how to defrost a wine refrigerator cooler
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How to Defrost a Wine Refrigerator? – Detailed Guide

David J Sharp
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Wine refrigerators are a luxury item that can be a bit of a pain to maintain. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can defrost it.

If you are not using your wine fridge often, when you finally come around to using it, it can easily freeze, especially during the winter months. If this happens, you’ll need to thaw the appliance before it will work again. Otherwise, the temperature control functionality will not work and the unit will experience temperature fluctuations.

This is quite an inconvenience for all wine lovers & wine connoisseurs, but something that needs to be resolved, to ensure that your wine bottle collection of white wine, red wine and sparkling wines are kept in perfect condition.

There are a few steps to take when defrosting a wine fridge.

Below we will go through the steps for defrosting a wine fridge and how long you should wait between each step before proceeding to the next one.

Why Defrost a Wine Cooler?

It is very common for frost or ice buildup (usually in the form of ice crystals) to form on the back wall of wine coolers and wine cabinets when the units are switched on for the first time.

When you first receive the unit, the door will most likely be open quite often as you load new bottles or wine, remove the packaging or re-arrange your shelving. 

The internal humidity of the wine cooler may be influenced by humid air entering from outside the cabinet. Sensors ensure the wine cooler doesn’t exceed excessive levels and maintains humidity between 50 and 80%. A wine cooler could freeze if moist, cold air enters the unit during the cooling cycle. When this occurs, water molecules could condense and potentially freeze on the back wall. 

Why does my wine fridge keep freezing

WIne bottles that are placed right below cold airflow in a wine cellar will restrict the airflow, resulting in a backup of the cooling unit, which will cause ice buildup to form.

To resolve this you’ll have to defrost the unit. The first step is simply to unplug the wine fridge from the power source and leave it powered off for at least 8 hours or overnight so the ice can melt. Be sure to follow the instructions that we’ve included further below.

When should you defrost your wine cooler?

Wine coolers should be defrosted if they are not working properly. If you notice that the temperature is not as cold as it should be, then the cooler may need to be defrosted.

In most cases, your wine cooler will not need to be manually defrosted, but there may be instances when it will need to be. It is possible that your unit may freeze up if the temperature is very low and/or it is located in an area with high humidity. Warm humid air can cause this if it enters the unit quicker than the cooling system can remove it. It is a good idea to limit the number of times the door is opened and closed.

The following instructions will show you how to manually defrost your appliance:

How long does it take to defrost a wine cooler?

This very much depends on the physical size of the wine fridge itself, large wine fridges will obviously take longer to defrost than small wine fridges. Size often correlated with bottle capacity, therefore a 300 bottle wine fridge would take a lot longer to defrost than a 50 bottle wine fridge. Additionally, the cooling type also correlated well with the physical size, with thermoelectric wine coolers only really being suitable for smaller units, unlike a compressor wine cooler system.

Also, the defrosting process can also be affected by the location where the wine cooler is placed, alongside the room’s humidity, etc.

How to Defrost a Wine Fridge?

  1. Empty the wine fridge of all bottles and store them properly.
  2. Unplug the power supply and turn off the unit.
  3. Allow the unit to warm completely inside by opening the door, waiting for it to reach room temperature. Collect melted ice and water using towels, pans, and basins.
  4. Make sure all frost has dissipated. The amount of time can vary from 24 to 48 hours depending on the humidity and temperature of the room where the unit is located.
  5. You can clean the inside of the unit by rubbing it with a soft cloth and cleaning it with a mixture of lukewarm water and baking soda (2 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart of water should work well).
  6. Then, take a soft cloth and dry it well.
  7. Ensure that the unit is completely dry before plugging in the power.
  8. Turn on the wine storage unit and test it by setting it at different temperatures.
  9. Be patient and allow the unit to cool to the desired temp
  10. Place your wine collection in it again.

Once you’ve followed the above steps, don’t forget to open a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc or pinot noir to celebrate!

We hope that this article guide has been of help. If you have any questions then please contact us, and we’ll add them to the article, so that we’re helping others who may have similar FAQs about defrosting a wine cooler.

David J Sharp is a wine equipment expert, having previously worked with some of the best wine cooler manufacturers within the USA. Today he works as a full-time wine cooler and wine cellar consultant for small and large clients alike. You can find out more about LoveCraftWines here.

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