If you’re any type of wine connoisseur, you know that you should store it between the temperatures of 50 and 59°F or 10 to 15°C. So if your wine cooler is not cooling—which is the very reason you bought it for—you have cause for concern.

This article will take you through several possible reasons why your wine cooler is not cooling as well as the recommended fixes.

Keep reading for tips on how to keep your wine cooler running properly and your wine fresh.

Reasons Why Your Wine Cooler Is Not Cooling

To help you understand what may have gone wrong in the process and to fix it, it makes sense to provide you with a brief overview of how your wine cooler works, so let’s start with that.

Small compressor wine coolers are similar to the refrigerator you have in your kitchen except they use a vapor compression cycle to remove heat from the unit. In terms of technology, this is similar to how an air conditioner works.

Thermoelectric wine coolers use a different technology, known as the Peltier effect. This process involves an electric charge that sent through a module made up of two pieces of joined metal.

One side of the module—the side that collects and dissipates heat is on the exterior of your cooler. The other side—the cold side—is in the interior. Warm air is extracted from the inside of the cooler and released outside.

Possible Wine Cooler Issues
Compressor wine coolersDefective thermostat
 Condenser fan needs cleaning or replacing
Faulty evaporator coil
Thermoelectric wine coolersRoom temperature too hot or too cold
 Not enough ventilation
Faulty or disconnected fan

If Your Compressor Wine Cooler Isn’t Cooling

The following troubleshooting tips are specific to compressor wine coolers.

#1 Defective Thermostat

Similar to the way the thermostat in your home controls your heating and cooling, the thermostat on your wine cooler dictates your fridge’s temperature. If the thermostat is broken or malfunctioning your fridge can become too hot or even too cold.

Solution. Depending on the brand of wine cooler you have, you may or may not be able to replace the thermostat yourself. They’ll typically cost about $30 or $40.

Check your parts manual for the type and model number of the thermostat in your fridge and see if you can purchase a new one. Then determine where the thermostat is connected in the unit and if it fits somewhere that can be accessed and replaced.

Check out the video below for a walkthrough of a thermostat replacement but keep in mind each model will be unique.

#2 Condenser Fan Requires Cleaning or Replacing

The fan helps to keep the compressor and condenser coils cool and runs when the compressor is running. If the condenser fan stops working properly then the compressor overheats and the temperature was in your cooler will rise.

Solution. The fix may be as simple as cleaning the blades, as a thick layer of dust or debris can stop them from spinning. If that isn’t an issue the problem may be with the can denser fan motor. It may have bearings that require lubrication, or the motor may need to be replaced entirely.

#3 Faulty Evaporator Coil

If the evaporator coil in your wine cooler is icing over it means your cooling system isn’t working as it should. An efficiently running coil will help your cooler achieve the temperatures necessary.

Allowing a layer of dirt to build up on your coils is a recipe for disaster as it restricts heat absorption.

If heat absorption is restricted, this can stop your refrigerant from heating up past the freezing point. Then the moisture on the coil turns to frost or ice until absorption is completely blocked.

Solution. In some cases, this will be an easy fix. All it might take is removing any ice and dirt from the coil.

Wine cooler back part with ice in the evaporator coil
If moist air enters the wine cooler during the cooling period, the water molecules will condense and potentially freeze on the back wall of the wine cabinet.

If Your Thermoelectric Wine Cooler Isn’t Cooling

As mentioned above, thermoelectric wine coolers function differently from compressor coolers, so there are different things that can go wrong.

#1 Room Temperature Too Hot of Cold

For a thermoelectric wine cooler to work properly, it should be in a room that stays between 50 to 80°F or 10 to 27°C. This is due to the way the Peltier modules work since they struggle to maintain low temperatures.

Since this type of cooler doesn’t have refrigerant like a compressor cooler does it’s very difficult for the modules to cool the freezer down if the surrounding environment is too hot.

Solution. Assuming you can control your room temperature in the cooling season—meaning you have working air conditioning—this is a simple fix. Move your wine cooler to a cooler location.

#2 Not Enough Ventilation

If you already have your cooler in a room with the appropriate temperature, the reason why your thermoelectric wine cooler may be too warm is a lack of ventilation.

Since this type of cooler works by transferring heat out of the unit via the module, there has to be enough space and air movement around it to facilitate the process and keep heat locked inside.

Solution. Move the fridge. Find a spot where there is ample air space around it. Don’t have the back right up against a wall or anything else.

If you have a countertop cooler, move it away from any appliances that give off heat.

#3 Faulty Fan

Back of wine cooler whitout the cover. Pace where are the fans
The fan on a wine cooler circulates the air throughout the interior so that the entire area maintains an even temperature.

To help extract heat from your wine cooler, all thermoelectric units have built-in fans located beside the heatsink. Like any fan, if the blades or motor get clogged with dust and or debris they can stop working. The fan can also disconnect.

Solution. Check to make sure nothing is hindering the movement of the blades. If there’s a buildup of dirt clean them off or if there is an obstruction move it away. Check for loose connections and fix if necessary and if the fan is broken they can be replaced.


Wine coolers are fairly simple appliances with only a few things that can go wrong and in many cases, the fixes are easy to deal with.

To recap:

If you have a compressor wine cooler, check for the following.

  • Defective thermostat
  • Condenser fan needs cleaning or replacing
  • Faulty evaporator coil

If you have a thermoelectric wine cooler, the problem may be one of the following.

  • Room temperature too hot or cold
  • Not enough ventilation
  • Faulty or disconnected fan

Hopefully one of the above addresses your problem! While you’re here why not check out our related posts below, perhaps we can help you with something else.

Thanks for reading!