Wine Fridge not Cooling: Common Problems and How to Fix It

Adjusting the temperature

Why did the wine cooler go to the doctor? Because it was feeling a little chilled out!

Or in our case, it had a high fever. All jokes aside, buying a wine cooler for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, only to discover it’s not functioning properly can be incredibly frustrating.

Knowing Your Wine Cooler

Well, imagine this: you’re throwing a party and your wine cooler decides to take a break. You check the temperature and it’s warmer than a bear’s hug. Panic sets in and you start to investigate “why my wine fridge is not cooling”?

First of all, you have to determine whether you are dealing with a thermoelectric or a compressor cooling system.

If you don’t know which one your wine cooler is using, it’s like trying to fix a car without knowing if it’s powered by gasoline or electricity. You could end up doing more harm than good.

Common Problems with Compressor Wine Coolers

There can be various reasons why a compressor wine fridge might not be cooling, but some of the most common problems are:

  • Defective thermostat
  • Defective condenser fan
  • Faulty compressor

1. Defective Thermostat

The thermostat in a wine cooler controls the temperature by turning the compressor on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature.

If the thermostat is not signaling the compressor to turn on, the wine cooler will not be able to maintain the desired temperature. If the thermostat is signaling the compressor to turn on too frequently, it can cause the compressor to work too hard, leading to overheating, which can damage the compressor and prevent it from functioning properly.

In both cases, the result is a wine cooler that is not cooling properly. Therefore, a defective thermostat can cause a compressor wine cooler not to cool properly, and it is important to ensure that the thermostat is functioning correctly to avoid these problems.


A faulty thermostat cannot be fixed and it must be replaced, preferably by a technician.

We have a separate article talking in detail about the cost to repair a wine cooler that you can read here.

2. Defective Condenser Fan

A defective condenser fan can cause a wine cooler to not cool properly because it plays a critical role in removing heat from the cooling system.

The condenser fan helps to circulate air over the condenser coils, which dissipates heat from the wine cooler’s refrigerant as it flows through the coils. If the condenser fan is not working properly, the heat cannot be properly removed, causing the temperature inside the wine cooler to rise.


Properly inspect the fan blades to make sure they are not obstructed or damaged. If the blades are obstructed, carefully remove any debris that may be blocking them. If the blades are damaged, they will need to be replaced.

And if after cleaning the blades, the fan is still not working, it might need to be replaced.

3. Faulty Compressor

The compressor is a critical component of a wine cooler, responsible for circulating refrigerant through the cooling system to remove heat and cool the interior of the wine cooler, and if it is not working correctly, it may not be able to circulate the refrigerant properly. This can be due to a faulty motor, a lack of refrigerant, or a clogged refrigerant line.


If, after troubleshooting your wine cooler, it is found that the compressor is faulty, it is recommended to have a professional technician diagnose and repair the issue.

Uncommon Issues with a Wine Fridge that is not Cooling Properly

There are some other not as common reasons that will stop wine coolers from working properly:

Overcrowded Wine Cooler

When the cooler is filled beyond capacity, bottles can obstruct the airflow, leading to uneven cooling and warmer temperatures. This strain may cause ice buildup as the cooler tries to compensate.

It’s important to ensure that you’re not overloading the wine cooler beyond its intended capacity. Check the manual for the recommended capacity and remove some bottles if needed.

Faulty Relay Switch

A faulty relay switch can be a problem for a wine cooler because it controls the compressor, which is responsible for cooling the wine cooler. If the relay switch is faulty, it can prevent the compressor from turning on or off when it’s supposed to. This can cause the wine cooler to stop cooling or to cool excessively, which can damage the wine or spoil its taste.

The Door Seal is Damaged or not Sealing Properly

If warm air is constantly entering the wine cooler due to a faulty door seal, the compressor will have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, which can cause it to wear out faster and eventually fail.

Common Problems With Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Before you begin troubleshooting why your wine fridge is not cooling, rule out the most apparent cause, which is a power supply issue.

If all the appliances around are turned on and work properly, try switching on the light in the wine cooler and see if it lights up. If it doesn’t light up, then the problem is with the power cord; if it lights up, keep looking for another reason.

Let’s say we came to the conclusion that your appliance is a thermoelectric wine cooler, and for some reason it is not cooling wine the way it is supposed to. These are the most common reasons why a thermoelectric wine cooler is not working properly:

  • Ambient temperature is too high

  • Defective evaporator fan

  • Improper ventilation

1. Ambient Temperature is too High

First things first, if the surrounding temperature where your thermoelectric wine cooler is installed is too high, this is the main reason why a thermoelectric wine fridge is not cooling.

These types of refrigerators use a principle called the Peltier effect to keep wine cool.

One side of the device gets cold, while the other side gets hot. In a wine cooler, the cold side is placed inside the cooler to chill the air around it and cool the wine bottles. (1)

If the ambient temperature is too high, the hot side can’t get rid of the heat fast enough, and it will continue to build up. This can cause the device to malfunction and not be able to cool effectively.


You can either adjust the air conditioner and reduce the temperature of the room, or just place the wine fridge in a cooler room and the problem is solved.

2. Defective Evaporator Fan

The hot air inside a thermoelectric wine refrigerator is moved out through a fan, just like most other refrigerators.

The evaporator fan can get blocked by dust or debris, and may not be able to spin. If the fan blades can spin freely, the problem may be with the fan motor.


Before you start troubleshooting the fan, unplug the appliance to ensure your safety. Remove any parts or debris around the fan to free it up. After cleaning, plug it in and see if it is working properly.

If the fan motor is faulty, then it might need to be replaced, and it is better to call a technician.

3. Improper Ventilation

Thermoelectric wine coolers require proper ventilation to maintain optimal cooling performance. When the cooler is placed in an area with poor ventilation, or it is blocked by some other objects, such as a bar counter or other appliances, it can cause the temperature inside the cooler to rise, reducing its cooling capacity.

This is because the heat generated by the cooling system has nowhere to go and ends up being trapped inside the cooler, making it more difficult to cool the interior.


In order to avoid blockage of a thermoelectric wine cooler’s ventilation, you must install it away from anything that might obstruct it. It is recommended to leave at least 2-3 inches of space around the wine cooler to allow proper ventilation.

How do you Reset a Wine Cooler?

The process of resetting a wine cooler may vary depending on the model and manufacturer, but you can try unplugging the wine fridge from the power source, and leave it unplugged for a few minutes to allow it to completely reset.

If that doesn’t work, check the manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on how to reset your wine cooler. Some models may require you to hold down a button or combination of buttons, while others may have a reset button on the control panel.


The majority of wine fridge problems are infrequent and occur in only 1 out of every 50 appliances, or when the fridge reaches the end of its lifespan, just like any other machine.

When it comes to wine coolers, knowing the type of cooling system it uses is essential for troubleshooting.

If you have a thermoelectric cooler, common issues to watch out for include high ambient temperature, defective evaporator fans, and insufficient ventilation. If you have a compressor wine cooler, thermostat problems and defective condenser fans are the most common culprits. 

But don’t worry, with a little know-how, you can troubleshoot these issues like a pro. And if you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to seek help from a professional.

Stan Kushkin

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