13 Common Problems With Wine Coolers (& Fixes!)


Whether you’re new to the world of wine, a hobbyist wine keeper, a seasoned wine connoisseur, or you sell wine, having a wine cooler will improve your wine storage. Wine coolers regulate temperature, which helps persevere the quality of the wine over time.

However, they can also develop faults that will make the experience of using a wine cooler worse off. In this article, we will discuss common problems with wine coolers and how to fix them.

Types of Wine Coolers

Before we highlight common issues with wine coolers and how to fix them, first, let’s talk briefly about the types of wine coolers we have:

There are two main types of wine coolers going by their technological component; compressor wine coolers and thermoelectric wine coolers.

We can also differentiate wine coolers by their structure, and there are three types of wine coolers in this category; single zone wine coolers, dual-zone wine coolers, and multi-zone wine coolers.

Where you place your wine cooler matters. Wine coolers come in four types of placements which are freestanding, built-in, under-counter, and countertop.

The dimension of the wine cooler also matters as you may find that your wine cooler is not defective, and the problem is that you are not using it according to its original dimensional design. So, here are three types of wine coolers by their dimensions; mini wine coolers, large wine coolers, and tall wine coolers.

Keep in mind that the technological makeup, structural, dimensional, and placement design of your wine cooler are important factors that can affect how your wine cooler work.

Now, let’s look at common problems with wine coolers and how to troubleshoot them.

Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Many people prefer thermoelectric wine coolers because they make less noise, are easy to install, produce minimal vibrations, and are generally more affordable than compressor wine coolers.

However, thermoelectric wine coolers also have some common problems that make them a struggle to use. Here are some of those problems and how we can fix them. You can also watch this video to learn how to fix your thermoelectric wine cooler.

Not Cooling Properly Because the Room Temperature is Too Hot

A thermoelectric wine cooler is very durable, so when you find that your thermoelectric wine cooler is not cooling well, don’t be quick to call a repairer.

Thermoelectric wine coolers use a Peltier system to conduct heat, releasing heat externally and producing cooling internally to keep the wine cool. But this only works well when the room temperature is not too hot or too cold because thermoelectric wine coolers don’t have a refrigerant system that regulates temperature.

Fix: Before you start fixing, make sure you confirm that your wine cooler is getting the needed amount of voltage it needs to cool properly. That said, there are three ways to fix a thermoelectric wine cooler with this problem. You can either increase the air conditioning of the cooler, find a way to reduce the heat in the room, or take the cooler to a colder room.

We recommend reducing the heat in the room or moving the cooler to a room with a colder temperature. The ideal room temperature for your thermoelectric wine cooler is anything between 50º – 75º Fahrenheit.

Remember that the room temperature should also not be too cold, so avoid leaving your wine cooler in a room with a temperature that is less than 50ºF.

Not Cooling Properly Because of Poor Ventilation

Another reason why your thermoelectric wine cooler may not be cooling properly is because of poor ventilation. Sometimes when this happens, it is because the thermostat or/and the ventilator in the wine cooler are defective.

But before you call a repairer, you can find out whether the poor ventilation is because of where you placed the cooler. Thermoelectric wine coolers require adequate ventilation to ensure that the heat emitted from the cooler is not choking it.

Fix: If your thermoelectric wine cooler is not cooling properly because of poor external ventilation, you can fix it by creating a better space for ventilation.

The first rule is to make sure that your wine cooler is not close to the wall or any other large object, especially if the object is blocking air. Secondly, don’t place your wine cooler close to objects or appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, microwaves, freezers, etc. Additionally, don’t place anything on your wine cooler, especially not an object that produces heat.

No matter the placement design of your thermoelectric wine cooler, whether it’s a freestanding or a countertop, make sure you never put objects or appliances that generate heat close to it. Make sure to leave a clearance of at least three inches on each side of the cooler and four inches in the back.

Not Cooling Properly Because of a Defective Fan

Thermoelectric wine coolers have a fan that blows heat out of the cooler. The fan ensures that the internal section of the cooler maintains a cool temperature.

If something were to go wrong with the fan, your wine cooler may not work properly. Some issues that can cause the fan to be defective are whether it is clogged with dirt or dust, it disconnected, or the fan broke.

