The right cooling unit or system is absolutely essential to protect and store your wine collection at an optimal and consistent temperature.
Without the proper cooling unit, wines become exposed to temperature fluctuations that will cause chemical imbalances that can quickly ruin the taste of your wine. As there are many varieties of wine cellars, there are also many types of cooling units; all of which have distinct differences that make them better suited for some wine cellars more than others.
A self–contained non–ducted through the wall unit has both the evaporator and the condenser housed in the same compartment—this system is generally the most commonly used cooling system in most wine cellars. As indicated by the name, the unit is mounted through the wall of the wine cellar. The greatest benefit of this style of cooling unit is the affordability; however, the this type of unit will be noisier than other types of cooling systems due to both the evaporator and condenser being inside the wine cellar.
A self–contained ducted cooling system also has the evaporator and condenser in the same housing, but it is ducted into the wine cellar from another room as opposed to being physically inside the wine cellar itself. This displacement of the cooling system greatly reduces the noise associated with the unit and allows for increased space. Although these advantages are certainly beneficial, a self-contained ducted system does come at a higher price.
A non–ducted split system separates the condenser and evaporator into two separate units, giving one the ability to move the noisier component (the condenser) outside of the wine cellar while keeping the evaporator inside. This cooling system option also reduces the noise of the unit, but can be more costly. A non-ducted split system does require a qualified refrigeration technician to install however; it can be the ideal choice for individuals with space restrictions.
A ducted split system has the evaporator and condenser in separate compartments, in addition to being ducted into the wine cellar. This type of positioning also assists with the reduction in noise and has the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of installation. A ducted split system also requires a qualified refrigeration technician to install and comes at a higher price. Much like a non–ducted split system, it can be ideal for those with space constraints where a self–contained unit will not suffice.
A Water cooled cooling system is one that uses water instead of the surrounding air to disperse heat from the condenser. Water cooled cooling units can be an ideal solution if ventilation or noise from the condenser is an issue. Water cooled systems should be installed by a plumbing professional.
A closed-loop system is one of the most sophisticated wine cellar cooling systems on the market. By utilizing electric current to move heat from inside of the cellar to outside of it, this revolutionary technology has no noise or vibrations associated with its heat transfer process like other systems. The electronic system also precisely monitors and controls humidity, which prevents corks from either drying out or becoming too moist without the need for additional humidity controls. The system does not require a cooling unit technician for installation and only requires maintenance once every five years in order for the distilled water circulating within the closed loop to be changed. While these systems come at a higher price, they offer the highest degree of temperature stability, the most flexibility in terms of installation, the longest warranty, and the least amount of noise.