Latent vs Sensible Refrigeration Loads

CellarPro cooling units are designed to maintain optimal temperature AND humidity conditions for proper wine storage and aging. This means that our cooling units are designed to maximize the sensible load and ignore the latent load inside wine cellars.

What does this mean? The sensible load is the amount of BTUs per hour (BTUH) required to change air temperature. The latent load is the amount of BTUH required to condense moisture from vapor in the air. Our units focus on sensible, rather than latent, loads because we want to condense as little moisture as possible and leave the moisture inside the cellar.

Now here’s the most interesting part: every cooling system has the ability to produce “x” amount of BTUH, equal to the sensible plus latent output. In other words, if the cooling system is generating condensation, this means that some of the cooling unit’s BTUH is being used for the latent load, and therefore the BTUH available for the sensible load is reduced.

The importance of this concept cannot be understated. One of the key takeaways is that cooling units lose some of their cooling ability when they are generating condensation, because some of the BTU is being diverted from the sensible to the latent load. This means that, in addition to insulation, vapor barriers are critically important in determining a cooling unit capacity. To achive maximum cooling performance from your cooling system, you must have an airtight seal in the wine cellar.

If you have any questions about this topic, please give us a call at 877.888.9137, or email us at for more information.

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