Fix: There are different fixes for a defective fan in a thermoelectric wine cooler depending on the actual issue, so get your hands dirty and check the fan to see for yourself. If the fan is clogged with debris, the fix is easy; get a towel and remove the dirt/dust.

If the fan is disconnected, check with your wine cooler manual pamphlet to reattach the connectors to the motherboard. To fix a broken fan, you have to replace the fan, and we recommend talking to an expert in the field.

Noise and Vibrations

As we mentioned above, one of the reasons why people love thermoelectric wine coolers is because they typically make less noise compared to compressor wine coolers. But if you have a thermoelectric wine cooler that is making loud noises and vibrations, then that defeats the purpose, right?

Before you panic, not all noise from a thermoelectric wine cooler indicates that something is wrong. Thermoelectric wine coolers usually make a crackling or popping sound when the temperature within the wine cooler changes because the inner walls contract and expand.

You have nothing to worry about when you hear this sound. But if your wine cooler makes a grinding or screeching noise, then you can start to worry.

Fix: For regular vibrations, place the wine cooler on a flat surface. Keep in mind that vibrations are normal, but they should not be too loud. If your wine cooler is making screeching or grinding noise, this indicates that something might be wrong with the fan motor. To fix this, you can check the fan to find and remove what is obstructing it or talk to an expert about the problem.

Poor ventilation can also cause excess noise.

Door Not Closing Properly

The ultimate purpose of a wine cooler is to create cooling storage for your wine, but if the door of the wine cooler doesn’t close properly, then what’s the point?

So if you find that the door is not closing properly, it may be because the surface is not flat enough or the door gasket is dirty. If the surface is not flat, the door won’t close well, and if the door gasket is dirty, the dirt/debris will clog the lock, which will stop it from closing well.

Fix: Make sure your wine cooler is placed on a flat surface and is well-balanced, then check the door gasket and clean off the dirt with a clean towel. Additionally, you can remove all the bottles and shelves in the cooler, clean the cooler, and put them back and make sure the shelves are properly placed in their right positions.

Compressor Wine Coolers

Many people prefer compressor wine coolers because they have more cooling capacity, are more adaptive to fluctuating temperatures, and usually come in varying sizes up to large sizes that can house over a hundred wine bottles.

However, compressor wine coolers also have some common problems that make them a struggle to use. Here are some of those problems and how we can fix them. You can also watch this video to learn how to fix your compressor wine cooler.

Not Cooling Because of a Broken Evaporator

Compressor wine coolers generate cooling using a vapor comprehension cycle system. The system has four components; the condenser, the evaporator, the compressor, and the expansion valve. The evaporator soaks up heat from the air and, in turn, converts the heat to generate cooling.

If the evaporator stops working, then the compressor wine cooler will also stop working. So, when you notice that your wine cooler is not cooling, it might be because the evaporator has stopped working.

Fix: Three possible things might be wrong if the evaporator of your wine cooler is not working; the ice block has clogged the fan in the evaporator, the fan has bent or broken, or it is clogged with debris/dust.

To fix, in the case of ice blockage, unplug the wine cooler, open the evaporator and allow the ice to melt before plugging it back. In the case of debris or dust, get a clean towel and clean off the dirt. In the case of a bent or broken fan blade in the evaporator, replace it with a new fan blade to replace it.

Not Cooling Properly Because of a Defective Thermostat

The thermostat of your compressor wine cooler supplies power to the evaporator, condenser, and compressor. The thermostat also regulates the temperature of the cooler so that you can adjust the temperature as needed. The thermostat is an essential component that will render the wine cooler almost useless if it stops working.

Just like every other device that often develops a fault, thermostats can become defective, leaving your cooler with either an excessive hot temperature or an excessive cold temperature. Wines don’t like too hot or too cold, so this is a problem you need to fix immediately you notice it.

Fix: Upon inspecting your compressor wine cooler to find out why it is not cooling and you learn that the thermostat is faulty, the only solution to this problem is to replace it with a new one. You can replace it by yourself but make sure you are careful not to damage other things in your wine cooler. Otherwise, call an expert.

