Thermoelectric refrigeration is a revolutionary technology that can revolutionize how things are kept cool, be it food, wine, or beer. It is actually a totally different approach to refrigeration than standard compressors.
How Compressor Coolers Function
The compressor is the heart of air conditioners and refrigerators. The compressor is powered by chemical refrigerants, which are able to turn from liquids to gases at low temperatures. The refrigerant can absorb heat when it expands into a gas.
Attached to a thermostat, the compressors turn on and off in order to maintain temperatures within the desired range. They do this by applying pressure so that the refrigerant turns back into liquid. This allows all the heat it had carried to be released. The refrigerant is now a liquid and ready to return to the house to continue cooling.
Thermoelectric cooling systems, as their name implies, rely on electricity flowing between two different conductors. These can be other metals like zinc or copper. The temperature changes when DC voltage and direct current are applied to one conductor. This small thermoelectric effect can be multiplied when two ceramic plates are joined to create a cooling effect powerful enough to cool appliances and computers.
The “cool side” is one plate, while the “hotside” is another. The cold side of a wine cooler or ice-free refrigerator is placed inside, and the hot side is attached to metal fins that act as heat sinks to dissipate heat outside the appliance.
Solid-state cooling is another name for thermoelectric cooling (TEC) because the machine does not use liquid refrigerant. Instead, solid metals are used to transfer thermal power.
Products that Typically Use Thermoelectric Energy
Wine coolers and small refrigerators.
Portable electric coolers for picnics, beverages, and cars.
Small cooling devices and portable air conditioners.
Covers that are cooled, such as blankets.
The benefits of thermoelectric cooling
TEC is best suited for small spaces. This includes electronic devices that don’t have enough room to install a compressor-based cooling system. These systems can be more efficient than compressors and use less power. Thermoelectric coolers can also be used to control temperature down to 0.1 degrees under certain conditions.
Solid-state cooling units do not have moving parts and are therefore less likely to fail than traditional compressors, which require multiple fans and long coils that refrigerant passes through.
TECs do not use refrigerants, which can damage the ozone if they are leaking from a faulty device. The refrigerants are also difficult to dispose of.
TEC is silent as well. Unlike a compressed air compressor that vibrates and is quite loud, the electric current needed to run a TEC does not make any noise unless a small fan is used to increase air circulation.
The disadvantages of thermoelectric cooling
TEC units can quickly become expensive when installed in large areas. This is because, to cover a large extent, more ceramic plates will be needed. This, in turn, requires a higher input voltage. The more ceramic plates required, the higher the electricity requirement to run the machine. However, slightly larger compressors do not consume as much electricity as smaller ones.
TEC’s ability to cool is completely dependent on ambient temperature. A thermoelectric device, unlike a compressor, can only lower the temperature below room temperature. It may not be an issue indoors if central heating and cooling are in place to control extremes of temperature. However, the difference in temperature can be significant in RVs and camping applications. Thermoelectric cooling is a great way to control temperature, but it only works within the temperature range of the day.
Thermoelectric cooling systems do not dehumidify air either. Ceramic plates transfer heat from one place to another while leaving the air’s moisture intact. It is great when dehumidifying is not desired. For example, humidors for cigars should remain moist even as they cool. TEC does not affect the humidity in a humidity chamber, so it’s much easier to maintain humidity levels without adding moisture constantly to keep up with a dehumidifier’s dehumidification. In cold climates, a thermoelectric coolant can be operated in reverse to act as a heater. This will maintain the ideal temperature for cigars throughout the year.
It is a very different process from compressor cooling. Cold evaporators reduce the dewpoint of the air, causing moisture to condense. In a compressor air conditioning system, these water droplets are transported outside and allowed to drip in order to lower the humidity in the home. It is important to have a refrigerator that keeps food dry and prevents rot.
Condenser Cooler vs Thermo Electric Cooler?
You intend to keep it in an area with constant temperatures throughout the year.
You wish to age wine but want to minimize vibrations, which can cause sediment.
Want to control the temperature of your home?
You live in an area with extreme temperatures.
You need to chill beverages that contain carbon dioxide to make them extra cold.
The sound of a regular refrigerator is not bothersome to you
Thermoelectric technology is fascinating and has a place in wine coolers and humidity chambers. Compare options carefully and remember the most important features when shopping.