Money Saving Freezer Tips – Thermodynamics in Your Kitchen

Motors running compressors and heater coils are the biggest household electricity expense. I am appalled by the “experts” claiming money saving tips who have no clue how a freezer works. Finish this article and you will be an expert kitchen thermodynamicist.

I once read a magic book called “The Trick Brain” which ruined magic for me forever. It described how to produce a magic trick by random selection of objects and effects. I can no longer enjoy an illusion without having some clue of it’s method. I will now reveal the secrets behind the cause of kitchen cost.

First, a response to this stupid Money-Saving Freezer Tips which encourages the masses to perforate themselves, friends and family by filling and freezing boxes full of fiberglass insulation. If you have ever worked with angelhair fiberglass you know you itch for weeks and sharp broken bits of glass fiber in your lungs will kill you as you bleed with every breath – not something you want near your food or digestive tract.

Fact: It costs more to keep allot of ice frozen than a little. Keeping an extra mass at a lower temperature is less efficient under any circumstance, regardless of how much of it is fiberglass or insulating air it traps. Any energy spent cooling freezer blocks is wasted when you remove them to use that space for food. Freezer blocking can also cause problems by restricting the cooling fan vents which prevents smooth refrigerated airflow – causing the fan to work harder and longer.

Better to retain as much refrigerated air as possible. Here are a few small efficiencies to get you started. Keep in mind heat rises. Keep long-term and warmest at the top. Keep space open at the bottom before you head to the market – They will cool quicker at the bottom, then rearrange them early in the morning when the kitchen is coolest. Plan your load to keep popular picks by the handle and seldom selections by the back corner of the hinge. For example: 98% of the door openings are not to retrieve a frozen chicken – that’s long term coldest so near but not on the bottom and in the back corner behind the hinge. Perhaps a popular pick is popsicles – prepare the package by tearing off the top and placing it handles out on it’s side near the top in the door rack or by the door opening, where refrigerator manufacturers design the placement of ice-makers and ice trays. Then train the kids and kids-at-heart to only open the door enough to quick-pick, not swing it wide open and then decide or dig. Plan your grab to not let the heat in, so know WHAT you want and WHERE it is before you open the door.

By the way, C Lazarus, you picture a piggy-bank on your freezer shelf, that’s just too ludicrous for a response. Try this – dump the Sherbet Tubes into the ice tray instead of reaching over the box lid, and rearrange the corndogs so the handles are easy to grab when you crack the door open a moment. Then read  Money Saving Freezer Tips – Thermodynamics in Your Kitchen and learn not to exchange warm air for cold while quick-picking. There once was an ad-campaign for bottled ketchup accompanied by Anticipation – Carly Simon (#13 – 1972) which highlighted the viscosity of their product. What it fails to mention is that when you pour ketchup your are actually pouring two fluids, air is the fluid which replaces the ketchup – if the air can’t get in the ketchup can’t get out. When you put something in your freezer you push cold air out and the displacement is matched going the other way as well. So try to be an olympic diver and leave no splash – not a ham-handed cannonball on entry and an oriental fan on the way out.

Thermal Theory in Hot Water

This was written in response to an assertation of a wives’ tale by Meerkat1. The statement of opinion was tagged at the bottom of a normal post:

“Meerkat1” <> wrote in message…
> Helpful Kitchen Hint: Need a copious amount of ice cubes for that
> special party? If so, fill your ice cube trays with boiling water (in
> place of tap water). They will freeze faster. This hint brought to you
> by your Iron Chef.
> Meerkat1 – Chief Engineer
> RADP Pavilion

Sorry, Myth Busted! …brought to you by your feroequinologist.
There is no special property possessed by piping hot water, that isn’t also possessed by luke warm tap water, to make it freeze faster.
There is, however, thermodynamic proof that starting with the coldest possible liquid reduces the time to achieve a solid. That truth applies equally to molten iron, DHMO (Dihydrogen Monoxide), Hydroxilic Acid, pure H2O and common tap water.

If you had claimed “Piping hot water loses heat more rapidly than room temperature water.” then I would not have been compelled to dispute it and write this article, for that statement is indisputable. Room temperature water is already room temperature and the rate of Calories per hour exchanged nets zero. Hot water exhibits a steep but diminishing rate of C/hr decline.

