Will bottled water burst when frozen?

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Will bottled water burst when frozen?

Postby Elliot » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:29 pm

:D
Two years ago I brought Dry Ice, and it kept the ice cream until Thursday.

This year I'm taking the next step.

I have been gifted a large chest freezer thru my local Freecycle list, and I own a Honda EU3000 (nice and quiet) generator. We have established that the generator has more than enough power to run the freezer.
I have even bought a cute little "remote" thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the freezer.

Now the question:
If I put new unopened cases of bottled water -- one gallon and/or 2 1/2 gallon jugs -- in the freezer a week before I head up there, what are the odds that those jugs will be intact when we take them out and let them melt?
We would use the frozen jugs to keep food and drink cold, and finally drink (or wash with) the water.

I have three weeks to test it, but maybe some of you have tried.

I do know not to try this with metal cans and glass bottles.

When I freeze a couple of gallons in my kitchen refrigerator, the expansion is quite alarming. I freeze bottles that are less than full, and leave the cap loose until they are frozen. Will I need to pour off some of the water in all my new jugs? :?:
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Postby geekster » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:37 pm

I would definitely test it. I do know that jugs of milk will freeze without breaking. The plastic expands enough to prevent it. Notice on a milk jug there is a circle of plastic about three inches in diameter that is indented into the jug. When you freeze it, that pops out.

Most of the suitcases have a shape that looks almost like an accordion:

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I believe those will allow it to expand but I would definitely test it first.
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Postby Elliot » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:33 pm

:D
Now that you mention it -- I froze two gallons of milk last year, and they survived. As you point out, it's all about flexibility for expansion.

And since you mentioned it, let me relate my experience with frozen milk: It works fine, but you must let ALL the milk thaw before you drink it. Seems the various components of milk freeze and thaw at different rates, so it must all be melted and mixed back together to become normal milk again.

I should probably shop for water based on the "flex factor" of the jugs.

Come to think of it, a couple of telephone calls to the bottlers might be in order.
:D
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:39 pm

why don't you just dump out some of the water and avoid the noid?

I freeze 1 liter bottles of water and tea all the time here, they can burst if you don't dump some out, but not very often.

Be careful that you leave enough growth room un the bottom of your freezer lest they expand altogether and bust the interior of your freezer.
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Postby geospyder » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:44 pm

I use one gallon milk containers for freezing my water. They have built in expansion.
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Postby FIGJAM » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:47 pm

I use milk jugs all the time for my 5gal. ice water.

If thier full, they split every time.

I leave about 20% of the jug empty and then they dont split.

Save some empty jugs to pore 20% off the new jugs so you dont waste the water you buy.
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:22 am

I use 2 liter pop bottles.
I fill them.

Some brands of soda cans can be frozen, not coke products though.
Cheap cans.
Must be thawed as mentioned.

Too bad I don't live close enough to carry ice.
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:26 am

I think freezing rates affect expansion.
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Postby phil » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:51 am

There are no quiet generators.

Expect at least one broken jug. We freeze our water for ice, and we generally get one that cracks during the process, then leaks into the cooler.

Leaving space for expansion doesn't work, since the water expands out, not up into the airspace. It's certainly better to leave some air in the container, but it's not going to prevent a crack when the ice expands in all directions.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:06 am

:D
I did not say "silent". :wink: But the EU300 at idle is quiet enough that I have left it on inadvertently once or twice.

Yes, I have noticed that milk jugs become almost spherical when frozen.

I'm thinking of draining off some water, then pinching the bottle and tightening the cap. If I have enough of these safely frozen when I leave the house, we may not need to refreeze any on the Playa -- where "re-pinching" would not likely get done.

My alternatives are to buy block ice, which will leak as badly as a cracked jug; or the tiny "Blue Ice" packs that are intended to be refrozen many times, but cost a lot of $$$.
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Postby ygmir » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:22 am

I freeze lots of water bottles...........I can only remember any braking, after repeated freezing..........it may also matter how fast they freeze?
I drain a little water and slant the jug, so, it drains easy if I want to drink from it.
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Postby Risky » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:06 am

I find the smaller bottles burst, while the larger bottles have never burst on me.
I think it has to do with the quality of the plastic they use for the bottle.
The smaller bottles deteriorate faster, as they are not made to be stored for longer periods of time, as the larger containers are.

On another note, I find the frozen water bottles don't keep things as cold as well as ice does.
I did frozen bottled water for Juplaya last year and was greatly disappointed. Never again.

Editted so that it makes sense. Drinks more coffee.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:30 am

:D
We are making progress!

I'm finding two kinds of plastic.

PETE ( 1 ) is clear and used for the tall-and-square 1 gallon water jugs.

HDPE ( 2 ) is whitish, and used for the "chubbier" 1 gallon milk jugs and the 2 1/2 gallon water "suitcases". This seems the better material for freezing.

Tiny water bottles that make crinkly sound are (1). I would not even try freezing these, no.

Gatorade bottles are also ( 1 ), but much thicker.
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Nautilus Freezer Experience

Postby CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:37 am

I have been freezing and drinking the small/personal water bottles from Costco for 5 years on the playa. Never had any break or leak. I start the freezing process 2 weeks before and test a couple by thawing and inspecting for leaks or container failures. Last year I purchased a 3cu mini freezer from Walmart and it works very well! Within a couple of hours items are almost frozen solid. We were able to successfully rotate the bottles between 3 coolers and the freezer at last year’s burn.
The results;
1) Never needed ice from Artica.
2) Never had any leaks or clean up inside or disposal of melted water.
3) No one got sick from dirty cooler water and no soggy food items.
4) Had ice cold water to drink anytime (well after we let it thaw).
5) Made some very good friends that way giving a few away.
I fully recommend using frozen/refrozen water bottles as a cold element in any ice chest or cooler.
The freezer we got has 4 removal tray drawers that my crew take back to their chest to rotate the frozen for thawed bottles. Then return the thawed for refreezing. If you are able to support some of your camp mates this way it might be very useful for everyone’s comfort and convenience. Please let us know how it works out.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:36 am

:D
Yes, the idea is to support quite a few people with this 22 cu ft chest freezer.
:D
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Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:09 pm

I have a milk jug in my freezer right that ive been useing for 6 months without splitting.

It gets used every weekend to chill 5gal. of water in my cooler.
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