, 2014 1 Comment Ensure every ounce of wine in your cellar is protected with a wine cellar cooling system. Whether your collection is made up of hundreds or thousands of bottles, a proper cooling system is the most important aspect of your cellar. No matter what the external environmental conditions are, a cellar cooling system maintains the precise temperature and humidity levels needed to gently preserve and age your wine. We’ve compiled the most comprehensive information on cellar cooling options, relative humidity, proper cellar conditions and BTU sizing guides to help you understand and choose the best cooling system for your cellar. Find Your Wine Cellar Cooling Unit Here What is a Cellar Cooling System? Wine cellar coolers are specialized systems built to keep proper temperature & humidity conditions for wine cellars, wine cabinets, and other specialty refrigeration applications. Important factors such as temperature and humidity are crucial to keeping wine, furs, cigars etc. at the optimal conditions. To keep wines in the best conditions for temperature and aging, cellars need to be kept between 45–64°F and 50–70% relative humidity. However, the most important aspect is to have these conditions remain consistent, which a cellar cooling system is designed to ensure. How do cellar cooling systems protect your wine? Like a typical air conditioner, cellar cooling systems cool the air by removing water from the air, though they remove much less because they’re also engineered to maintain humidity levels in your cellar. The primary components include a compressor, condenser, metering device and evaporator coil. The refrigeration process starts with the compressor, which pulls in a low pressure/low temperature gas from the evaporator coil. It then compresses this air into a high pressure/high temperature ware liquid by moving air across the coils. The liquid then moves to the metering device, causing a drop in pressure to a low pressure/low temperature liquid which then moves into the evaporator coil absorbing heat out and pushing cooler air back into the room. An important note to keep in mind, as the self-contained and split systems push cool air into a wine cellar, it generates at least as much (if not more) heat on the other side, so if the room where the unit exhausts to isn’t large enough, the heat isn’t allowed to disperse, the exhaust room will take on too much heat, causing the unit to run constantly and eventually become overworked. What are the different types of cellar coolers? I. Self-Contained These units stand alone and work well in wine cabinets and some wine rooms with sufficient ventilation. Different from a split system, the two main parts (Evaporator and Compressor) are enclosed in one piece and are made to be mounted through the wall. Self-contained systems are normally the most inexpensive and easiest to install. II. Split System Split Systems separate the evaporator and the condensing unit into two detached housings, keeping the noise and heat from living spaces. Split systems were made for cellars where proper ventilation is not directly available and are the most flexible option in terms of installation. This option is great for the collector whose wine cellar backs up to a garage or other room where excess noise isn’t a problem. A wide variety of mounts and BTUs are available, making it possible to mount on ceiling, walls or with a rack. III. Ducted System Ducted Systems use connections to link an outside cooling unit to the cellar. This option offers the ability for outdoor or indoor placement, is space saving, and will reduce noise in your cellar or wine room. What information should I know before I start looking for a cellar cooler? When shopping for a cellar cooling unit you need to first compile the following information: Is the unit going to be installed into a wine room or wine cabinet? How many cubic feet is the wine cellar? What is the **R-Value of the insulation inside the ceiling and walls? (Keep in mind, the more insulated your cellar, the more efficient your cooling unit will run.) Where is the unit going to be exhausting to (adjacent room, the exterior, another room that is not adjacent, ducted or exhausted into a non-adjacent room)? What is your desired temperature inside in the cellar? What is the ambient temperature of the room or space it is exhausting to (during the warmest time of the year)? **Insulation R-Value is the measurement of how well the materials, i.e. insulation, used in your building, home etc., can resist heat. A higher R-value means better insulation. How do I install a cellar cooler? Installation begins with ensuring the room in which the unit is going to be installed is constructed properly with appropriate insulation, moisture barriers, and seals for door frames. Through-the-wall self-contained units are the easiest to install and require little set up. After ensuring your room is up to the standards above, an opening slightly larger than the unit will need to be cut in the wall where the unit will be positioned. Slide the cooler into the opening until the back is flat to the external wall. The cooling unit should stick out into the cellar at least 8 inches. The front of the cooling system can be supported in a variety of ways – cellar shelving, mounting clips built into framing in the wall or ceiling, etc. After this has been completed, be sure that any openings are taped up to keep a sealed environment in the cellar. Split systems are more complex and thus more difficult to install because they required a refrigeration tech to charge and fit the unit. The evaporator mounts inside the cellar with mounting brackets and the condenser is connected to the evaporator, up to 100 feet away, with the line set. The line-set is double copper tubing fully charged with refrigerant by an HVAC technician. Lastly the condensing and evaporator are connected through wiring or valve controls and a condensate drain exit the back of the evaporator. Ducted/air handler systems ducted systems are designed for indoor and outdoor installation and can be configured with split and self-contained units. It is important to contact both a contractor and licensed HVAC professional to help with the installation of these models. Here at Wine Cooler Direct, we pride ourselves on not only having a wide variety of cellar coolers, but also having all the information you need to find the perfect cellar cooling system for you. Hopefully this guide helps you to either begin or complete your cellar cooler selection process, and if you have any lingering questions, leave us a comment below.