Deciding to buy a wine cooler for your collection of wine is easy, but choosing the right unit is a little more complicated. Wine coolers look similar on the outside, but as you look at their specifications, you will notice that they are indeed distinct in certain ways.
If you are not yet familiar with this type of appliance, you should know that there are two different types of wine coolers on the market: thermoelectric and compressor. These types are not categorized according to their sizes but according to how they operate.
If you are planning to invest in such an appliance, you should understand what you are paying for. Thus, this article will answer common questions like how a wine cooler works and what the differences are between thermoelectric and compressor models. In that way, you will get to choose the best kind for your wine collection.
How does a wine cooler work?
In general, wine coolers differ from home refrigerators in terms of maintaining the proper temperature and humidity levels. Without discussing difficult terms, they are designed to gradually lower the temperature and maintain a humidity level that is suitable for wine storage.
Unlike home refrigerators, wine coolers are less prone to vibration. They are built that way so as not to send noise and sound waves that can affect the aging or maturation process of your wines.
Wine coolers maintain the temperature more accurately, and because you will not be frequently opening and shutting the door like you would with a refrigerator, there is less fluctuation in temperature. Aside from this, wine coolers also ensure minimal light exposure, which helps overall wine stability, which is something your home fridge cannot offer.
How does compressor wine cooler work?
Compressor wine coolers function just like a regular kitchen refrigerator. It operates using a cooling process called a vapor compression cycle. It compresses then releases the air inside the refrigerator, lowering the temperature of the cooler until it reaches a specific level, where it is then maintained.
The cycle starts in the refrigeration chambers where the refrigerant molecules are electronically compressed. The temperature of the particles during this phase increases. But the moment they are released, their temperature begins to lower.
A small fan will then blow the cold air to the interior of the cooler. As the cycle continues, the compressor releases heat from the back of the wine cooler. For this reason, compressor wine coolers should have enough space between their back and the wall so that the whole system can have proper ventilation and efficiently operate.
In terms of maintaining the temperature inside, the technology used is reliable. When there is a slight increase of temperature in the interior, the compressor will automatically adjust its operation to return to the preset temperature.
On the other hand, once the entire wine cooler has reached the preset temperature, the compressor shuts itself to avoid over cooling. The compressor will continue to monitor the temperature inside the cooler to keep it within the appropriate range. And unlike thermoelectric wine coolers, the external environment does not affect its operation.
Compressor technology is more prone to vibrations and noises, which are factors that affect shelf life and the maturity of wines. Aside from that, it also not environment and budget friendly as it consumes a lot of electricity.
How does a thermoelectric wine cooler work?
If a compressor wine cooler operates like a home refrigerator, a thermoelectric wine cooler runs on an electric current to lower the temperature. Instead of refrigerant chambers, it has an electrolyzed metal rod that is responsible for temperature differential. The rod has two ends: one is cool and facing the interior and the other is heated and facing the exterior.
The thermoelectric wine cooler depends on the temperature of the environment in cooling its interior. The technology utilizes the Peltier effect to reduce the temperature of the cooler.
The air that is being released by the use of a small fan inside the interior. The temperature inside the cooler will range from 50°- 54° Fahrenheit. It also has the capacity to maintain this temperature range automatically.
Similar to a compressor wine cooler, the back of a thermoelectric wine cooler also needs proper ventilation for proper cooling. Aside from this, all other sides of the cooler need space as well. In other words, the placement of this cooler is crucial to the optimal cooling operation. And because the interior temperature is affected by the environment, this type of wine cooler is less predictable.