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Old 02-08-2010, 04:01 PM   #1
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Default Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water?

Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water?
Greg Soltis

LiveScience.com: Life's Little Mysteries - Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water?
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Determining whether or not hot water can freeze faster than cold water may seem like a no-brainer. After all, water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius. And wouldn’t water hot enough to kill E. coli bacteria (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 degrees Celsius) take a longer path than cooler water at a fall New England beach (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius) towards a frigid future as ice? While a logical assumption, it turns out that hot water can freeze before cooler water under certain conditions.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
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It's like the question, which cup of coffee stays hot longer, the black coffee or the one with cream?
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:09 PM   #3
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I knew the answer to this one ONLY because our kids ask oddball tricky questions now and then to try to stump us so they can ram a book in our faces to point out we were wrong.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:14 PM   #4
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don't tell!
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:20 PM   #5
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I didn't tell but see what ya get for buying kids books... don't do it. They'll use them against you every time.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:10 AM   #6
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A plumber in New England told me it's almost always the hot water that's frozen when he gets a call about frozen pipes. He said something about "free oxygen" but I don't remember what.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:57 AM   #7
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I've known about this research for years, and the discussion often comes up (usually when the guy is trying to show that he actually knows something interesting that us girls don't already know). I know there are extremely specific conditions required for the hot water to freeze a teensy bit before the cooler water.

But as for the hot water pipes freezing first. . . . the hot water pipes are of a different material, and a different size than the cold water pipes. A small bit of water will freeze before the lake will. And different materials insulate or transfer heat/cold differently.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #8
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Hot and cold pipes are the same size, same material, at least that I've seen. I've thawed more than my share of pipes, and indoors it was always the hot side. That's one thing I don't miss about New England, huddling around a frozen water pump trying to solder pipes back together. If it's vertical pipe, you have to melt the ice until it boils away before the solder will stick.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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Freezing of Hot and Cold Water Pipes, Alaska Science Forum

Read what T Neil Davis of the Geophysical Institute University of Alaska, Fairbanks has to say!
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:18 PM   #10
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That's interesting, Hazelnut. Thanks.

Swamp thing, all I can say is . . . ummmmm I guess I need to check with hubby to see if I'm remembering wrong, or if our plumbing practices are different down here where it seldom freezes. I was sure I remembered the hot water pipes being the little copper ones, but the cold ones being closer to 3/4 inch pipes. I looked under my sinks and can't tell. It's all sealed really well with flexible tubing coming out of the wall, going to the faucet.

And no, I'm not climbing under the house to see.
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