Why is my Wine Fridge not Cooling Properly
Blog,  Wine Fridge Information

Why is my Wine Fridge not Cooling Properly?

David J Sharp
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This section is about why a wine fridge might not be cooling properly. It discusses the various reasons a wine fridge might stop cooling and what to do in this situation.

The introduction should cover the following points:

1) Introduction to Wine Fridges and their Purpose

A wine fridge is becoming a more popular kitchen appliance, especially for those who love to drink or collect wine themselves. To put it simply, it is used to keep wine fresh within a given temperature range, typically between 54-66 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the types of wine that you’re looking to store.

Storing red and white wine in a wine fridge is beneficial because it helps preserve the quality, taste, and clarity of the wine by maintaining a consistent temperature.

Wine fridges are most commonly stored in a kitchen, wine cellar, or a bar/restaurant, for commercial usage.

2) What are the potential problems that could lead to a Wine Fridge not being able to cool properly?

The problems with cooling wine properly can be as simple as not having the right temperature settings, or as complex as needing to change the refrigerant.

We’ve split this section of the article into the following:

  • General issues
  • Compressor wine cooler issues
  • Thermoelectric wine cooler issues

General Issues

The wrong temperature setting

A wine cooler that is set at the wrong temperature will not cool wine as expected, either being too warm or too cold. This could be due to it being accidentally programmed at the wrong temperature, or because of an error with the unit itself.

Solution: It’s best to read the user instructions and determine that the cooler has been correctly programmed to the preferred temperature setting. If it has, yet it’s still not working properly, it’s worth searching on YouTube for the problem as someone may have experienced the same issue, and then calling the manufacturer for further advice.

Poor insulation

Poor insulation or broken seals in a wine cooler can cause the temperature to fluctuate during operation.

This is because cool air is not being sealed inside the unit, and warm air is able to get in.

This constant change in temperature causes the tannins in the wine to change structure, and this results in flavour changes… In other words, it’s detrimental to your collection of wine.

Solution: Inspect and take photos of the seals to send to the manufacturer, they may be able to send out replacements if it’s not too much for you to install yourself. In the meantime, you’ll want to try and seal the wine cooler the best way you can.

Why is my compressor wine cooler not cooling properly?

There are a number of reasons that can cause your compressor wine cooler to not cool properly.

Let’s discuss the most common reasons directly below, as well as how exactly they should be fixed.

Dirty condenser coils

A dirty condenser coil and fins can cause the wine refrigerator to lose its cooling efficiency.

Not only will the built-up of dust and dirt cause the fridge to not perform as well, but it will also cause it to overheat, and even cost more money in running costs.

Solution: It’s recommended to clean the compressor and other components inside the fridge, like the condenser fan, every three months. You can do this with a soft brush and pressurised air, and we’ve linked to a video demonstration of this directly below:

Defective compressor

Compressors in wine refrigerators can fail and cause a number of problems. If the compressor does not work, then the refrigerator will stop cooling wine. The wine will then heat up and this can ruin it.

Solution: The problem with a defective compressor is that it can be difficult to diagnose the problem without dismantling the fridge and inspecting the inside. And due to this being a more technical issue, requires technical knowledge.

Defective cooling fans

A defective cooling fan/fan motor will also cause your wine cooler to overheat, and not be able to provide the same level of cooling to your wine collection.

Therefore, your collection of wines will not be cooled at the desired temperature, and some of them may go bad.

Solution: This will be fairly easy to spot, as you’ll be able to see the fan inside the unit not working, whether this is due to an electric fault or physical damage.

Faulty or broken evaporator

When you open the door of your wine cooler, that cool air that hits you is coming from the evaporator which cools down the interior. It does this by drawing in the warm air from the coil & transferring its heat to a refrigerant.

If the evaporator doesn’t work, the air conditioner unit will not be able to create cold air no matter how much the compressor runs.

The evaporator uses a fan, and therefore one of the most common reasons why it stops working is due to a build-up of dust or debris.

Solution: Try your best to inspect the evaporator fan to see if there is a build-up of dust, and if so, clean this. However, if it’s not clear as to why the evaporator fan motor isn’t working, then speaking to your wine cooler‘s manufacturer is recommended.

Why is my thermoelectric wine cooler not cooling properly?

There are a number of reasons that can cause your thermoelectric wine cooler to not cool properly.

Let’s discuss the most common reasons directly below, as well as how exactly they should be fixed.

External room temperature

Thermoelectric wine coolers use the Peltier effect to maintain their cooler temperature. The limitation here is that the external room temperature dramatically affects the efficiency of cooling provided.

Solution: Therefore, your wine cooler must be kept in a cool environment for it to chill the wine collection at a low enough temperature.

Defective cooling

Thermoelectric wine coolers also have a cooling unit, which consists of a fan and cooling fins. These can get dusty so they’re worth cleaning regularly.

Additionally, it may be that a fan has broken, and you’ll need to visually inspect the inside of the cooling system to see this.

Solution: You’ll need to visually inspect the inside of the unit to diagnose the problem, and then seeking help from the manufacturer would be advisable.

Ventilation space

Similar to compressor wine coolers, thermoelectric units also need to have space to allow for sufficient airflow.

Solution: Make sure that the unit is not stored in an undercounter/built-in position, but in a freestanding position.

3) How can you fix these problems?

Firstly, if you’ve got insurance coverage on your wine fridge, call or email the company providing the plan for further information on how they can help you diagnose the issue.

There are specialists for a reason, and the worst scenario is that you try to take matters into your own hands and end up voiding the warranty completely.

Therefore, in most cases, we’d advise seeking professional assistance when trying to diagnose and fix your wine fridge.

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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