The Complete Cellar Cooling Buying Guide Inc. Keg Coolers
63 days ago..

Last updated: 2020-01-02 15:10:56

 

Cellar cooling is most commonly associated and often seen in pub and bar cellar areas however can also be utilised in a number of other settings. With the installation of an outdoor and indoor unit, you can transform any standard room into a chilled storage space.

For businesses with limited space, keg coolers can be a great bar refrigeration alternative.

While the concept seems simple, there are many factors that must be considered when purchasing your climate refrigeration system. Here we aim to clarify important aspects and information, with a few top tips thrown in along the way to make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge that you need to make the right choice when buying cellar refrigeration or looking to buy commercial keg coolers.

Table of Contents

What Is Cellar Cooling?
How Do Cellar Coolers Work?
Choosing a Cellar Cooling Model
Alternatives to Cellar Cooling

Keg Cooler Mini-Buying Guide
What are Keg Coolers?
Different Types of Keg Coolers
Keg Cooler Size and Keg Capacity
Cleaning and Maintaining your Commercial Keg Cooler

What Temperature Should a Cellar Cooler Unit Operate At?
Why It’s Important to Achieve Optimum Recommended Temperatures
Cellar Cooler Temperature Control
Positioning and Placement
What’s ‘Throw Distance’?
Is Cellar Cooling Equipment Noisy?
Power and Efficiency
Understanding Refrigerants
Cellar Cooling Features
Cleaning and Maintenance
Manufacture
Cellar Cooler Price
Twin Cellar Coolers
Warranty
Ask Advice

What is Cellar Cooling?

Cellar cooling is the term used to describe a refrigeration system which creates or replicates a cold room environment for chilled storage. Although similar in use to bespoke cold rooms or modular cold rooms, cellar refrigeration systems are installed within a pre-existing room, with no need for a modular panelled structure.

Sometimes referred to as active cellar cooling, this is the most commonly used system to chill beer and wine cellars, whether above or below ground. As well as typical beer and wine contents, this room chilling technique can also create appropriate storage environments for fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. They operate in much the same way as an air conditioning unit however are purely for chilling without the ability to provide heat.

When people refer to cellar cooling, most naturally think of an old storeroom situated beneath a building, however, whilst this used to be the norm, and still is in older buildings, cellars can now be classed as any refrigerated room, even those above ground as is typical of new build properties.

How Do Cellar Coolers Work?

Commercial cellar cooling works on the same principle as any other commercial refrigeration system except on a larger, extended scale. Rather than operating integrally within a single piece of equipment, as is the case with commercial catering fridges and freezers, this set-up strongly resembles a remote refrigeration system. The only exception is that rather than cooling a distinct piece of equipment attached at one end, it is chilling a whole room. Bar cellar cooling, pub coolers and wine cellar cooling can cover multiple levels and greater distances in order to accommodate underground cellars and storage areas if required.

Read more Commercial Refrigeration 101: How Does the Refrigeration Cycle Work?

The outdoor unit is fitted externally of the building and houses the condenser aka. heat exchanger. This is where the refrigerant gas becomes cool liquid. This travels through the liquid pipe to the indoor evaporator unit which is installed within the room that requires chilling. It is this evaporator system that forces out cold air into the storage space. To complete the cycle, a suction pipe carries gas back through to the outdoor unit to begin the process again.

Here we show a simplified diagram to demonstrate the basics of this type of refrigeration system.

Diagram of indoor and outdoor cellar cooling units with connecting pipe work

Standard cooling systems are able to support a pipe run between the outdoor and indoor units up to 25m in total.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: A fan speed controller should be present in the condenser if the pipe run is longer than 15m.

 

Choosing a Cellar Cooling Model

The cellar cooler model you need will be dependent on the size of the room you wish to cool and whether it is located above or below ground.

Here’s a quick guide table to help you find the configuration you need. If you need more information, get in touch with our team of experts on 01455 234776 or via email sales@fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk.

Cellar Cooling Models and Room Size

The dimensions of the space you need to chill will obviously determine the size of the cooling system you need. The larger the space the more powerful the equipment needs to be.

This table gives an approximate guide to the model you’ll need in relation to the size of your space.