Producing Excess Heat Because of a Defective Condenser Fan

Out of the four components in the vapor comprehension cycle system, the condenser is responsible for radiating heat into the external environment. There is a fan in the condenser that cools down the condenser, but if this fan doesn’t turn on, the condenser will overheat, which may cause the condenser to stop working.

As a result, there will be excess heat within the vapor comprehension circle system, which will generate excess heat inside the cooler and spoil your wine.

Fix: Once you’re sure that problem is coming from the condenser fan, check it to see whether it is clogged with debris or the fan needs replacement. Both fixes are easy –– get a clean towel and wipe off the dirt from the fan, or buy a new fan and unscrew the old one to replace it with the new fan.

Not Starting or Cooling Properly Because of a Defective Compressor

The compressor is responsible for maintaining raised gas pressure in the vapor comprehension cycle system, which enables other components in the system to function well. A defective compressor can cause the wine cooler to develop temperature problems, power supply issues, ultimately leading to starting issues.

There are three main reasons why the compressor can become defective. One, if the compressor overheats for long, it will eventually malfunction. Second, if the capacitor within the wine cooler doesn’t send energy into the compressor, it will cause the compressor to malfunction. Lastly, the compressor may be old and worn out.

As we mentioned already, a faulty compressor can make your wine cooler develop power supply issues, temperature problems, starting problems, and poor cooling.

Fix: First, once you discover that your wine cooler is not coming on, don’t be quick to unscrew its parts, instead check to see whether it is properly plugged into a working power source. The best fix for a faulty compressor is to call on experts to fix it.

Other Problems With Wine Coolers Generally

Frost Build Up in the Cooler

Sometimes, you may find a build-up of frost inside your wine cooler, making it a hassle to store your wine bottles. Don’t worry because this is a simple problem that you can fix by yourself. Frost build-ups are usually caused by two factors; excessive low temperatures or humidity.

Fix: Turn off your cooler, unplug its and get a bowl and a big plastic spoon to scoop out the frost until the cooler is empty. You can wait a while before turning on the cooler again. If you start to notice a frost build-up now and then, talk to the manufacturer of your wine cooler about it.

Water Leak

As simple as a water leak may seem, you have to tackle it immediately because it can get worse or damage delicate components in the cooler. It is also easy for water leaks to remain unnoticed because wine coolers are typically wet, giving off the feel of water. So, always keep an eye out for water leaks.

Fix: Once you notice that your wine cooler has a water leak, check to see whether it has an air leak as well. Many times, air leaks and water leaks come together. Air leaks usually precede water leaks because air leaks can cause extra condensation, which often leads to water leaks.

Interior Lighting Issues

Another annoying but simple problem your wine cooler may have is interior lighting issues. The light inside your wine cooler is usually a delight that makes it easy to store and pick out wine bottles but when it is faulty, starts flickering, or doesn’t it turn on, then that’s just a pain.

Fix: First, check again to see that your wine cooler is properly plugged into a working power source and check that all the necessary switches are on before concluding. You can fix it a bad the interior light by yourself, but it won’t be easy.

Wine cooler bulbs are not always available like regular home bulbs, so you have to check specific stores online or offline to find the bulb that will fit in.

While the installation is not easy, it is also the same way you install the bulbs in a regular fridge, and you can watch this video to learn how. The easiest fix, though, is to call an expert to help.

Fog Build-up On the Glass

Wine coolers come in two types of doors; solid door and clear door. If you have a wine cooler with a clear door, then you might experience these two issues at some point; excessive moisture and fog build-up on the glass. Both can be caused by humidity, gaps in the door seal, and excessive opening and closing of the wine cooler door.

Fix: For humidity-induced fog build-up, increase the temperature to even out the humidity. If there are any gaps in the door seal, a simple DIY approach will fix them. Lastly, try to limit your opening and closing of the door to a few times a day and make sure you only open your wine cooler when you need to.

Peter Baron

I learned how to fix many appliances while working part-time in a repair shop. Appliance Solver is the result of this experience, coupled with my interest in writing helpful content online. When I'm not fixing stuff, I'm usually either playing with my kids or on a walk with my golden retriever. Doesn't get much better than that.

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