Miscellaneous refrigeration products includes cooled cabinets (e.g. wine chillers), hybrid refrigeration products (refrigerators/freezers with at least 50% volume not suitable for food storage), and non-compressor refrigerators that are not covered by DOE's refrigerator/freezer standards. For example, though wine chillers are refrigeration products, they were excluded from DOE’s recent refrigerator rulemaking because the current test procedures are not applicable and because they don’t cool below 39°F. Though most wine chillers are a fraction of the size of refrigerators, some use as much energy as a full-size refrigerator.
DOE published a framework document for wine chillers and miscellaneous refrigeration products in February 2012 and a preliminary technical support document in December 2014. In the latter, DOE shortened the title to miscellaneous refrigeration products to reflect the products noted above. A final rule for these products is expected in 2016 with an expected effective date of 2019. DOE is concurrently working on a test procedure for these products. California set standards for automatic- and manual-defrost wine chillers more than a decade ago.
Cooled cabinets generally use one of two types of cooling systems: (1) vapor compression, which is driven by a compressor and is the cooling system typically used for refrigeration; or (2) thermoelectric, where electric power is used to generate a temperature difference between two different types of materials and heat is transferred from the cold side to the hot side. Thermoelectric refrigeration products do not fall under the statutory definition of “refrigerator.”