Model Above Ground (max. room m3) Below Ground (max. room m3)
JCC2 25E / J5LC15C 25 45
JCC2 40E / J5LC20C 48 70
JCC2 50E / J5LC25C 56 90
JCC2 60E / J5LC28C 70 120

Alternatives to Cellar Cooling

If you’re running a bijoux establishment, don’t have a suitable storeroom, don’t hold sufficient quantities of stock to warrant cooling a whole cellar room or where cellar cooling isn’t a viable option, keg coolers are the perfect alternative.

Keg Cooler Mini-Buying Guide

True TDD-2 Black Keg Cooler with two stainless steel taps True TDD-2 Portable Keg Cooler

What are Keg Coolers?

Primarily used for cooling beer kegs, these chillers are also known by many other terms such as beer fridges, kegerators or remote beer coolers. The refrigerated cabinet design typically has solid doors and is intended to hold kegs of beer at optimum serving temperatures, as they would be in a cellar. The keg cooler effectively becomes its own little microcosm of a larger stereotypical beer cellar.

These units can be used additionally to a cellar or instead of, where space is limited. They’re a great choice for temporary, secondary or off-site bars.

Different Types of Keg Coolers

There are three general categories for commercial keg coolers. Each has its own benefits making individual designs suitable to specific situations and requirements.

Under Bar Keg Coolers

Under bar keg coolers are integral units with an in-built refrigeration system. Available as single or double door cabinets, they are perfect for positioning below existing counters to fully utilise all available bar space.

Modular Keg Coolers

Modular keg coolers perform exactly the same job as under bar alternatives however the storage cabinet and refrigeration motor are purchased as separate units. This gives greater versatility when choosing storage capacities. Typically situated within the vicinity of the main bar, perfectly chilled beer is syphoned through a python line which runs through to the bar serving area and the dispensing tap. This means that the keg cooler doesn’t need to be located at the exact point of dispense for more flexible positioning in smaller bar areas.

Portable Keg Coolers

Portable keg coolers offer an all-in-one, direct draw solution, great for temporary or occasional bars. Comprising of the keg cooling cabinet, integral motor and a fixed dispensing tap, you can serve cold beer on draft from anywhere – all you need is a 13A power supply.

Keg Cooler Size and Keg Capacity

Keg coolers, or kegerators, come in a range of sizes and capacities, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find equipment to fit your requirements.Metal beer kegs and barrels

Under bar beer chillers typically measure 860 - 880mm height and between 880 – 1350mm width. They will hold up to 2 x 50 litre kegs or up to 8 x 20 litre equivalents.

Modular cabinets will offer heights between 1080 – 1100mm and widths ranging from 1060 – 2200mm. There’s a wide range of choice when it comes to capacity with smaller models holding 2 x 50 litre kegs or 4 x 30 litre kegs and the largest units chilling a massive 10 x 50 litre kegs or 20 x 30 litre equivalents.

Portable direct draw cabinets offer single or double dispensing tap options with 1328 – 1372mm height range (including taps) and 597 – 1496mm widths. They are designed to hold either one or two half barrels.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: What’s the difference between a keg and a barrel? In basic terms, a keg is a smaller version of a barrel. A standard keg is typically defined as holding approximately 88 imperial pints while a standard barrel is defined as holding approximately 288 imperial pints.

 

Cleaning and Maintenance your Commercial Keg Cooler

Correct cleaning and maintenance is critical, as with any other piece of commercial refrigeration. Any beer spillages can quickly become sticky, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It is vital to mop up any beer spills as soon as they occur and frequently clean the interior and exterior surfaces of the chiller to maintain hygiene.

The refrigeration system: condenser, evaporator and vents, should all be kept clear and free of dust and debris to guarantee optimum airflow to the components. A clogged system will not be able to operate at full performance or as efficiently as it should. Extra strain will also be put on the system as it has to work harder to achieve the desired temperatures. This could ultimately cause issues with potential breakdowns and decrease the expected lifespan of the equipment.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Allow ample airflow and ventilation around the refrigeration system and the chiller as a whole, to achieve consistent, efficient results.

 

What Temperature Should a Cellar Cooler Unit Operate At?

