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Old 11-21-2011, 04:44 AM
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Default Freezing 1 gallon jugs of store bought water experiment



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I needed a use for an old inefficient freezer in my garage that was only being used to about a 1/3 of its capacity. I bought some 1 gallon water jugs from my local grocery store, .99/each, and threw them directly into the freezer (no cracking the seals, no removing air, nothin').

Conclusion -
- My jugs are frozen solid.
- All of them have expanded and none have cracked (I didn't measure but I'm guessing about a 5% expansion).
- When I eventually get it topped off with more water jugs, my old inefficient freezer should run a fraction of the time it used to.
- If the SHTF, I estimate I can store about 60 gallons of water in there, closer to 80-90 if I used this freezer specifically for water storage and moved the frozen steaks elsewhere.
- Aside from thawing for drinking water, it'll take weeks for that much ice to thaw out, preserving my perishables for a longer period of time.

Suggestions -
- Allow each jug to freeze without interference of other jugs. I placed my jugs loosely in the freezer, when freezing and expansion was complete, I stacked them.

Photo #3, not sure if it has anything to do with selecting the right jugs so they properly expand, but these are stamped with (1) and PETE
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:38 AM
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You said none had cracked- I would put it to the test, and pull one of each brand out & let it thaw just to make sure. Sounds handy to have an ice supply like that, a couple in an ice chest for a road trip or whatever. Should last a few weeks or more without power.
Just my two copper colored zinc disks worth.
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:59 AM
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If you did lose power for an extended period, you could enhance the insulating abilities of the freezer (with the gallon blocks of ice inside) by wrapping it in insulation, blankets, whatever.

And FWIW: If I were you, I'd buy or borrow a Kill-A-Watt and put it on that old inefficient freezer, and find out just how much electricity you are using over time. It may be worth trading it in on a newer more efficient model.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:26 AM
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If you try this test with distilled water, you may find some dont freeze until disturbed. "Metastable" being liquid at below freezing temperatures.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:32 AM
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If you try this test with distilled water, you may find some dont freeze until disturbed. "Metastable" being liquid at below freezing temperatures.
That is very interesting. I have noticed when I bring home jugs of "town" water and leave them on my porch or backroom in freezing weather-they are not frozen until I pick them up to move inside. Then they instantly freeze. Now I know what to call that phenomanom......"metastable", thank you.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:35 AM
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That is very interesting. I have noticed when I bring home jugs of "town" water and leave them on my porch or backroom in freezing weather-they are not frozen until I pick them up to move inside. Then they instantly freeze. Now I know what to call that phenomanom......"metastable", thank you.
Same thing can dangerously happen with boiling. Distilled water can reach temps above boiling in the microwave, when moved they can boil over on your hand when you take the hot cup out.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:38 AM
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I do this all the time with refilled milk cartons. I use the frozen cartons for my ice chest when I go camping a gallon of ice lasts much longer the a bag of cubes. I have a few of the burst but probably less then 10% of them.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:39 AM
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That is a very good idea. I always top off my freezers with either jugs of water or frozen blocks of ice. I take a large tupperware container, fill it and let it freeze and do it over again till I have enough blocks of ice. Then when off to a hunt or camp or party I have plenty of cooler ice. Sometimes when extended camping I have an extra cooler for just the ice and take it out as needed.

Also, when 1/2 gallons of milk used to come in those cardboard containers I would buy a bunch on sale and throw them right into the freezer. Keeps very well, just shake hard when thawed.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:44 AM
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Same thing can dangerously happen with boiling. Distilled water can reach temps above boiling in the microwave, when moved they can boil over on your hand when you take the hot cup out.
Have had that happen as well. But.....not distilled, just town water again.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:18 AM
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I did something similar with zip lock bags in small boxes right before the last hurricane. Worked out great for me.
Old 11-21-2011, 09:44 AM
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are you concerned that the frozen bottles will leach BPA when you thaw them? i used to freeze water bottles in summer to drink but now i dont after learning about BPA.

http://www.ewg.org/chemindex/chemicals/bisphenolA
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:51 AM
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I used to freeze the half-liter bottles all the time before I moved here (new house has ice maker) to drink cold water. Even the cheapest thinnest bottles would go through numerous cycles.

