A common problem with wine fridges is that they just don’t seem to be as cold as they should be. This can be especially disappointing if you spent a good amount of money on the appliance and it doesn’t seem to do what it says it will.
Luckily, there are some very simple solutions that can help your wine fridge work more effectively and get the cooling power back up to par, allowing you to enjoy your expensive wines in their perfect state! Here are 9 steps to fix your not-so-cold wine fridge.
Test if a Vacuum Breaker is Blocked
If your wine fridge is cooling but has poor airflow, there may be a blockage somewhere. To test for a blocked vacuum breaker: Turn off power to your refrigerator and freezer; Remove all wine from both compartments. Close the doors to both units and set them to their highest temperature setting for twenty-four hours;
After twenty-four hours has passed, inspect each compressor compartment from the inside of the refrigerator. If there is debris (such as ice crystals), clean it out with a toothbrush.
Test if the unit still doesn’t cool properly: Repeat the above procedure using rubbing alcohol instead of water for thirty minutes. Remove all wine from both compartments before attempting the repair.
Refrigerator Repair Checklist
The first thing to do when your wine fridge starts having trouble keeping things cool is to figure out if it’s actually a cooling problem. If you have an older unit, for example, chances are that a fan may have just broken.
To check your unit, try unplugging and plugging back in multiple times; if there’s an issue with the motor or wiring (or other electrical components), you should notice sparks or other unusual activity. If everything looks fine and your unit isn’t cooling, then you can move on to fixing your refrigerator itself.
Step 1 – Disconnect Power Supply
Is your wine fridge not cooling? You may have a faulty thermostat or even a faulty compressor. First, you need to cut power supply to your unit and disconnect from power until you can fix it. If you don’t, you could cause serious damage to your unit and lose even more money.
Although no one wants to think about something going wrong with their appliance, most problems are minor and very easy to fix.
However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there is a risk of causing further damage or adding unnecessary expense to an already expensive appliance by hiring someone who may take advantage of your ignorance and charge unnecessary fees.
Step 2 – Remove the Defrost Drainage System (If Needed)
Perhaps your wine fridge is not cooling at all. If you’ve tried resetting your appliance and have even allowed enough time for it to defrost and cool off, you may have an issue with your defrost drainage system.
To check, first make sure there is an airflow gap around all edges of the back panel of your fridge that meets up with a ventilation hole (usually found directly below or above where your refrigerator meets its floor). If there isn’t a gap, cut one using a utility knife.
Then grab a few candles—small tealights should work fine—and light them on fire. Carefully place them next to each other at both ends of your ventilation hole and let them burn for 10 minutes or so to melt any frost from within your unit.
Step 3 – Clean the Condenser Coil and Evaporator Coils
If your wine fridge is still not cooling, you’ll want to clean the condenser coil and evaporator coils. This will allow for more airflow so that your fridge can better cool down. This step often fixes wine fridges that aren’t properly cooling and don’t require any fancy tools or expensive parts.
Simply turn off your wine refrigerator, unplug it from its electrical outlet, remove all of its contents (including shelves), wipe out any debris with a damp rag and then clean both coils (condenser coil and evaporator coils) with a soft brush or vacuum attachment.
Reinstall everything once you are done cleaning. Turn on your refrigerator again to make sure it is running smoothly before placing any food inside of it again.
Step 4 – Replace the Air Filters if Necessary
If your wine fridge isn’t cooling, first determine if your air filters are clogged. If they are, you’ll need to replace them with new ones. Some experts recommend changing out air filters monthly while others say they should be changed only once every six months.
If you don’t know when you last changed them, replace them now and see if that solves your problem. It might also be helpful to vacuum around any vents or louvers where cold air comes into contact with warm ambient air since a layer of dust can build up over time and affect airflow.
Just remember that using regular household cleaners like Windex can damage some delicate parts inside your refrigerator so use caution when cleaning with these products.
Step 5 – Replace or Reset the Temperature Control Knob
Unplug your wine fridge and locate its temperature control knob, usually on the front of its interior panel. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen, remove and replace it with a new one (make sure to use a replacement from your original part’s manufacturer).
You may need to consult a professional if you are unsure about how or where to install or plug in your temperature control unit. Next, check that all electrical components of your wine fridge are secure by pressing them down firmly with your fingertips until they click into place.
If you feel any loose connections then don’t hesitate to call for help from an electrician or HVAC specialist. With everything secure, reconnect power and re-test your cooling unit by following Step 1 above.
Step 6 – Replace Damaged Components
If your wine fridge was recently dropped or if its contents were shifted, causing damage to any of its parts, you’ll need to replace these components. Damaged wiring, for example, is a major hazard and needs to be fixed immediately to avoid an electrical fire.
Be sure all damaged parts are replaced with new ones from an authorized service provider. Otherwise, you could risk further damage to your wine fridge and even personal injury.
Step 7 – If All Else Fails… Call an Expert!
If everything above fails to fix your wine fridge, call a professional. Specialists exist for a reason, and if you’ve made every effort to solve your issue yourself, it might be time to turn to an expert.
You can search online or call around locally until you find someone who fits your budget and has good reviews; don’t just settle because you want your fridge fixed as soon as possible. When choosing a service provider, pay attention to their technique—not all refrigeration repair services are created equal.
Just like other tradespeople, some HVAC specialists are better than others at doing their job. Look for ones with experience working on wine fridges and proper certifications for dealing with low temperatures.
If your wine fridge is broken, don’t worry. Here are a few tips to help you get everything back up and running. Hopefully, these tips will make sure that your wine fridge works just as well as ever—or even better than before.
After all, nothing spoils an evening like warm wine, or ruins a great meal like spoiled food; so be sure to fix these common problems before they start affecting your life (and your glass of vino). Enjoy!