Cellar cooling systems can operate at a range of temperatures typically between 4°C and 16°C. The temperature can be set according to the product you wish to store. The average temperature for a beer cellar or wine cellar is generally circa 12°C. Fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy should be stored at temperatures towards the lower end of the scale, while the environment for fresh flowers will depend on the type of flower.

If your pipe run is less than 15m the lowest temperature you can achieve with standard systems is 4°C. For pipe runs between 15m and 25m the lowest achievable temperature rises to 6°C.

Each different temperature setting will have different kW power requirements.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Remember that temperature isn’t the only vital element that needs addressing when storing wine. As well as wine cellar cooling, you’ll need to invest in a humidity control to keep your wines in the best possible condition.

 

Why It’s Important to Achieve Optimum Recommended Temperatures

  • Preservation of quality and freshness. In beers, yeast can increase its metabolism of sugar when it’s too warm. Yeast becomes inactive if it’s too cold. Either way, the Thermometer with blue at bottombeer is spoiled.
  • Reduce potential waste.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Invest in a few additional thermometers located at specific points around the room. While the control panel on the system will let you know what temperature the unit is set to and running at, it’s always good to keep an eye on the temperature of the room at the farthest reach of the cooling unit. You may find hotspots that may otherwise have gone undetected. Any variations may also be an early warning signal of a potential problem with your cellar cooler.

 

Cellar Cooler Temperature Control

Cellar coolers generally feature a Dixell controller to provide precision temperature control. Proving to be accurate and easy to use, the controller uses a thermostat probe to guarantee that your storage area can achieve and maintain the consistent conditions vital for holding valuable stock in an optimal environment. Intuitive to use, the digital display clearly signals current temperature settings.

Typically, utilising an off-cycle defrost system, the easy-to-read display gives visuals of the length of the defrost cycle and the time between each. These settings are usually pre-set, the only variable to be set in-house, being temperature.

The control panel keys can be locked to prevent any interference with settings.

Positioning and Placement

While the positioning and placement of your cooling system might seem like a no-brainer with the external unit fitted externally and the internal unit fitted in the room you wish to chill, mounted either on the wall or ceiling on a secure bracket, there’s actually a little more to consider.

As with any other commercial refrigeration, it’s essential to leave ample space around each unit to allow for adequate airflow. Not only does this eliminate any obstruction that could hinder the performance of the system and impede the flow of air but also gives sufficient access for cleaning and maintenance procedures.

Diagram showing minimum airflow required around indoor cellar cooling unit

Diagram showing minimum required airflow around outdoor cellar cooling unit

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Your F-Gas registered refrigeration engineer will assess the best position for installation during a site visit.

 

What’s ‘Throw Distance’?

The term ‘throw distance’ or ‘air throw’ is often used when discussing cellar cooling solutions. It describes how far the air travels or is forced after leaving the indoor evaporator unit. Typical throw distances are approximately 8 metres when based on an air velocity (speed) of 0.4m/s in a room with temperatures set to 12.7°C.

Where a greater air throw is required, an 'air straightener' is available. This attachment creates a more direct, focused air current which results in it being able to travel further. This addition can be retrofitted, meaning it can be attached to a pre-installed unit.

Side view of cellar cooling air throw without air straightener Air throw without air straightener
Side view of cellar cooling air throw with air straightener Air throw with air straightener

 

Is Cellar Cooling Equipment Noisy?

Any refrigeration that utilises a motor will produce some level of noise. To keep disruption to a minimum both internally and externally, units are designed for low noise operation at reduced decibel (dB) levels. All measurements are free field based at 10 metres.

As a reference point, a normal conversation measures around 60dB.

Decibels (dB) Produced Based on a Room Temperature at 12.7°C

Model Position of Unit Decibels (dB)
JCC2 25E Indoor 48
J5LC15C Outdoor 29
JCC2 40E Indoor 48
J5LC20C Outdoor 29
JCC2 50E Indoor 47
J5LC25C Outdoor 32
JCC2 60E Indoor 47
J5LC28C Outdoor 34

 

Power and Efficiency

The units required to refrigerate an existing room or structure generally uses a hardwired single phase electrical connection. The kilowatts (kW) and Amps (A) required for each model will be dependent on the average ambient room temperature, the temperature you require the room to be chilled too, the size of the room and whether it is situated above or below ground level.

