Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Jul 8, 2010 05:00 PM

Whisperkool Repair Help???

I'm a (heavy-hehehe) recreational winemaker, and my wine cellar reefer unit just died. It's a Whisperkool XL8000, rated to 2,000 cubic feet. Wondering if anybody on here has tried having theirs repaired locally.

The compressor, evaporator and fans run, but it acts like it has no coolant left in the coils--no hot air gets vented and the cellar does not cool. The manufacturer (Vinotechque) wants you to EXCHANGE broken units for new ones--for ONLY $2,500, so the SOBs RIVET the enclosure closed.

Anyone out there tried having a reefer tech break one of these open for repairs? Ever try to get parts? Any help is much appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have, but there are many issues. I contacted the WhisperKool specified techs. in my area, Phoenix, AZ, USA, and they were told that the parts would not be available to them. Instead, I had them put in a split-system, sent my WhisperKool back to CA, and had it refurbished. It is now my backup unit, in case of failure.

    Back when Mr. Bennet (?) was the president, WhisperKool was an OK group. Now, I would never buy their products. They are not the least bit interested in one's wine collection, and their rec was to fill my 5000 btl. cellar with dry ice, and they'd have my unit back in a month. OK, but this was June in Arizona.

    Good luck,


    1 Reply
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Thanks, Bill, yes, that's my impression of WK, too. They're VERY eager for you to buy a replacement unit at a modest discount for the return of the defunct one. Wish I had the budget just to go a different direction.

    2. Whisperkool is completely unsympathetic - their motto seems to be "We got you once, now buy a new one"

      I've taken mine twice to a local refrigerator repairman. Once to replace the coils and once to unplug the drainage hole. This guy was not one of the fancy-dancy young kids (hahaha I sound like my grandparents) but one of those kind of repairmen who can probably fix anything - the next time I have a problem with my Subzero, I'm taking it to him.

      That's just my experience, for what it's worth.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cookiefiend

        Thanks a lot, Cookiefiend. So your local guy was able to get a replacement coil? How long did that take and how much were you charged? I'm running a room air conditioner now that only cools to 62, and it's now 95 out here in Washington State, so I expect it'll be somewhat over 62 in the cellar.

        1. re: kaleokahu

          It was about 10 days.
          Ours went out in the fall so it wasn't quite so hot.

          I'll have to check on the cost - that information is at home... :-)

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Sorry it took me so long!

            First repair (the coils) was $483.00.
            Yikes - I didn't remember that it was that much. Less expensive than a new one though.

            Nice reply from 'WhisperKOOL'...

        2. I am sorry to hear you have run into an issue with your XLT 8000. All WhisperKOOL units come with a 2 year parts and labor warranty with a 5 year warranty on the compressor. The systems are riveted together for warranty purposes, this is the best way for us to know that a defective unit has failed from the original “parts and labor” used to build it.

          If the unit fails during the warranty period, a replacement unit is sent at no cost to you.

          If your unit fails after the warranty period, we offer a Consumer Care Program to give the customer a chance to get a new unit at a deep discount. In many cases the failing unit has been misapplied and the correct unit for the installation is sought after during the replacement process.

          If repairing the unit is the decided route, call WhisperKOOL directly at 1-800-343-9463 and parts can be ordered depending on availability. A knowledgeable HVAC Professional should perform any repairs due to the refrigeration system.

          Our #1 goal is customer satisfaction, over the course of the past three years, we have focused on ways to improve our customers experience with our products. This effort encompasses a number of important areas, which have been problematic in the past. Our customer service department is trained extensively, with live customer service representation and a streamlined process for not only helping with the products, but also assisting in identifying any limitations to the installation or ventilation of the cooling unit. Their goal is to search and solve your problem with little to no fuss on the customer’s end. We take any feedback from customers seriously and recognize that our reputation is solely based on customer satisfaction.

          9 Replies
          1. re: WhisperKOOL

            Thanks, WhisperKOOL, I feel so much better now. I had my XLT8000 unit repaired locally (and quickly) for $219. A big part of that charge was to drill out the rivets like a safecracker.

            What was wrong, you ask? Well, when you made it, you crossed two capillary tubes over each other so that they were touching. They rubbed holes in each other over time (I know you're shocked), the refrigerant leaked out, and my wine was cooked.

            Sure glad I didn't snooker into the "Deep Discount" $2,500+ exchange racket you offer. It occurred to me that maybe the real reason you rivet the enclosures is to hide manufacturing "errors" like crossed cap tubes! Good work if you can get it. Pretty clear your "#1 goal" is to separate the mark from his money when the units fail prematurely.