(relax the pressure)
Now it is possible that the purest of water, containing no dissolved suspensions or particulates, can remain a liquid when super-cooled, because without a “seed” it has the ability to refrain from forming a crystalline structure. (which explains the ‘cool’ magic trick of tapping the surface of water with ones finger to make the ‘freeze’ it in a fraction of a second.) The freezing temperature of water solution can be lowered with other dissolved mixtures, such as salt and alcohol. That’s why I keep a jar half full of cheap vodka in the freezer for kitchen burns, it remains in a liquid state and is quicker and more envelopingly effective than a cube of ice at lowering skin temperature. That’s also why road crews sprinkle salt on iced roads – subtract several degrees from the dangerous slick road conditions, by lowering the freezing temperature of the ice, the saltwater flows away harmlessly (unless you are life downstream.) Mix ice, salt and alcohol around your ice cream maker tub to get it colder than ice. (you can’t taste frozen ice cream, only when it’s melted has it flavor.)
Pressure has an effect on freezing as well as evaporation – the lower the pressure the quicker the ice and the steam – lengthen your cooking time at a greater altitude, because the water will boil at lower temperature. Pressure cookers shorten cooking times by increasing boiling temperature. Some steam locomotives superheat steam (making ‘dry steam’) by routing it out of the steam dome through the fire tubes of the boiler to conserve water and utilize less steam more efficiently as the pressure increases with temperature, allowing greater expansion in less time to drive the piston cylinders, instead of using powerfully wasteful ‘full compression’. So to make ice cubes the quickest, start with chilled water from the fridge and freeze it in a vacuum.

(a one way road, from hot to cold.)
Always remember that you can’t create cold. Heat only flows from warmer to cooler. Your refrigeration contraption, including air conditioners both automotive and buildings, can only add more heat to the surroundings. Running a 1500 Watt refrigerator adds the equivalent heat of running a 1500 Watt hair dryer the same length of time. Your heat pump contraption collects heat from the cold side with a lower temperature heat exchanger (usually filled with refrigerant in a gas state) that then circulates out the the hot side where it is compressed to a liquid by an electric pump, increasing it’s temperature to higher than the kitchen ‘room temperature’ and into another heat exchanger on the ‘hot side’ where the hot liquid radiates the heat away to the room. Just like inside the ice-chest, heat only flows from warmer to cooler, but from the radiator to the room in the hot/liquid side of the cycle rather than from the air inside the ice-chest to the heat exchanger of the cold/gaseous portion of the cycle. In order to separate the two sides, the pump sucks on the cold side, creating a vacuum into which the warm (now cooler) liquid passes through a tiny hole, that aperture is known as the Bernoulli Valve named for the guy that figured out that in order for the liquid to expand into a gas it takes a large amount of heat. Guess where it collects that heat from. That’s right, the freezer.

(but you wouldn’t want to eat it anyway.)
An electric fan blows air across the heat exchanger built of tubes with fins hidden behind and/or beneath the walls of the freezer compartment. That chilled air then flows down across your frozen food and a portion of it is routed past a flap attached with a rod to the dial that adjusts the relative difference from the freezer to the fridge compartment. Be aware that any moisture inside tends to ice up this duct and can eventually prevent the fridge compartment from receiving any cold air at all, and refrigeration tends to suck the moisture out of items placed inside due to this frost collection. The action of frosting lowers the humidity.

Have you a frost-free fridge? You have HEATER COILS INSIDE YOUR FRIDGE! Now why would anyone want electric strips of metal that heat up and glow just like a toaster within a piece of equipment designed to keep things cold? Most refrigerators include a timer designed to reset itself periodically to a 24 hour cycle to shut down the compressor and turn on the heaters that melt the frost from the ducts and compartment walls when the doors remain closed mostly – basically while the household is asleep. If you frequently interrupt the timer, your midnight snacks are costing you more than your waistline, they are also increasing your energy consumption. Reducing the time the heaters are on, thereby lowering your electric bill can also be achieved by wiping off moisture before placing items inside, keeping fluid containers tightly capped, and pouring only as much as you are going to finish drinking instead of leaving an uncovered half glass of juice or milk to evaporate in the chilled air of lowered humidity caused by frost crystal formation. Heaters wrap the freezer compartment to melt the frost, the cool condensate (a bacteria farm that smells like all the nasty decay collected from things you’ve preserved in your fridge) pools beneath the freezer compartment and drains out through a tube to an evaporator – which is usually a simple pan near the floor. Recent improvements in energy efficiency involve an additional dehumidifier in the airflow from the fridge to the freezer compartments. The dehumidifier/condenser centralizes the moisture condensate collection, minimizing the surface area and time required to defrost it.

