Discussion in 'Wine Cellar & Storage Forum' started by NorCal, Jul 14, 2014.
What a lovely project. Thanks for taking us along for the build.
Hard to believe this summer marks 5 years since I made the wine box. It is operating unchanged and the Wal Mart AC is still doing its job like a champ. We had our first hot spell, so I went to take the annual picture.
Is there any room for you to crawl in there when it gets hot?
There is a small private gym in the unit next to mine with no AC. One of the trainers comes in periodically and says he wants to see how the wine is coming along but I swear it's an excuse to step into the cooler.
Not enough room to crawl, but there is standing room that is used frequently in the summer months.
I hate to even bring this up but have you ever thought about a spare for just in case. I may just be paranoid having an old spare unit I keep on hand. It's smaller than the one I use but in a pinch it should work fine and I don't have quite the heat you are trying to control. I have 15 wines aging plus about 8 topping up jugs. If the temps would rise I think I would have a mess on my hands and I'm not sure what the bottles would do.
Great point. I check the box every evening in the summer . If I did without AC for one day, I don't think the wine would get too warm (I guess on those very rare vacations, I'd be rolling the dice). A replacement AC is as close as my nearest Wal Mart and I have a number to choose from. I think my best solution would be to have two AC's on my box, so that one was there as a back-up at all times. With my controller, I am hard power cycling the AC, so I know it cannot be good for it. It stays off long enough in between cycles for the high pressure line to equalize, but still I think it would be naive to think there wasn't some risk there.
Well, the original Wal Mart AC died. It froze up, I then defrosted to give another try and the same thing happened. I'm not willing to risk 500-600 bottles worth of wine that I have in the box, with the weather outlook, to see if I can get it to work, so it got sent to the recycler. Fortunately Wal Mart is opened 24 hours a day and a late night run solved my AC needs.
I got 5 seasons out of the original AC unit and it has seen some pretty hard duty. I think my hard on off power cycling may have shortened its life considerably, so I may rethink my approach. However, if I spread the cost of the AC unit over the number of bottles made in the box over that same time, it comes to less than a $.05 per bottle.
I feel like I'm responsible for this simply by bringing it up, sorry!
This made me stop and think about my unit in the winery. Not using any controller other than the built in thermostat. Purchased from Sams Club back in the Spring of 2010 and still chugging along nicely. Definitely have gotten my money out of it. Smallest GE unit with full shut off thermostat when set temp is reached.
You just may be responsible. On the other hand, any prediction on the market direction the rest of the year?
Sorry I don't, and you may not want it anyway seeing my predictions aren't always the most positive
So, what I'm gathering is that AC units are like Hydrometers... You need a spare one "just in case"!
That's my philosophy
@NorCal I'd say that you definitely got your money's worth out of that unit! Most likely when units start to freeze up, they're low on refrigerant, which means you may have developed a leak somewhere. Getting it located and fixed (unless you're equipped to do it yourself) probably costs more than the new unit. Inexpensive as they are, definitely a consumable.........
The CoolBot is a great innovation, but too expensive ($350).
If cost is not an issue, go for it, but here is a much cheaper solution you may want to consider:
Since most AC unit temperature sensors are thermistors you can simply change the value and fool the controller so that the temperature range is shifted downwards.
I did this for a portable room AC unit I'm currently using in my wine cellar.
The thermister is a 10K and I connected a 100K resister in parallel.
This trick brought down the minimum temperature setting from 62F to around 53F,
This works for me.
So, Mike: 65 is the lowest setting on your AC unit? I'd be happy with that. And considering my basement is probably 67-70 year-round with our climate control running, an AC unit like that wouldn't have to run too hard with some halfway decent insulation.
Yea I added 12" attic blanket above the winery and its freezing in there in the summer time. We only have a couple months of heavy use then several months of light use then basically 6 months of no use so happy with the simplicity for sure.
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