Why do wine cellars develop moisture and condensation issues?
To keep wines at their ideal temperature, custom wine cellars are typically built to include climate control functionality to keep temperature and humidity in balance. There are times, however, when wine cellars still develop moisture issues, including condensation and fogging. Why do wine cellars develop moisture and condensation issues, and how can you fix the problem?
What is a climate control system?
Climate control is a very important functionality for any wine cellar. Maintaining the correct temperature and humidity level in a cellar will preserve your wine collection until it has reached its optimum age for consumption. When it comes to climate control systems, there are several options based on individual needs and the design of the wine cellar:
- Ducted system – ducted systems are very versatile and their design allows for easy installation and maintenance in both commercial and residential wine cellar settings while providing ideal temperature and humidity control.
- Split system – split systems offer outstanding air distribution and temperature control. The extremely quiet and virtually vibration-free system offers maximum flexibility in system location and wine cellar designs.
- Through the wall – through the wall cooling systems are great for small to mid-sized cellars, offering excellent airflow and maintaining optimum temperature and humidity.
- Humidifiers – humidifiers are designed to increase humidity levels in commercial or residential wine cellars of all types and sizes.
What exactly is condensation?
Condensation happens when warm, moist air comes in contact with cooler surfaces. A typical sign is when water that collects as droplets on a cold surface when humid air is in contact with it.
Condensation on the outside of a wine cellar vs. on the inside of a wine cellar.
If you’re experiencing condensation forming on the outside of your wine cellar, that means that the cold inside is somehow getting to the surface of your door. As a matter of fact, the main reason you get condensation in a wine cellar is if the wine system is pulling in air from the outside space. Presuming that there haven’t been any changes in temperature and humidity in the room that the wine cellar is in, and that the wine cellar itself isn’t getting too cold, it could mean that the seals around the door are leaking. If you’re seeing moisture, including condensation and fogging, on the inside of your cellar, it could be a caused by a significant change in the room temperature where the wine cellar resides, or you may have issues with your climate control system; specifically, your humidifier.
What can be done about wine cellar condensation issues?
If your wine cellar is experiencing moisture issues and you’re not sure what the cause is, the first step is to contact a wine cellar cooling services expert. They can come out and determine what is causing the condensation and suggest ways to remedy the situation. If you don’t currently have a climate control system, they will likely suggest that one be installed. If you do have a cooling system, they can inspect the system, including fans and motors, check for refrigeration leaks, and clean the condenser coil and filter. They can also inspect the wine cellar itself to ensure that there are not construction issues causing condensation. Excess condensation can occur when a wine room is not well sealed. In addition, one of the most important things is proper insulation and a vapor barrier.
Under unusual circumstances, your wine cellar may temporarily become more humid or retain more moisture than usual, such as excessive entering and exiting of the cellar, which can impact the temperature and humidity level in the wine room. However, if that is not the case, it’s best to call in a wine cellar professional to ascertain what the issue is and resolve it.