A/C in DC
Air Conditioners (A/C) also use the same method of cooling the cabin air – two heat exchangers and a refrigerant circulating from hot to cold. The first air conditioner used ammonia refrigerant to compress and vaporize, which worked fine but was less efficient than modern refrigerants, all of which are environmentally toxic. It was installed in a chocolate factory so work could continue during the summer and was so popular the idea spread rapidly. Just like refrigerators, A/C produces a net increase in heat due to friction and even more so in a motor vehicle. In a car, for example, just the difference of having A/C versus not having it installed, before even turning it on, wastes energy with the friction of the additional pulley constantly spinning at the hub and friction of gripping and bending the drive belt. Burning petrol or Diesel heats the world just to get the drive belt moving. A modest amount of DC electricity is needed to engage the magnetic clutch on that A/C pulley to clamp it to the A/C compressor pump. Now the engine devotes additional horsepower to drive the alternator a bit harder, and the compressor a great deal harder. There is a little friction generated just moving refrigerant through the pipes and the most fluid friction in the system is at the Bernoulli valve.
Here in Los Angeles there is an air temperature range that doesn’t exist long. That range is from mildly warm to hot. When folks climb onto their portable couch enclosed in a solar oven on wheels, also known as a Black Sport Utility Vehicle, they crank on the A/C and drive away. As they pump the heat out they become more comfortable, and shed that heat onto everyone else. Multiply that by all the LA vehicles, homes, offices, stores and when uncomfortable warmth triggers a cascade of heat pumps, the ambient air is suddenly 10°C warmer for everyone everywhere. It is possible to add less energy to the system – exchange the hot air from the car by leaving doors open a few minutes first and/or driving a few blocks with the windows open before closing them, and cranking up the A/C to low at first, where it can cool the air most efficiently and collect at the floor.
Even when you are using A/C in a residential or commercial structure, you are pumping the heat out locally as well adding heat far away. The plant generating the electricity is most likely spinning generators with steam turbines, and the steam is probably generated by burning fuel, such as natural gas if you are lucky, but more commonly coal and bunker oil. Imagine that, using heat to make cold.

It is also possible to warm a room by pumping heat from outside in. If you were studying penguins, you could run the heat pump system to suck heat out of the cold air outside, just like the interior of your freezer, and pump it to the room you wanted to warm up, just like the kitchen.

When I was working all night at the land, the first thing I’d do when I got home was to crash in bed. The wife would get up and go to work. When I woke up, the house was comfortable until she got home. She’d leave open the front door, drafting in all the outside heat “for the breeze”, then stand in front of the fridge, both doors open, with her head in the freezer and cool air flowing to her feet. That minute of self pleasure cost enormous energy and made me sweat for the rest of the evening as the fridge tried to recover, pumping the heat out into the kitchen for several hours. “I’m just deciding what to make for dinner…” was her excuse. I almost put a padlock and hasp on the fridge doors, but instead I moved the computer under the window with the A/C unit and installed an internet security camera in the door of the fridge. “See honey, you can view the contents of our refrigerator from anywhere in the world!” And I asked her to plan ahead, know where what you want is, pop the door just enough cracked open to snag all the things you need then close the door gently to avoid puffing out the cold air, keeping it closed as long as possible. She still stood every afternoon in front of the wide open fridge “My what marvelous work you did installing that night-vision camera!” So much for my thermodynamic lessons in efficiency.

It takes a great deal of warmth to melt ice. The amount of energy to get a quantity of water ice from zero degrees Celsius to one degree is equivalent the energy to get the same quantity up the entire range from one degree and boil it at 100° Centegrade.
The same is true in reverse, It takes a tremendous amount of energy just to get the liquid water from 1°C to 0°C.

Personally, I’d like to keep my carbon footprint tiny, and not wasting resources keeps me greener to the world. I’ll make sure anything that goes into my fridge is at its coolest and driest, including the air exchanged by opening the door. Unless you have a pavilion nuclear power plant, filling ice-cube trays with boiling water and then placing them into the freezer uncovered is moronic on three levels.
1. Boiling water up you are about to freeze is a waste of energy. Save energy by letting anything hot you place in the fridge/freezer cool down to room temperature first.
2. Making your freezer work three times harder because you just skyrocketed the humidity up is a waste of energy.
3. Freezing water down you just boiled is a waste of energy and time. Save energy by letting anything hot you place in the fridge/freezer cool down to room temperature first and let the room do the freezers work for free. Trim freezing time by filling the trays in the morning when the cold water pipes are their coldest.

