Oops Don’t Make this Mistake–Wine Cellar Refrigeration System Error Requires a Tear Down and Rebuild

Time and again we get calls from home owners who are having major problems with humidity and water issues in the wine cellars. These residential custom wine cellars are expensive, beautifully designed features that people have added to their homes. More often than not though, the problems are entirely preventable. They are caused by the original contractor cutting corners or simply not understanding the correct way to install and build a wine room in the first place.  

The Newport Beach Orange County Wine Cellar Refrigeration Water Damage Call

Water Damaged Light Fixture - Orange County Wine Cellar Refrigeration New Port Beach Call Out

Water Damaged Light Fixture – Orange County Wine Cellar Refrigeration New Port Beach Call Out

This project was a call out we received from a client in Oceancrest, an up market development in Newport Beach, Orange County. They had discovered water dripping from the ceiling of their wine cellar!

In this picture you can see the water damage to the light fixture.

Upon inspection we found that the vapor barrier was installed on the wrong side of the insulation. Really, that was it. That is all it takes to end up with water dripping from your wine cellar’s ceiling. Unfortunately remedying the problem is not so simple. This home owner was lucky, it could have been a lot worse.

As you can clearly see in this picture below the plastic/Vapor barrier is on the cold side of the insulation. Also you can see that the fiberglass insulation is very wet.

Contact Arctic Metalworks and get your wine cellar inspected and installed properly.

The plastic vapor barrier is on the cold side of the insulation

The Plastic Vapor Barrier is Incorrectly Installed on the Cold Side of the Insulation

First, the Tear Down

In order to correct and repair this wine cellars we had to completely remove the mechanical refrigeration system itself and all the racking. We then stripped all the drywall out along with the wet insulation from within the walls.

It could have been a lot worse!

Fortunately for the home owner there was no black mold, we had caught the problem early. If there had been mold it would have been necessary to call out a specialists mold abatement company to remove it before we could have proceeded.

Repair and Use of Better Products

Repair and Use of Better Products - We Replaced the Insulation with Spray-in Polyurethane

Repair and Use of Better Products – We Replaced the Insulation with Spray-in Polyurethane

We replaced the insulation with a spray-in polyurethane product. This type of material provides superior level of insulation. It also doubles as a highly effective vapor barrier, all in one.  Given that this home owner had experienced the consequence of an incorrectly installed insulation and vapor barrier combination he was not inclined to cut corners this time.

We replaced the drywall and painted the room to the customer’s desired coloring. With that done we were able to re-install the refrigeration system and all the wine racking.

Although we were able to execute pretty quickly and restore the client’s home wine cellar to its original look, as you can imagine, the client found the whole experience both expensive and traumatic.

How to avoid this kind of Wine Cellar Refrigeration System Problem in the First Place

How to avoid this kind of Wine Cellar Refrigeration System Problem in the First Place

How to avoid this kind of Wine Cellar Refrigeration System Problem in the First Place!

The moral? If you are having a residential home wine cellar installed in your home, make sure you are working with an experienced specialist wine cellar cooling contractor.

A climate controlled wine cellar requires a purpose built refrigeration system with the correct type of insulation and vapor barrier installed throughout the room. A wine cellar refrigeration system is not the same as a standard home HVAC system. This is not a project for which you should hire HVAC contractors and or general builders.

Do not make the mistake the home owner above made, call Arctic Metalworks +1 (714) 251-6875 and get your wine cellar installed properly.

Arctic Metalworks are based in Orange County, California. We service and install wine cellar refrigeration equipment in and within 100 miles of Orange County.