Wine fridge in vacation home
We are remodeling a home we occupy maybe three months a year. Eventually (can't come soon enough!) we plan to live there full time. Our wine collection while there is usually small and seasonal.
As part of the remodel we considered having a wine fridge. built in. After reading about the different brands, models etc., of built in wine coolers, chillers, refrigerators, I came to the conclusion we shouldn't do so until we are living there full time. Compressor problems is the main reason. If there is such a problem with units used full time, my thinking was storing wine for short periods of time, turning the unit off in our absence, turning it on again when we are there seemed a recipe for disaster for the wine, the unit and us.
Did I reach the right conclusion?
Since you're remodeling the home anyway, agree with the others, maybe it's a good opportunity to go straight to this:
It's a tiny book with tons of information and technical data to digest. Worth checking out if you're not limited by time.
Wouldn't I love a wine cellar! But for us a wine fridge is more practical and a few house payments cheaper than excavating volcanic rock. Down the road, if the wine fridge fails to satisfy, perhaps we can use the book to design an above ground wine storage area elsewhere in the house. Or we could just sell the house and move to France....
What is your reason for wanting to buy a wine fridge? If you are looking to keep a selection of wines stable for a year or two, then you won't be turning the fridge off and on. If are looking buy wine and consume it in the three months that you are there, then you really do not need a wine fridge.
You might want to consider passive temperature control for your wine, both for the short/medium term holding for consumption and for longer term cellaring. You can build out the cutout for the fridge and install the electrical, but instead of buying a fridge, fill the space with terra cotta wine storage tiles or cut terra cotta pipes instead. Then if/when you decide to change your wine consumption patterns, you can then put the fridge in without additional renovation.
Thank you for your reply. When I mentioned turning it off and on, it was because two issues I read about wine fridges were leakage and compressor failure. A local vendor also advised against it and thought leaving it on unattended for long periods of time could lead to problems if the temperature settings went into flux. We have occasional power outages, but nothing longer than an hour at most. Surely a fridge could withstand that with the door remaining closed? But he was my only offline local expert.
Your suggestion regarding the terra cotta is brilliant. So the dream of walking in the door after a long day of traveling to a perfectly tempered wine remains deferred.
I'm not sure you've reached the right conclusion.
I have long and painful experience with wine cellar chiller units. Search "Whisperkool" on the Wine board if you want to share my pain.
IF you are not requiring wine be kept over at your part-time home, I see LESS of a longevity problem taking the unit out of service for 9 months than I do keeping the unit in service year-round.
IF you are intelligently designing the area for your unit so as to avoid extreme temperature swings (e.g., maximize passive measures, like insulation, vapor barrier liner and underground/basement location), and make provision for adequately venting the heat actively extracted by the unit (i.e., don't box the unit in somewhere where it will be fighting itself), I think you may be overworrying this.
There is a monograph on DIY wine cellar design that is good to read, even if you are planning on buying a self-contained "cellar". I can't remember the name offhand, but if you want, I'll try to find it for you.
Hope this helps,