The following tables show the corresponding power supply for each model, based on average ambient room temperatures of 32°C above ground level and 21°C below ground level.  The fuse ratings measured in Amps are calculated on rooms with an assumed set temperature of 12.7°C.

Temperature Setting and Kilowatts (kW)

Kilowatts (kW) used based on an ambient room temperature of 32°C 
Model Room temp set @ 4°C Room temp set @ 8°C Room temp set @ 10°C Room temp set @ 12.7°C Room temp set @ 16°C
JCC2 25E / J5LC15C 2.7 2.78 2.82 2.87 2.94
JCC2 40E / J5LC20C 3.78 4.02 4.14 4.31 4.53
JCC2 50E / J5LC25C 4.19 4.45 4.59 4.78 5.02
JCC2 60E / J5LC28C 5.29 5.53 5.65 5.82 6.03

Amps (A) Required Based on a Set Temperature of 12.7°C

Model Fuse Rating (A)
JCC2 25E / J5LC15C 16
JCC2 40E / J5LC20C 20
JCC2 50E / J5LC25C 25
JCC2 60E / J5LC28C 32

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Don’t place any machinery or equipment that produces heat in the room that you wish to cool. It makes the job of the refrigeration system harder as it has to fight against and chill the heat that is being created. Such equipment includes any other refrigerated units or items with motors. The condenser of the cooling system (the part that produces the heat) is located on an exterior wall for this reason: to minimise heat output and remove any potential heat sources in the storage area.

Cellar cooling solutions are designed for use 24 hours a day with an average 18 hour total running time. Don’t be tempted to switch the system off thinking that you’ll conserve energy and save on running costs. The truth is that more energy is used getting the room back down to temperature and more stress put on the refrigeration system by repeatedly pulling down temperatures than if the system is left on constantly to simply maintain the room.

Understanding Refrigerants

FACT: It’s getting harder to buy cellar cooling online.

WHY: Whereas, the majority of suppliers used to have access to cellar cooling systems to retail to the customer, this has recently changed. The introduction of strict F-Gas regulations now means that only approved businesses, with F-Gas registered engineers, can supply equipment.

SOLUTION: You can buy cellar cooling and keg coolers with confidence from FFD!

Cellar coolers use R410a refrigerant – a hydrocarbon (HC) that requires engineers to undergo specialist training in order to become registered to work with equipment. Hydrocarbons have a lower global warming potential (GWP) than alternative hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) such as R134a, making them healthier for the environment.

When purchasing a cellar cooler, the condenser unit pipe run will usually be pre-charged up to 7.6m with refrigerant. If any extra pipe-work requires refrigerant charge this will incur an additional cost typically per metre.

Where a longer pipe run than the standard 25 metre maximum is required and a twin cellar cooling system is necessary, an alternate refrigerant will be used.

Cellar Cooling FeaturesDigital temperature control

Essentially just a large refrigeration system, you won’t find the typical additional features such as lights and shelves etc. that you would with other commercial refrigeration equipment. There are, however, a few added extras that will enhance performance and operation.

  • Low pressure (LP) switch – connected to the indoor unit, the system cuts-out when pressure falls too low. This could be due to issues such as a shortage of refrigerant, blocked evaporator or thermostatic failure.
  • Aluminium alloy drip tray – attached to the indoor evaporator, there’s no need to worry about potential leaks as it’s designed to catch any excess water/condensation.
  • Minimum and maximum temperature alarms – alerts users to any unexpected or unscheduled fluctuations in temperature.
  • Thermostat probe – ensures accurate temperatures in line with the current settings.
  • Off-cycle defrost – enforces a temporary pause of the refrigeration cycle, raising the temperature and allowing a thaw of any potential build-up of ice, before resuming the cycle.

Cleaning and Maintenance

When it comes to cellar coolers, regular cleaning and maintenance, just as with any other form of commercial refrigeration, is vital. If you don’t give the system, the attention it needs, it will be unable to perform as it was designed to and achieve the results you expect. Not only can neglect have an adverse effect on performance but will also affect efficiency and decrease the potential longevity of the unit.

