Do I need to plumb in a wine fridge?

A question we're frequently asked both in-store and via live chat is whether a wine fridge needs to be plumbed into the drainage system or have water running into them, the simple answer is no, no wine fridge needs to be plumbed in to your household system as wine fridges neither run off nor expel water (or at least not in any great capacities).

Even brands with humidity management like Swisscave or Liebherr do not need plumbing in as all humidity and water management is done via the internal tech.

Do I need to plumb in a wine fridge?

For wine enthusiasts, investing in a wine fridge is a crucial step towards preserving and enhancing the flavours of their cherished bottles. Whether you're a casual wine drinker or a seasoned connoisseur, a wine fridge offers a controlled environment that ensures your wine ages gracefully and reaches its full potential. One aspect that often sparks debates and confuses many is whether wine fridges need to be plumbed in. In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the subject to debunk the myth and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the plumbing question.

Understanding Wine Fridges

Before we delve into the plumbing debate, let's first understand what a wine fridge is and its purpose. A wine fridge, also known as a wine cooler or wine cellar, is a specialized appliance designed to store and chill wine bottles at the ideal temperature range. Unlike regular refrigerators, wine fridges have a temperature range typically set between 7°C to 18°C to ensure that your wine is stored at an serving or storage optimal temperature.

Wine fridges come in various sizes and styles, from small countertop units that can hold a few bottles to larger freestanding wine fridges or built-in models capable of accommodating an extensive wine collection. They often include features such as adjustable temperature controls, humidity management, and UV-resistant glass doors to protect the wine from light exposure.

To Plumb or Not to Plumb: That is the Question

The plumbing debate arises mainly from the presence of certain wine fridges equipped with a water tray or a humidification system. These additional features might lead some to believe that plumbing is necessary. However, the reality is that the majority of wine fridges do not require any plumbing at all and none of the wine fridges we sell at Coolersomm require plumbing.

The water tray or humidification system is designed to help maintain the proper humidity level inside the wine fridge. Humidity control is essential because it prevents corks from drying out, which could lead to air seepage and spoilage of the wine. The water tray or system can be refilled manually, typically every few months, depending on the fridge's humidity management system.

Why is there water in my wine fridge?

Have you ever opened your wine fridge to grab a bottle for a special occasion, only to find a pool of water collecting at the bottom? If so, you're not alone. Many wine fridge owners have encountered this perplexing issue, and understandably, it can be quite disconcerting. However, fear not! The presence of water in your wine fridge is not uncommon, and in this blog post, we'll explore the various reasons why this happens and what you can do to address the issue.

1. Condensation

The most likely cause of water in your wine fridge is condensation. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a surface that is cooler than the dew point of the air. In the case of a wine fridge, the glass door and interior surfaces are colder than the surrounding air, leading to moisture in the air condensing and forming water droplets.

2. Humidity Levels

Humidity levels inside your wine fridge play a significant role in the occurrence of condensation. If the humidity is too high, there will be more moisture in the air, increasing the likelihood of condensation forming on the colder surfaces of the fridge. On the other hand, if the humidity is too low, it can cause corks to dry out and lead to potential wine spoilage.

3. Door Seal Issues

Another common reason for water in your wine fridge could be a compromised door seal. The rubber gasket that lines the perimeter of the wine fridge's door is responsible for creating an airtight seal, preventing warm, humid air from entering the fridge. If the door seal is damaged or not properly aligned, outside air can seep in, leading to condensation and water buildup.

4. Temperature Fluctuations

A wine fridge that experiences frequent temperature fluctuations can also contribute to condensation. When the temperature inside the fridge fluctuates, the air's ability to hold moisture changes, potentially leading to condensation forming on surfaces.

5. Overfilling the Wine Fridge

If you have recently added new bottles to your wine fridge or have positioned them too close together, it could obstruct proper airflow inside the fridge. Restricted airflow can trap moisture and exacerbate condensation issues.

What Can You Do to Prevent Water Buildup?

Now that we have identified some of the reasons behind the water in your wine fridge, let's explore the steps you can take to prevent or address this issue:

1. Check and Clean the Door Seal

Inspect the door seal for any visible signs of damage or misalignment. Clean the seal and the area around it regularly to ensure it remains free from debris or residue that could compromise the seal's effectiveness.

2. Monitor Humidity Levels

Most wine fridges come with humidity controls, allowing you to adjust the humidity level inside. Aim for a humidity level between 50% to 70% to strike the right balance between preventing excessive condensation and keeping the corks moist.

3. Allow Sufficient Airflow

Avoid overpacking the wine fridge, as it can restrict airflow. Ensure there's ample space between bottles to allow for proper air circulation, which can help reduce the chances of condensation forming.

4. Consistent Temperature Settings

Maintain consistent temperature settings in your wine fridge. Avoid frequent adjustments, as temperature fluctuations can contribute to condensation issues.

5. Regular Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance on your wine fridge, including cleaning the interior, checking for any leaks or unusual sounds, and verifying that the cooling system is functioning correctly.

In conclusion, very few wine fridges need to be plumbed in and none of our wine fridges do as they are all self contained units.

If you need some help choosing a wine fridge visit us in store, call or speak with our experts via live chat.

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.