            Whisperkool buyers BEWARE!!!

            Oh, and WhisperKOOL, wanna sit down with me sometime and drink cooked wine?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Thanks for this. I think I am having the same problem with my 8000XLT. What did your local repair guy have to do after he drilled out the rivets? Was he a guy recommended by the tech at WhisperKool. If not is he a refrigerator or HVAC guy?



              1. re: Furney

                Hi, Furney:

                You're welcome. My repair guy drilled out the rivets, and replaced a couple of short sections of the copper capillary tubes (where they had crossed and worn through each other), recharged with RG35 (you will need the EXACT weight of coolant for the refill), and that was it. He had seen my application, so he only re-riveted the enclosure the few places that needed fasteners.

                My guy was NOT recommended by the manufacturer. He's just a local, sole proprietor reefer tech who works on restaurant stuff as well as cars. These WK units are 'way smaller and 'way more simple than what these guys usually work on--he just laughed when I asked him if it was something I should take to a specialist.

                I took my PDT unit (see other problems, below) to my local stereo repairman, who cleaned the PCB and re-soldered some corroded connections--for $5. It's being tested right now, and may have to go back for new capacitors.

                Good Luck.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Thanks for the quick response. This is very helpful. Sounds like there is no mystery here just the application of common sense.

            2. re: WhisperKOOL

              Update for WhisperKOOL and their QC/QA/Engineered-to-Fail units.

              My repaired (by third party) XLT8000 now functions quite well after the factory-crossed capillary tubes were sealed and uncrossed. But shame on me for thinking this was the ONLY design defect that Whisperkool builds in. The electronic PDT thermostat unit is supposed to cycle the chiller off every 90 minutes to allow any ice that forms on the intake screen to melt (to maintain efficiency, and to prevent an iced-up unit from running constantly against itself until failure). Great thinking, so far, right?

              Whisperkool's designers chose to put the PDT unit directly BELOW the intake screen, so that when the ice melts, it drips onto the PDT. At first glance, this looks OK, too, because the circuit board and its relay, transformer, transistor, capacitors and resistors are tucked away in a nice sheetmetal cowling.

              The problem, you ask? Well, for reasons that are simply BEYOND me, Whisperkool drills holes in the TOP of this supposedly protective cowling, right where the MELTING ICEWATER WILL DRIP ONTO THE ELECTRONICS. Needless to say, water dripped (as it was supposed to), corroded the printed circuit board, and my PDT unit failed.

              Since Whisperkools's "#1 goal is customer satisfaction", they're delighted to sell replacement PDT units for $125.

              Mind you, this cowling already has one side open and has other holes drilled through the BOTTOM surface (presumably for ventilation and condensate drainage respectively), but why oh why would Whisperkool intentionally put holes in the TOP, if not to FACILITATE just this kind of water intrusion/corrosion/failure/replacement? And how many unwitting consumers are concluding from THIS kind of electronic failure that the ENTIRE (riveted shut) UNIT has failed, and take a $2,500 bath instead of the $125 soaking? "Yessirree, thanks for your credit card order, your new Whisperkool's on its way. Until next time, Mr. Sucker!"

              Stay tuned for any future failure modalities. I'm sure some are around the corner.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Wish I would have read these emails before purchasing the Whisperkool 8000 last April. Has already iced two times...currently shutdown due to icing and we are just experiencing our first warm weather. Can not get timely return calls from customer service. Last time I connected they promised me to send me a pdf to better explain control panel (never rec'd) and to have an "expert" tech call me (no contact) to assist. To make matters worse, I only live a few miles from their facility. Trying to find name of company president to call direct. Meanwhile my wine sitting in rising temps. So frustrating as they were quite helpful during the sales process...but now, they seem to be totally unconcerned!

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Hi Kaleokahu,

                  Thanks for your very informative posts. I'm having similar issues with the 1600 XLT which is just out of Warranty. my biggest problem is that I'm having condensation issues, which is causing water to leak out of the bottom/sides of the machine, rather than the tube provided. I think that I can see a disconnected plastic tube inside, but of course I can't actually open it to check.

                  But I also live in the Seattle area and was hoping you might still have the information/contact info of the refrigeration guy as well as the stereo guy that you used.

                  Thanks in advance for any help/advice you can offer!

