Why does my wine cooler feel warm on the outside when it's cool on the inside?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why does the outside of my wine cooler feel warm? The inside feels cool.

—Cindy, Fountain Hills, Az.

Dear Cindy,

It’s normal for the sides of a refrigerator or wine cooler to feel warm to the touch. The compressor generates heat as it runs, and that heat is disbursed through coils that are close to the outside surfaces.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the cooler has room around it to make sure any vents (usually on the back) on a freestanding cooler are clear by at least a few inches so it will not overheat. Choose a front-vented wine cooler if you’re installing it within cabinetry, and make sure you don’t block any vents with rugs or other items.

—Dr. Vinny

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