There is always a lot of talk on every forum I have ever seen about winedors and their use as a humidor. I may be able to answer a question or two.
What is a thermoelectric unit ?
-These coolers/wine fridges are popular when the size is a bit smaller, so let's say usually a 10-28 bottle unit. The reason this style of cooling is used only in smaller units is due to the thermoelectric effect cannot remove enough heat in too big of an area, with a lot of warm product inside. There are a TON of these units out there. They do not have a compressor. They use two plates of metal to cool the interior. One plate is electrically charged and produces a cooling effect, the other is charged to produce a warming effect and remove the heat that transfers from the inside plate to the outside. There are usually fans inside of these units to move air around, as well as a drain hole in the back to remove condensate that builds up when the cooling effect happens.
What is a compressorized unit ?
-These coolers/wine cellars use a compressor to pump refrigerant into the cabinet, cause a cooling effect in a coil of some sort, and then remove the heat outside of the unit.
There are 2 different types of this style as well:
-Active cooling: Your compressor pumps the refrigerant inside, through an evaperator coil, and back outside. Inside of this style of unit is a fan which moves air over this evaperator coil, cools the air, and circulates it at the same time.
-Passive cooling: Your compressor pumps refrigerant inside, through a plate-style evaperator, and back outside. The plate evaperator is a fairly large (for the interior volume) flat section of metal with the refrigerant lines running throughout it. This plate cools down, causes the cooling effect needed, but does not remove very much humidity. There is no fan to circulate the air inside.
Do you need to buy a thermoelectric unit, or can you use one that has a compressor ?
- Your decision for buying one or the other will mainly be based on price, and availability. I have heard many people ask if a unit with a compressor is not good, and many say that you want to avoid the unit with a compressor. They both will remove humidity, which is one of the main concerns in our humidors. No matter which way you cut it, be it thermoelectric, or a compressor, you will ALWAYS have humidity removal as the cooling effect produced will ALWAYS cause condensation to drop from the air and have to be removed.
You do not need to buy a thermoelectric only.
If I wanted a larger unit, and it has a compressor, what should I look for ?
- Passive cooling. When you have a unit that uses passive cooling, you are not moving any air over the evaperator, and thus not bringing the humidity down faster. It uses convection to drop/move the warmer air in the cooler to the plate, cool down, and continue the cycle. It tends to remove a LOT less humidity than active cooling.
The reason I am encouraging to stay away from active cooling is the fact that when you have an evaperator coil where a fan is moving air over it, there will be a significantly higher amount of moisture removed from the air as it passes through said coil. Air conditioning and refrigeration both use the exact same principal: remove heat from the air passing through the evaperator coil. The problem is that when you pass that air through the coil, you are using a lot of that energy exchange to drop the moisture from the air before you are producing your cooling effect. This is why flower shops have evaperators in their cabinets that have very wide fin spacing. This helps move lots of air through the coil, while only doing a small amount of work. This keeps the humidity up, but you need a lot more air exchange.
Do I need to make sure the cabinet is sealed air tight ?
- Are you plugging the unit in, and thus causing a cooling effect ? If so, then you might need to keep that drain line open to remove any condensate that drops into the pan as you don't want standing water in your humi. It also depends where you live and the humidity situation outside. If you live in a very humid climate, then yes definitely. If you live where I live, you aren't really worried about it too much, except in the middle of the summer when it starts getting wet out from rain.
I have pulled light fixtures out inside to plug up holes, checked to make sure refrigerant lines are well sealed through the wall as well, and just checked all possible areas for any air leakage.
Do I need to cover the walls in "spanish cedar" or any other wood product ?
- This one is completely subjective. I have had very good success with just keeping cigar boxes made of wood inside my humi for years without any extra wood products. I think (personally) this is a subjective opinion of whether or not you want to make it look nicer inside or not. If you have enough boxes, or custom made drawers inside, you will not have to worry about loss of humidity when you open your door.
How do you get the smell out when you first buy one ?
- What worked for me was wipe the interior down with soap and water, rinsing and then airing out for a couple days. I grabbed a lot of leftover fliers and newspaper, crumpled it up, and filled the winedor full, and left it for at least a week. Then aired out again for another week after wiping down with soap and water.
I hope this helps at least a little bit. I know it's long, but there is still stuff I am missing and will try to edit later if need be. Any questions about this stuff, ask away in here, pm, or kick me in the shin when herfing
Hopefully you find what you are looking for.
If you are wanting to keep the temp up at around 65, but the gauge in your cooler is not able to turn up high enough, you can always use something like this. This controller has a remote bulb (grey wire) that you run into the cooler to read the space temp inside, and 2 power cords so that you plug one end into the wall socket and the other plugs into the cooler's plug-in. This way the controller is allowing power output to the cooler only if the temp gets too high, and cuts power when the temp gets too low.
I work with these controllers a bunch, and they are very reliable. Just look up Johnson Controls A419 plug in controller. You don't have to buy from this place, and it's not advertising, just an example of what I am talking about:
Very helpful! Thanks Zed! I'm glad I asked you about that last night, I should have mine in a week or two! cant wait! I'm going to keep this book marked...
Thanks! Helped answer some questions about Wineador's