7 Considerations When Choosing A Wine Cellar Cooling Unit

12th April 2021


When you have a collection of wine at home or eager to start one soon, it’s crucial to keep them in a space with the right conditions by having a wine cellar cooling system. If you’re starting with a few bottles or already have hundreds, the right cooling system is important in maintaining the quality of your liquor. Regardless of the exterior environmental setting, a wine cellar cooling system can effectively maintain the right level of temperature and humidity necessary to safeguard and age your wine in the best way possible.  

Due to the variety of cooling systems available in the market, you might find it challenging to select the right one for your wine cellar. It would be best if you first start with the basics to know how the systems work.

What Is A Cellar Cooling System? 

A wine cellar cooling system is a specialized system maintaining proper temperature and humidity conditions for wine cellars, wine cabinets, and other specialty refrigeration applications. Factors such as temperature and humidity are vital in keeping wine and other items such as cigars and fur at optimal conditions for years to come. 

When your objective is to store wines in the best conditions, a wine cellar should maintain a temperature ranging between 45-64° F along with a relative humidity of 50-70%. Nevertheless, an essential aspect is to have these conditions consistent in which a cellar cooling system is capable of providing. If you’re eager to know more about reliable wine cellar cooling units, you can learn more at Wine Cellar HQ for other information.  

How A Cellar Cooling System Works

Like a standard air conditioner, wine cellar cooling systems work by making the air cooler eliminate unnecessary water content. During the process, it removes less water since they also have to maintain the proper humidity level in the wine cellar. The main components of the system include a compressor, metering device, condenser, and evaporator coil.  

The refrigeration process starts in the compressor as it draws in low-pressure gas from the evaporator coil. It compresses the air into a high-pressure liquid by shifting air throughout the coils. The liquid passes through the metering device, which causes a drop in pressure. The low-pressure liquid would move into the evaporator coil, soaking up the heat and driving cooler air back into the wine cellar.  

As self-contained and split cooling systems propel cool air into a wine cellar, it also produces heat on the other side. If the room where the unit vents out isn’t large enough, the heat won’t disperse properly. Sadly, the exhaust room will endure too much heat, causing the unit to operate constantly and become overworked, resulting in a drop in efficiency over time.


Types Of Wine Cellar Cooling Systems 

There are various kinds of wine cellar cooling systems you could choose from. Considering each other’s advantages and disadvantages, you could pick what’s best for your household:


  • Self-Contained or Through-the-wall Cooling System 

A self-contained cooling unit stands alone and strikingly resembles an air conditioning unit in a window. It’s also popular as a through-the-wall unit since it’s often mounted and vented via walls. If you consider this type of unit, there should be enough ventilation to keep the space at the right temperature. 

The system is the ideal choice if you have a limited budget or a small wine cellar. Additionally, the ease of installation and maintenance makes it a popular choice.

Both the evaporator and condenser are in the same structure. The compact design of this cooling system allows hassle-free installation and maintenance. Also, a self-contained cooling system doesn’t involve any ductwork or refrigeration lines.


  • Least expensive cooling option 
  • Requires only minor renovation to space 


  • Optimal only for a small wine cellar  
  • Noisiest cooling option 
  • Aesthetic concern with the unit protruding out from the wall 


  • Ducted cooling system 

A ducted cooling system is an ideal choice if you don’t want any unsightly unit or equipment within your wine cellar. When you choose a cooling system utilizing the duct system, you can position the unit away from the cellar yet still provide the right environment.  

Evaporator and condensers are usually located outside, typically in a place not affected by the sun. The evaporator is linked to the condenser through a line set as the condenser supplies and garners air from the wine cellar via ducting.  

A ducted cooling system is the best option if you want a subtle design. Also, it generates the least number of vibrations that can affect your wine collection. 


  • Quiet operation 
  • Potential to integrate temperature control 
  • Minimal aesthetic footprint 
  • Ideal for big areas 


  • Costly installation 
  • Requires the services of an HVAC professional 
  • Needs full access behind the walls or ceiling 


  • Ductless split system 

A ductless split cooling system is the ideal choice for wine cellars without proper ventilation. In this cooling system, the condensing unit is separate as the evaporator coil component is usually within the cellar. The compressor, fan, and coil of the cooling unit are outside or adjacent to your cellar.  

This type of configuration helps supply the model with the right degree of ventilation to ensure optimum functioning since a bendable hose or refrigeration line will link the external unit to the interior component. When it comes to efficiency and a longer life span, a ductless split system is the best option.  

Additionally, since these parts are in a different space, your wine cellar will have minimal noise and vibration, unlike a self-contained cooling system.


