We have a lot on our list and, although it should be a low priority, our Wine Cellar is high on our list.
The Wine Cellar is important because it is integrated with our geothermal heat exchange. Essentially, we will be creating a tank of hot water and a tank of cold water. The hot water will be used to heat our domestic hot water and to heat our house. The cold water will be used to cool our house. When we are in ‘cooling mode’ we will take the waste hot water and dump it into our swimming pool. When we are in ‘heating mode’ we will take the waste cold water and dump it into our Wine Cellar.
Integrating our system requires that we consider each of the elements in order to complete the design. So, spending some valuable time at this point in the project on our Wine Cellar is prudent since it will help us complete the geothermal design and implementation (construction).
Of course, the layout and design of the Wine Cellar must be functional and pleasing to the eye. We’ve done plenty of research on wine cellars, including our visit to St. Maarten last year. Bryan visited K&L Wine Mechants in Redwood City several times to review the construction details of their racks. He took a number of photos during his visit to their branch on December 12, 2010.
Wine Cellar Design Alternatives
We need to finalize the ceiling height and cooling panel design components so we can establish our design and definitive cooling panel layout.
The big question that we needed to answer were related to the size of the aluminum panel that would take the BTUs from the wine bottles and move that energy to the heat exchange unit (where it would go to wherever there was a heating call).
This answer requires exact dimensions and cooling load requirements.
Mocking Up the Wine Cellar Racks
We spent several days ensuring that our wine racks would be consistent and symmetrical. We took the dimensions of our ‘space’ and sent that information to several wine rack manufacturers and they provided us with layouts and dimensions of what they could do. At the same time, we do have Al and Nep to work on fabricating and installing the wine cellar.
After analyzing the Wine Cellar, we decided that we would only use Redwood and stainless steel inside the Wine Cellar. There will be no finishes inside the Wine Cellar – all the wood and surfaces will be natural and not coated with any stains, paints, etc.
Our decision criteria for the unfinished materials include durability and the resistance to corrosion. Although we will be controlling the humidity of the air inside the house, the Wine Cellar will definitely be more humid than the rest of the house. With the increased humidity, the air will also be much cooler (57°F) so we will be very close to the dew point with the humid air (if the air is too dry then the corks will shrink).
Given our situation with tight spacing and our desire to fill the space completely, we have to assemble the various components of the wine racks inside the Wine Cellar. Although it may seem trivial, it is not (go figure!).
It felt good to get the first mock up of our wine rack completed and located in the appropriate position inside our Wine Cellar.
Now we can complete the design of the cooling panels in the ceiling.