Oct 29 2010
If you want to give your wine collection the ideal environment in which to age properly there are two primary conditions that are needed; the proper temperature and humidity.The first thing you need to accomplish this is a properly constructed and insulated wine cellar.The other critical thing that is needed is an affordable wine cooling unit that can be integrated into the structure of your home and is powerful enough to adequately control the temperature and humidity of your wine cellar.
Self-contained and split system are the two main types of wine cooling units. As the name suggests self-contained units are one piece with both the evaporator and the condenser all in one while with a split system the evaporator is intalled in the wine cellar and the condenser mounted (usually) on an outside wall.
A couple advantages of self-contained cooling units are as follows:
Self-contained units are not as expensive as split system for the same strength unit.
Ease of Installation
Probably the biggest advantage of self-contained units is that they can typically be installed quite easily with little modification to existing wall structures.A good example of this is the WhisperKOOL XLT series self-contained cooling units. These units are designed to fit between existing wall studs and do not require that an HVAC technician performs the installation. This is also another cost savings. Depending on the size of your wine cellar the xlt series likely has a unit for the job. For example; for a small wine cellar of up to 300 cubic feet there is the WhisperKOOL 1600 and for wine cellars up to 1000 cubic feet there is the WhisperKOOL 4200.
A couple advantages of split-system wine cooling units are:
Greater Installation Flexibility
The heat and noise from a wine cooling unit are not always desirable in the room next to your wine cellar. With a split-system this can be avoided by venting the unit outside or to a more preferable room. As well split systems tend to be a little quieter regardless of where they are vented.
Often a split system will be capable of cooling a wine cellar 10F to 20F cooler than a self-contained cooling unit. Therefore, if you live in a warm climate and the cooling unit vents outside a split system is probably the best solution.
Give some thought to these points and you will have a good idea as to which type of wine cooling unit may be best for you.