  • A reasonable option if self-contained system isn’t enough 
  • Capable of cooling big spaces 
  • Quiet operation 
  • Requires minimal access to install the line set 


  • Evident ecological footprint 
  • A separate system is necessary for temperature control  
Wine Cellars

Wine Cellars


What Factors To Look For In A Cooling System 

Aside from the type of cooling system, there are also other considerations you need to think about when choosing the suitable one for your wine cellar. Here are some of them:

  1. Noise Level 

Primarily, the chief factor you need to consider in choosing is the noise level. Today, most manufacturers create the product functioning quietly and won’t disrupt the ambiance of your house. Certain brands have quiet units with top venting.  

  1. Digital Temperature Control And Display 

A wine cellar cooling unit with an electronic temperature control along with a digital display should also be important when selecting one for your cellar. These features would let you have better and accurate control over temperature and humidity levels to avoid unnecessary fluctuations in your wines’ storage environment. 

A digital display is also an extra benefit since it allows you to quickly check and gauge the setting of your wine cellar at all times. Try to look also for units with generator in case of power outages.

  1. Ease of Repair

If you want your cellar at home to age your wine collection effectively for many years, it’s crucial to choose a cooling system that isn’t complicated to maintain or replace if any problems occur or when it starts to wear down. Remember, replacing the cooler alone is more cost-effective than having the entire wine cellar replaced.  

  1. Price 

The price of a cooling unit tends to vary due to various factors such as: 

  • Size

The cooling units are capable of accommodating a specific thermal load that comes in British Thermal Unit (BTU). If you want to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in an extensive wine cellar with greater thermal loads, a unit will require more cooling power. 

  • Powerful Unit

When a cooling unit boasts a higher power capacity, it’s likely to have a higher price tag, especially the more extensive cellars. 

  • Unit Type

A self-contained cooling unit is the most affordable option, while the split and ducted cooling systems are more complex. Both cooling systems are more costly, not only the price of the unit but also the installation.  

  • Indoor Or Outdoor

An indoor unit is usually available at a more affordable price than those with outdoor equipment. The reason why outdoor models have a higher price is due to additional parts and coatings necessary to endure weather elements.

  • Voltage

In most cases, cooling systems with 110V power typically comes at an affordable price than 220V power units. 

  • Listed And Unlisted equipment

Not all manufacturers have their equipment listed or have undergone testing and certification to comply with the standards. Essentially, the listed equipment will have a higher price tag than the unlisted ones. However, the listed equipment will be safer and a better option in the long run. 

  • Warranty And Customer Support

Different manufacturers in the cooling unit industry offer a variety of customer support, and the length of warranty and manufacturer’s customer service level typically correlate with the overall price of the equipment. Generally, a unit with a higher price will provide you better support if you encounter problems along the way. 

  1. Upgrades 

Some upgrades and additional options are essential to ensure the cooling unit’s proper installation in your wine cellar. Other upgrades add convenience to the equipment for better performance. In most instances, these will add extra cost to your cooling unit.  

If you decide to wait until your cooling unit arrives to check the options you need, always ask the manufacturer which suitable options are necessary before they ship the equipment because some specific add-ons require installation at the factory. Once the equipment is shipped, it might not be possible to modify the unit based on your preferences.  

  1. Humidification And Heating 

When your wine cellar is in a low-humidity location, you need to add the right level of humidity. Some cooling units often include a humidification upgrade, and it links to a water line that imparts and maintains humidity within the wine cellar.  

When the space around your cellar doesn’t have proper temperature control and drops below the suitable temperature level, you might need a cooling unit that could also generate heat. Even though most cooling systems provide cooling without heating, some have a heating upgrade to provide an ample amount of heat once it drops below the desired wine cellar temperature

  1. Installation 

When installing a cooling system in your wine cellar, it’s vital to provide proper insulation, seals for the door frames, and moisture barriers. Here are the types of unit you could choose from: 

  • Self-contained Units

This type of cooling system is the easiest to install as it requires minimal setup. The professional will create an opening in the wall that’s slightly larger than the cooling unit to position and slide the cooler into the slot until the rear part is flat to the external wall. 

The cooling until should protrude into the cellar at a minimum of 8 inches. You can support the front of the cooling system in various ways such as mounting clips into the wall or ceiling, cellar shelving, and many more. Tape up any openings to ensure a sealed environment in the wine cellar. 

  • Split System Units

A split cooling system requires a professional to handle the installation. The evaporator needs to be mounted within the cellar using brackets while the condenser is connected to the evaporator with the line set. It’s important to note the line set is double copper tubing with refrigerant. Lastly, the condenser and evaporator link via wiring or valve controls should condensate the drain exits at the back part of the evaporator.  

  • Ducted System Units

As a complex type of cooling system, it requires indoor and outdoor installation. A professional can configure it with self-contained and split cooling units. It’s best to set the task aside for a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to handle the installation efficiently. 



If it’s your first time buying a wine cellar cooling unit or eager to replace a worn-out cooling system, these considerations would come in handy. Having adequate knowledge about what to look for in the product would guide in proper selection.

Although choosing the ideal unit can be challenging, taking note of these will help you make the right choice. 

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