If your party needs several pounds of ice quickly, ask one of your guests to stop by the gas station/convenience-store/supermarket and pick up a bag of ice or two on the way in. When they bring it through the entrance, PRESTO! there you have instant ice. Petrol isn’t wasted, because trips are combined, and your kitchen stays cooler because you pay someone else to shed the heat elsewhere.

— wiz. better to learn by mistakes of others, — wiz.
— wiz. erroneous examples as provided, — wiz.
— wiz. than to learn by mistakes made for oneself. — wiz.
— wiz. A bakers dozen out of 12 Wizards agree: “And far less painful.  — wiz.”


— better to learn by mistakes of others, — Wiz.
— erroneous examples as provided, — Wiz.
— than to learn by mistakes made for oneself. — Wiz.
— A bakers dozen out of 12 Wizards agree: “And far less painful. — Wiz.”

Birth of a Blog – Hello world! (remember to breathe.)

Like the hand-off of responsibility for services from Cape Canaveral to Houston Mission Control – POP, the umbilical detaches. What did MY delivery team do? Shout “Got a match?” and slap my mother’s face, er… my buttocks.


Take a deep breath of that thin blue line between the earth and space – live dangerously. So many celebrities, infamous and notable humans are making headlines nowadays by forgetting to breathe in one way or another, whether by huffingHydroxylic Acid, the GET SMALL molecule! DHMO - Dihydrogen Monoxide DHMO dihydrogen monoxide or overdosing in Hydroxylic Acid. You can catch some clown near a helium balloon while impressing a lovely lady by inhaling & reciting “follow the yellow brick road” in higher pitch through less dense gas, but it’s funnier when they replace their oxygen supply with helium long enough to pass out, tumble to earth and crunk a bloody gash in their eyebrow and when you roll him over and resuscitate him with mouth-to-mouth revived only to move his hands all over his body while bursting “Stop tickling me, stop tickling me!” O.K. my mistake, but Ruth van Empel was cute and getting this scar was worth it. At least it’s funnier when I look back on it, for it must have been terrifying to be Ruth and think “Oh my God! How am I going to explain the body?”

DHMO is the top of the list, number one killer among all Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ship and other properties combined. Guests experience a far greater risk of death, by several orders of magnitude, from DHMO inhalation by just standing around being stupid than they would ever by enjoying a roller-coaster thrill.

Whitney Houston, Rodney King and Michael Philbin, son of a Green Bay Packers coach, were all determined without question that the cause of death was DHMO, the only questions remain how much Xanax, alcohol, or marijuana was also an influence. But one doesn’t need additional intoxicants to be stupid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day about ten people die unintentionally from DHMO. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. It ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.1 It is a huge problem, more than 50% of victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries).1,2  These nonfatal injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).3,4

Admittedly, one needs to be incredibly stupid to forget to breathe. But one hardly needs to be idiotic at all to accidentally slip in a puddle of it, then knock oneself out and drown by inhaling it – a depth of only two inches is all that is needed. But to truly understand DHMO let’s breakdown Dihydrogen Monoxide – that two hydrogen (white semi-spheres in the diagram above) for every one oxygen (red in the diagram.) That Hidden Mickey shape forms a common and abundant compound widely unregulated by government agencies — H2O.

This first installment of the User-manual for the human body reminds us to breathe.  And ends with two quotes from bodies which have achieved being human.  The first from my grandmother who is alive at age 101 “Every day above ground is a good day.” [I asked her “What do you want for your birthday?” She screamed “A coffin!”] and the second the reply to a news journalist interviewing a 110 year old man asking the secret to his longevity “Don’t stop breathing.”

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. [cited 2012 May 3]. Available from: URL:
  2. Laosee, OC, Gilchrist, J, Rudd, R. Drowning 2005-2009. MMWR 2012;00(00):p-p. (NA)
  3. Cummings P, Quan L. Trends in Unintentional Drowning: The Role of Alcohol and Medical Care. JAMA, 1999; 281(23):2198-2202.
  4. Spack L, Gedeit R, Splaingard M, Havens PL. Failure of aggressive therapy to alter outcomes in pediatric near-drowning. Pediatric Emergency Care 1997; 13(2):98-102.

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