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Can I Vent for a Moment?

Monday, March 17th, 2008 at 10:56:19 AM
by Carol K., Wine Enthusiast Companies

So you decided you want a wine refrigerator built into your kitchen, or a refrigerated wine cellar to stand in your den. That’s great! You’ve narrowed down your choices already, because the location you choose will determine the type of unit you buy: one with a front vent, rear vent, or top vent. Allow me to “vent” about this a little further.

The heart of any refrigeration system is the condenser or semi-conductor (on thermoelectric units). Good ventilation to these components is critical to the performance and life of a wine refrigerator or cellar. The location of the vent, therefore, is important.

Wine Enthusiast 50 Bottle Wine Refrigerator (1-Temp) (Stainless Steel Trimmed Glass Door)Front-Vent Units
Built in wine refrigerators with a front-vent system can be freestanding or built into cabinetry. They’re designed to run smoothly even when completely enclosed on the sides, top, and back. The front bottom vent draws cool air from the room to the condenser. The hot air is blown off the condenser and vented back out the front vent. The vent is usually at the base of the unit.

Wine Enthusiast Silent 16 Bottle Wine Refrigerator (Stainless Steel Trim Door)Rear-Vent Units
Most wine refrigeration units are rear-vented, including thermoelectric units with a semi-conductor in place of a condenser. Cool air draws from the sides of the unit to the condenser or semi-conductor. Once the compressor/semi-conductor is cooled, the hot air dissipates at the back of the unit. On rear-vented units with a condenser, you can often see the condenser coils fixed to the back of the unit. When positioned against a wall, a clearance of 3 to 6 inches between the wall and condenser coil is required. With special exceptions, rear-vented units should not be built into cabinetry. Some smaller units can be recessed into cabinetry with certain amount of clearance. I recommend you call one of our Wine Cellar Specialists for free advice before recessing a unit. The number is 800.377.3330.

Le Cache Contemporary 2400 Wine Cellar - Double DoorTop-Vent Units
Wine refrigeration units with a top-vent system pull and push air from the room. These units are generally large and can be pushed close against a wall because the compressor coils are not on the outside of the unit. They can also be built into cabinetry, as long as the air vents at top remain unobstructed for good airflow.

Is there anything you’d like to “vent” regarding this topic? Feel free to leave a comment.

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3 Responses to “Can I Vent for a Moment?”

  1. What if I wanted to put into a cabinet with doors- would the front vent still work?

  2. Excellent question, Mike. Keeping a wine refrigerator/cellar behind cabinet doors can restrict airflow to the unit and cause it to overheat and fail. A front-vent unit can be recessed into a cabinet with doors only if the vent is unobstructed and exposed to air. Cutting a few inches off the bottom of the door, or making a hole/vent somewhere in the cabinet to allow air to circulate, are possible solutions. Ideally, you want to talk to one of our Wine Cellar Specialists (800.377.3330) for the best course of action. They address these kinds of issues all the time. They’ll give you their expert advice free of charge!

    Hope that helps.

  3. Yes, this is an excellent question. Unfortunately, not everyone who incorporates a wine cellar into a cabinet thinks of this. As Carol explained the vent must be unobstructed. If this is not done the unit will not function correctly and ultimately fail. Not only will your wine not age correctly, the unit will not last as long as it should. As Carol suggested, cutting a few inches off the bottom on the door in line with the unit’s vent is a great way to ensure your unit will function correctly. I recommend a decorative plate to match the existing cabinet or an accent plate. Either way, the plate should be louvered to allow air flow.

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