However, when you thaw them, I would pour the water into a better container.

But this is a good thing to do - not sure the ice will last weeks, but it will make the freezer last a lot longer than without, and water doesn't spoil just because it thaws.

We used to take milk cartons and fill them with water and then freeze them to make large ice blocks for our ice chests when camping/hunting/etc. - the larger blocks melt slower than ice cubes.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:05 AM
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When I was a kid my dad used to take us to the river all the time. We always needed ice. Every milk jug we ever used was refilled with tap water and thrown into the freezer. When the time came to fill the coolers, take a claw hammer and bust open the jug.

We never had any split, break, or anything else....the water would have melted in the jug with no issues.

I'd say we went through at least 1000 of these things growing up.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:13 AM
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I always keep my freezer full of 2 liter bottles filled with water from my well, wich tatses as good as ANY bottled water Ive found anywhere.

1) The freezer draws less power when it's filled with ice instead of empty space.

2) If the power goes out the freezer stays cold longer due to all the ice that I've cramed in it.

3) If the power goes out in the heat of summer, I also have a source of ice cold drinking water that hopefully will last till the power comes back on. This has been a godsend for me in Florida huricanes.

4)If I need more space for animal flesh, I just pull out a 2 liter bottle or two & replace them as the delishous flesh is consumed.

Just leave a little air space in the bottles (2 or 3 inches) & there is no problems with splitting.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:42 AM
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We keep around 10 frozen bottles of water in one of our freezers. And they have helped more than once in keeping items cold when we have lost power!
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agonies creep View Post
1) The freezer draws less power when it's filled with ice instead of empty space.
Hmmmmmm, I will have to ponder this statement...................

Apparently True:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...ntly-when-full
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goose3 View Post
If you did lose power for an extended period, you could enhance the insulating abilities of the freezer (with the gallon blocks of ice inside) by wrapping it in insulation, blankets, whatever.
You can also do some of that ahead of time and enhance the efficiency of the unit. I set my freezer down on a stack of foam panels and taped blankets around it everywhere except over the compressor and radiator area. This allows the compressor heat to get out without hindrance. I then set a folded blanket on the lid and cover it with a loose blanket that drapes down the sides. Even though my unit is a high efficiency unit, this has cut down the run time in my garage. If power goes out, the compressor area can be covered for even more insulation.
Old 11-21-2011, 11:46 AM
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Good idea, I have done this for many years. It has saved our freezer on more than one occasion during power outages. A full freezer uses much less electricity than an empty one.

We also use the jugs on camping trips inside our coolers. Doesn't keep the food quite as cold, but lasts way longer than a bag of ice cubes and less messy as it melts.

I also use gallon jugs for water when working out in the yard during the summer. I fill the jugs about 2/3 full, freeze them, and when I go outside in the 100* heat to mow/plow/work/whatever, I just top off that last 1/3 with water and drink the water & ice as it melts. Keeps me with ice cold water for hours.
Old 11-21-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
You can also do some of that ahead of time and enhance the efficiency of the unit. I set my freezer down on a stack of foam panels and taped blankets around it everywhere except over the compressor and radiator area. This allows the compressor heat to get out without hindrance. I then set a folded blanket on the lid and cover it with a loose blanket that drapes down the sides. Even though my unit is a high efficiency unit, this has cut down the run time in my garage. If power goes out, the compressor area can be covered for even more insulation.
Mike on a modern freezer all four sides are the "radiator area". This is called the condenser. Nothing should touch the back, sides, or front as this is where
the unit gits rid of the heat. You need to get that stuff off of it before you burn up the compressor. Extra insulation on top is fine. On an upright the condensor is the back sides and top.

Pan
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
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Same thing can dangerously happen with boiling. Distilled water can reach temps above boiling in the microwave, when moved they can boil over on your hand when you take the hot cup out.
I have been told a cheap chop stick or bamboo skewer can help keep this from happening,,,,
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