Cleaning Tips

  1. Clean condenser and evaporator coils and keep them free of obstruction. Use mild soap, warm water and a soft cloth or alternatively vacuum away any dust with a soft brush attachment.
  2. Re-calibrate the thermostat probe when required, in line with manufacturers recommendations.
  3. Although basic cleaning can be performed in-house, all servicing and maintenance must be carried out by a qualified F-Gas engineer.

Manufacture

Refrigeration systems must be strong, durable and robust in order to withstand notoriously tough commercial environments. To guarantee chillers that are up to the job, J&E Hall cellar cooling solutions are manufactured with a galvanised steel casing, finished with a polyester powder coating. All models, especially outdoor units, are durable and weatherproof, ensuring that they stand the test of time.

The brewery specification 6 fins per inch evaporator coils deliver more consistent performance, the fewer fins meaning they are more widely spaced resulting in less risk of potential ice build-up that could impede airflow.

Every system requires a liquid pipe leading to the evaporator and a suction pipe leading away from the evaporator, back to the compressor and condenser. The liquid pipe acts as the expansion line where hot liquid becomes cold refrigerant and therefore requires insulating. The size of the pipes will vary depending on the cellar cooling model.

Cellar Cooler Models and Pipe Sizes

Model Liquid Pipe (inches Ø) Suction Pipe (inches Ø)
JCC2 25E / J5LC15C 1/4" 1/2"
JCC2 40E / J5LC20C 1/4" 1/2"
JCC2 50E / J5LC25C 1/4" 5/8"
JCC2 60E / J5LC28C 3/8" 5/8"

Cellar Cooler Price

Basic prices will generally range from approximately £1150 to £1900 (correct at time of publishing), depending on the size of the room and the model selected. This proves to be a cost-effective way to create reliable chilled storage areas from pre-existing rooms rather than invest in a whole new modular or bespoke cold room.

What’s Included?

The purchase price shown will typically only include the indoor and outdoor units.

Accessories, extras, installation or additional pipework are not included.

Pound symbol in circle

Installation and Additional Costs

The total price you can expect to pay for your cooling system will depend on a number of variables.

Once you have bought the core cellar cooler there will be additional costs that you can expect to incur. This may include:

  • Installation.
  • Any additional pipework above the standard 25 metre maximum.
  • Additional extras and accessories including air straighteners and additional refrigerant charging.

You will require an F-Gas engineer to install the system. The installation will cover the cost of the piping and therefore the amount you pay will be dependent on the size and position of the unit and the premises.

Standard systems support up to 25m pipe run which includes length and rise measurements. The smallest model can accommodate a maximum rise of 5m with this increasing to an 8m rise for remaining units.

Any premises requiring a greater pipe run distance than 25m will require a twin cellar cooling set-up.

 

Yellow light bulb Top Tip: Depending on your location we may be able to arrange installation or put you in touch with a third party engineer.

 

Commercial Leasing

The ability to chill existing rooms is vital for any business that needs to create optimum storage conditions. With a relatively high price tag, it can be difficult for businesses to find free cash to pay for systems up-front. With this in mind, commercial leasing can be the perfect alternative. Available on any purchase over £1000 exc. VAT, it is a great way to get the equipment you need whilst spreading the total cost into manageable monthly repayments. Read more about Commercial Leasing.J&E Hall twin cellar cooling units

Twin Cellar Coolers

In larger premises that have greater ground to cover than the 25m pipe run allows for, twin cellar cooling systems are the perfect option. Supporting pipe runs up to 50m, you get a single outdoor unit with 2 indoor units. Twin systems don’t use R410a refrigerant, instead offering R404a, R407a and R407f refrigerant options.

Warranty

J&E Hall cellar cooling systems are noted as leading pieces of equipment within the industry, being robust and durable with a combination of performance and longevity. All J&E Hall cellar cooler models are supplied with a 3 year warranty as standard.

Ask Advice

It’s vital to make a wise decision when choosing your cellar cooler. Making the right choice can mean the difference between profiting from stock stored in premium condition and a hoard of below-par products that never reach their potential.

If you are unsure about which model is best for your business or you have any other queries or just need a bit of impartial advice, get in touch and our team will be happy to help.

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