A wine refrigerator is considered a staple for any serious wine devotee. It is a must-have for keeping your wines at the ideal temperature and preserving the flavors. Wine refrigerators are available as stand-alone units that range in size from small coolers to full-scale fridges the same size as the regular refrigerator in your kitchen. Follow the simple steps below to effectively install a medium-sized wine fridge that can easily fit under some available under-the-counter space.
Step 1 - Check Specifications
Before purchasing your wine refrigerator, make sure the manufacturer states that is approved for safe under the counter installation. Also check to see if it has back ventilation flow. Look for the small vents on the wine fridge that will be on the underside near either the front or the back. This is common in under the counter units due to fire codes. If so, you will also need a front ventilation unit, which can be found at refrigeration or electrical supply stores; they are fairly simple to attach and should come with instructions.
Step 2 - Measure the Space
Measure the length, width, height, and depth of where you plan to put your wine refrigerator and compare it against the fridge's dimensions. Most standard wine refrigerators are between 15 and 30 inches wide. If there is too much extra space at the sides and back, paint some filler strips black (for a more polished look) and attach them with your nail gun.
Step 3 - Plan Electrical Source
If possible, create your wine fridge space near the same outlet bay as your kitchen sink. This way you will simply need to run an extension electrical cord to the outlet for your garbage disposal. Use a ground protector for safety measures. Drill a small hole through the cabinets to fit the cord through so it will stay out of the way. Leave a small space at the back of the wine refrigerator to prevent pressure on the extension cord plug.
If your installation space is not near the kitchen sink bay and there is not an extension cord long enough to be practical, you will need to wire a new outlet for your wine fridge. Select and install a 110 volt outlet that is standard for most units, though the larger ones may require a 220 volt outlet that will also require a separate breaker in your fuse box. In these cases, consulting with a reputable electrical contractor is advised.
Step 4 - Installation
Carefully fit your wine refrigerator into the space and fit its mounting plates into the provided slots. Plug in the extension cord on both ends. Give the unit a few minutes to start the cooling process, and then check the temperature gauge. Most wines have ideal storage conditions of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit at 70 percent humidity. You want to make sure these are the settings on your new wine fridge. If your unit comes with feet on the bottom, make sure these are evenly attached so that your new wine chiller sits completely level on the floor.