Why wine fridges stop working

10 common reasons wine fridges break

If you're reading this blog post with any enthusiasm it can only be for one reason; your wine fridge has stopped working and is broken or is about to break.

Today we're going to look at the common reasons why wine fridges stop working and what you can do to fix your wine fridge.

In general wine fridges break either due to user error or manufacturing processes. Your warranty should protect you against manufacture faults but there many be actions you are taking with your wine fridge that caused it to break or hastened its demise.

Thermostat Malfunctions:

One of the primary reasons wine fridges may cease to function correctly is thermostat malfunctions. The thermostat is responsible for regulating the temperature inside the fridge. If it malfunctions, the temperature may become inconsistent, leading to wine spoilage or improper aging. Regularly checking and calibrating the thermostat can help prevent this issue.

Faulty Compressor:

The compressor is the heart of a wine fridge, responsible for cooling the interior. If the compressor fails, the fridge won't be able to maintain the desired temperature. Compressor issues could be caused by various factors, including electrical problems, wear and tear, or manufacturing defects. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the coils and ensuring proper ventilation, can extend the life of the compressor.

Poor Ventilation:

Proper ventilation is crucial for the efficient operation of a wine fridge. If the ventilation system is blocked or hindered, the fridge may struggle to cool effectively. Users should regularly clean the vents and ensure that there is sufficient space around the fridge for proper airflow. This simple maintenance step can significantly contribute to the longevity of the appliance.

Door Seal Problems:

The integrity of the door seal is vital for maintaining a stable temperature inside the wine fridge. If the door seal is damaged or compromised, warm air can infiltrate the fridge, leading to temperature fluctuations. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the door seal, as well as replacing it if necessary, can prevent this issue.

Electrical Issues:

Like any electrical appliance, wine fridges are susceptible to electrical problems. Issues such as faulty wiring, blown fuses, or tripped circuit breakers can disrupt the proper functioning of the fridge. Users should regularly inspect the electrical components, cords, and outlets to identify and address potential issues before they lead to a complete breakdown. Common issues stem from recent power cuts which can completely reset the unit and the owner will need to reset the set temperatures.

Refrigerant Leaks:

Wine fridges, like other refrigeration units, rely on refrigerants to cool the air. If there is a leak in the refrigerant system, the fridge's ability to maintain a consistent temperature will be compromised. Identifying and repairing refrigerant leaks requires professional assistance, and it's crucial to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage to the appliance.

Age and Wear:

As with any mechanical system, age and wear can take a toll on the components of a wine fridge. Over time, parts may deteriorate, and the overall efficiency of the fridge may decline. Regular maintenance, such as lubricating moving parts and replacing worn-out components, can help mitigate the effects of aging.

Overfilling or Underfilling the Wine Fridge

As with any mechanical system, age and wear can take a toll on the components of a wine fridge. Over time, parts may deteriorate, and the overall efficiency of the fridge may decline. Regular maintenance, such as lubricating moving parts and replacing worn-out components, can help mitigate the effects of aging.

Placing the wine fridge on a carpet/near a window:

Any external factor that heats up the surface area of the wine fridge, like placing in direct sunlight, near a radiator or on top of carpet or underfloor heating will cause the wine fridge to overcompensate and work harder to cool your wines. This leads to the increased wear and tear and will shorten the life of your wine fridge.

Never cleaning your wine fridge:

The various components of a wine fridge, such as the compressor, fan, and thermostat, can be adversely affected by neglect. Dust and debris can clog the fan, causing it to overheat, while the compressor may struggle to function optimally. Over time, these issues can lead to component failure, rendering your wine fridge useless and potentially causing irreparable damage to your wine collection.

Most reliable wine fridge brands

Assuming the reason for your broken wine fridge is not user error but poor manufacturing, then the choices are to either activate your rights under warranty or if the warranty is over, call out a repair person to assist you with the wine fridge. 

For future wine fridge buying decisions it makes sense to choose a reliable brand with top notch components and long warranties. The most reliable wine fridge brands are EuroCave and Liebherr first and foremost, after this Swisscave and Dunavox wine fridges. These brands have the least call outs and the longest service records of all the wine fridges we sell.

What is the life expectancy of a wine fridge?

Wine fridges can last anywhere from the one year warranty on some mass produced, none wine cooler specialist companies, all the way to 15-20 years in the case of some Liebherr and EuroCave wine fridges. Our team have stories of replacing EuroCave and Liebherr wine fridges that were originally bought in the 1990's. So whilst these two brands are both far more expensive than a Haier or a Bosch, they may potentially last x10 longer.

How to extend the lifespan of your wine fridge

Investing in a wine fridge is a commitment to preserving and enjoying your favourite vintages at their optimal quality. However, like any appliance, a wine fridge requires proper care and maintenance to ensure it functions efficiently over the long term. In this guide, we'll explore a range of tips and strategies to help you expand the lifespan of your wine fridge, keeping your wines in perfect condition for years to come.

  1. Placement and Environment:

    a. Temperature Control: Wine fridges are designed to maintain a consistent temperature, typically between 7-18°C. To optimise lifespan, place your wine fridge in a location with stable ambient temperatures, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

    b. Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is crucial for the compressor to function optimally. Ensure that there is ample space around the fridge for air circulation. Avoid placing it in a tight space or against a wall.

    c. Avoid Vibration: Vibrations can disturb the sediment in wine bottles, affecting their quality. Keep the wine fridge away from appliances that generate vibrations, such as washing machines or compressors.

  2. Interior Organisation:

    a. Proper Shelving: Arrange your wine bottles with care, making sure they are stored horizontally to keep the corks moist. Some wine fridges come with adjustable shelving to accommodate different bottle sizes.

    b. Humidity Levels: While most wine fridges don't have a humidity control feature, maintaining a relative humidity level of 50-80% is ideal for preserving cork integrity and preventing labels from deteriorating.

  3. Regular Cleaning:

    a. Exterior: Wipe down the exterior regularly with a soft cloth and mild detergent to prevent dust buildup. Pay attention to the ventilation grilles to ensure optimal airflow.

    b. Interior: Clean the interior every 3-6 months to remove any mold or mildew that may develop. Use a solution of water and mild detergent, and ensure the fridge is completely dry before restocking.

  4. Temperature Monitoring:

    a. Use a Thermometer: Place a thermometer inside the wine fridge to monitor temperature accurately. This ensures that your wines are consistently stored at the optimal temperature.

    b. Regular Calibration: Calibrate the temperature settings of your wine fridge annually to guarantee accuracy. Consult the user manual for instructions specific to your model.

  5. Power Surges and Outages:

    a. Surge Protectors: Protect your wine fridge from power surges by using a surge protector. This simple step can prevent damage to the compressor and other sensitive components.

    b. Battery Backup: Consider using a battery backup system to ensure the wine fridge continues to function during power outages, maintaining a stable temperature for your wines.

  6. Professional Maintenance:

    a. Regular Inspections: Schedule periodic inspections by a qualified technician to check for potential issues and address them before they become serious problems.

    b. Compressor Maintenance: If your wine fridge has a compressor, ensure it is inspected and serviced according to the manufacturer's recommendations. A well-maintained compressor significantly contributes to the overall lifespan of the appliance.

In conclusion, extending the lifespan of your wine fridge involves a combination of proper placement, regular maintenance, and mindful storage practices. By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your investment in a wine fridge pays off, allowing you to savour your favourite wines in peak condition for years to come. If you're having a problem with your wine fridge then come and see our experts in our London store or speak to us via live chat for help.

Sarah newton

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.