                  1. re: RussBo

                    Hi, RussBo:

                    Sorry, the Wine board's been a little boring lately, haven't visited for a long time.

                    The AC repair guy was out of Sedro-Wolley--is that close to you?

                    I would just drill out the rivets in the enclosure, reconnect the tube (hoseclamp?) and pop-rivet it back together.


                2. re: WhisperKOOL


                  Interesting reply almost a year ago. Since I have not been able to get timely responses (calls not returned and promises not kept...I have names if your management is interested) seems like you are still working on that goal of #1 in customer sat and have quite a ways to go.

                3. I had WK in my old cellar. I had a number of problems. I ended up buying a refurbished unit. It eventually went out, too. When that happened I had my HVAC guy rip it open and put more freon in the unit. I can't remember what kind of freon they used but he found it. Anyway, I had the guy fix both units so I had a back up. It was not an ideal plan and, in retrospect, I would have had him rip open the original and not bought the re-furbished. Live and learn and I would see if you can find someone in your area to just fix it.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: HoosierFoodie

                    The "backup unit" is a great idea. My dual-stage system is acting up, but I have my most recent WK (my backup), going, until all is repaired, and back to running. Sure beats dry ice!

                    I was so mad at WK, that I was ready to chuck the unit into a nearby arroyo, but the HVAC guy talked me out of doing so. I sent that WK back to the "mother ship" for warranty repairs (three weeks), and just stuck it back into the hole. Very glad that I did.

                    Good luck,


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Thanks for replies. I have been trying to do some research as well as finding other chats experiencing same issues with WK. I see where WK has introduced a new 8

                      unit and thinking they sold me old stock knowing they were intro'ing a new model which would explain why they (and dealer) were so "helpful". Our local tv station, which covers Stockton, CA, has a consumer watch and plan to call tomorrow to see if they can assist. I think Wine Spectator should be aware and will contact them. Also, saw that DIY tv did a segment in the past on installing a WK. Will see if I can ask them about a follow up. FYI, It took over 24 hours for my unit to thaw and I just restarted and will see what happens.

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Quick update folks....after being shutdown for over 24 hours to let unit thaw, I restarted at 7 is now 9 am and front grill completely iced over...just 2 hours...I am so darn mad, frustrated and sick in my stomach as I watch my wine collection cook.

                        1. re: dschwartzca

                          Hi, dschwartzca

                          Sorry to hear of your problems. It sounds like a coolant leak problem. Have you tried using the unit without the PDT (just using the "bypass" plug)?

                          What are you doing in the meantime? A room air conditioner is an iffy proposition, since most will not cool below 62-64F (despite them spec'ing 60F). Dry ice in open coolers is an OK solution, but you need to diddle with finding the ideal mass for your cellar's temp, and it can be a hassle. If you do this for any duration, BE VERY CAREFUL about ventilating the cellar with air before entering--the wine industry loses people to CO2 suffocation with lamentable regularity!

                          Call around for a local reefer repair guy. Just remember that the amount of RG35 put back in is critical. I wish I remembered the exact amount ,I think it was "14" something for the 8

                          . The tech actually got the # direct from Whisperkool.

                          Good Luck,


                          1. re: kaleokahu


                            Thank you for suggestions although not sure what you are referring to with PDT. Currently using a portable room only option and backup over weekend. Yes, only 64 degrees but I guess better than 70...sad, eh?

                            Thx again...Dan

                            1. re: dschwartzca

                              Hi, Dan:

                              You're very welcome.

                              The PDT is the separate bolt-on digital thermostat/control unit. You do not want your de-icing XLT to drip meltwater into this, unless you want to give Whisperkool another $125. The bypass plug is an adapter that came with your unit; it's a modular plastic plug with two loops of wire (looks kinda like a trailer towing lights adapter). If you use this, unless you have the XLT plugged into an external temp-control module (available at greenhouse suppliers), the chiller unit will stay ON, rather than cycle off. But in your emergency circumstances, you can manually switch the unit off when you get cold enough OR the intake grille ices over. Not a good long-term solution, but can help bring the room AC temp down a bit until the reefer tech fixes yours. Also, plan ahead with dry ice for when you remove and take the unit in for repair/recharge--good luck getting anyone to repair it in place.

                              Good Luck,

                    2. Well I have a Vinotheque Wisperkool. The fans became very noisy so I called Vinotheque. They gave me th name of Quick Appliance to repair. THey did repair it (cost $362 for new fans and labor). Guess what, that was less than 2 years ago and they are breaking again.