Servicing your wine cellar’s cooling system should be considered a critical process. We are going to make a leap here and assume your wine collection represents a significant investment for you.
If your cooling system were to fail “Murphy’s Law” says it will fail when you are away from home and at the hottest time of year. You know this is true!
Just imagine what could happen to your wine collection should it be subjected to day – night temperature swings at the hottest time of the year for an extended period. Hmmm, maybe you shouldn’t even imagine this!
Understanding this, we think you will agree that after investing in a climate controlled wine cellar, to then not ensure that the mechanical equipment is serviced regularly would be at best, a false economy.
M&M Cellar Systems Servicing – Preventive Maintenance
When we service a cooling system, we inspect all the moving parts. This includes the fans, the motor’s components, unit pressures. We lubricate and check for refrigerant leaks, generally inspecting the system to make sure it is working properly and efficiently.
This process, performed on a regular basis, increases the probability that we can detect potential problems before they happen and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
A sensible servicing schedule for refrigeration units inside a building, is just once a year. However, components that are located outside and exposed to the elements, are best serviced every six months.
Services Consideration by Refrigeration System Type
There is little core mechanical variation between refrigeration system types and brands. They all have essentially the same basic components. It is worth noting however that split systems are generally a lot more serviceable as they inherently provide better access to the internal components.
In the event of a failure of a split cooling system it is almost always possible to get them back up and running on-site immediately. If it is necessary, it is usually a straight forward process to replace a standard component within the system. This makes for a fast low cost repair.
Through-the-wall systems are typically somewhat more problematic. They often require the whole unit to be dismounted and sometimes returned to the manufacturer for replacement or repair. This can result in an extended period without refrigeration in the wine room. As dismantling the system is not straight forward and on top of this often second visits are necessary to re-install the repair unit, service costs tend to be higher.
While through-the-wall cooling units can be less expensive initially they can therefore cost a lot more in the long term. For this reason M&M Cellar Systems usually recommend split systems be installed for serious wine collector’s wine cellars.
Common Causes of Premature Breakdown
The most common cause of breakdowns of wine room refrigeration systems is – in our experience – also the most difficult to correct. These are instances where the people that installed the original refrigeration system did so without a solid technical understanding of the overall wine cellar’s set-up and environment.
General contractors and HVAC engineers are usually the culprits of this type of problem. It stems from the fact that they assume the installation is the same as for a standard HVAC system. This is simply not the case.
HVAC systems do not maintain a specific temperature system in a small enclosed space, but wine cellar refrigeration systems do. This core difference is at the heart of most installation issues.
Every wine cellar needs to be specifically customized, sized correctly and designed, taking into account such factors as glass walls, insulation, seals around the doors, local climate, location in the room, humidity and location of the room, outside walls, basement room etc. It is important to balance the cooling system with the wine cellar’s specific set-up.
In our experience no wine cellar is exactly the same as another. A poorly balanced refrigeration system is the number one cause of the problems which precede breakdown – and then the inevitable failure.
Signs of the premature failure of your system:
- Excessive Running of the Unit
- High Running Costs
- Burned out Units
- Plugged up Drains
- Burned out Condensate Pumps
A wine cellar’s owner makes a significant investment in their wine storage room. This, however, is often dwarfed by their investment in the wine collection it houses. It is for this reason that servicing the system should not be a question, it should be a must.
Sadly it is not uncommon for owners to come to this realization only after their first outage.
Commercial vs. Residential Servicing Considerations
All of these considerations are equally important for residential and well as commercial applications. Commercial installations have the added issue of larger inventories (and sales) being negatively affected in the case of a failure. Also, there can be further liabilities as many commercial storage facilities store other people’s inventory as well as their own.
Get Installation and Servicing from a Wine Cellar Climate Control Specialist
Always have your wine cellar climate control system sized and installed by a wine cellar refrigeration specialist. These systems are not the same as standard HVAC cooling systems. Indeed, it is often the result of inappropriate installations by HVAC companies that requires difficult remedial work to be undertaken.
In addition, ensure that your cooling system is protected with preventative maintenance through a proactive servicing plan. You are left trouble free – and with a protected wine collection.
Contact M&M Cellar Systems, (323) 578-3330 the Los Angeles premier wine cellar refrigeration specialists. Then rest easy knowing your wine collection is secure.