General ramblings

Science Hour…

March 23, 2014

Since starting the Great Energy Race, I feel a little like I have asked more questions than I have answered.
Having already amazed you all with my slow cooker maths, I thought I would dazzle you all with science, and test a theory….
I am going to take you all back to your secondary school science lessons and Conduct an Experiment.

Hypothesis
It is more energy efficient to boil 3 mugs of water all at once, and then store the excess in a thermos for tea later in the day, than it is to boil the one mugs worth of water, three times
If I remember correctly, I should have a Null Hypothesis too, but it always confused the heck out of me, so I’m not doing it. Mark me down.

Equipment

GERace kettle1

  • Electric Kettle
  • Clock with second hand
  • Mug
  • Water
  • Thermos flask
  • Calculator

Method

  • Fill mug with water
  • Decant into empty kettle
  • Press switch to start kettle
  • Note time
  • Allow kettle to boil, and note the time that it stops at
  • Make tea and drink
  • Next time tea is needed, fill mug with water
  • Decant into empty kettle
  • Repeat twice more (3 mugs of water in total)
  • Press switch to start kettle
  • Note time
  • Allow kettle to boil, and note the time that it stops at
  • Make tea, and fill thermos with remaining water

Results

  • Time for kettle to boil one mug of water: 75 seconds
  • Time for kettle to boil three mugs of water: 160 seconds (53.33s per mug)

Conclusion
As you can see, I have conclusively, without a shadow of a doubt, and with a greater than 95% significance (again, I remember that being important, can’t quite remember why now-something to do with confidence intervals..?) that the most frugal, energy savvy way to boil water for tea, is to boil more than you need, BUT only if you then store the excess in a thermos for subsequent cups of tea.

Hurray for science 🙂

PS. Rest assured that I wore a white coat and safety specs throughout proceedings…

Kettle and pud2

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  • Reply lizlovingandlearning March 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I’m sure Jen will answer later but I read it that you put a mugful of water from the thermos back in the kettle so it will be as hot as usual but starting from very hot so using less energy.
    It’s worth remembering to heat the inside of the thermos a bit first.

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      That sounds like it would work Liz!

  • Reply Kate Harrison March 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I like this theory but drawbacks are
    Don’t have a flask so expense involved, few seconds of energy v new flask
    I like a fresh piping hot cuppa so will the water stay hot enough?

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      If you are lucky Kate, you might be able to pick up a thermos on Freecycle, or failing that the charity shop, so certainly not mega bucks. The water certainly stays hot enough for ‘piping hot’ for a couple of hours-guess it depends how much tea you get through!

  • Reply Jayne GardenWith March 23, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I really liked your post about boiling water for tea!!

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Thankyou!

  • Reply sandyfaithking March 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

    It would also be interesting to know how much energy each scenario uses. After Lent I will invest in an energy reader thingy and get the kids to do it as an experiment. I’d also like to throw in something like ‘how much energy does it take to heat a mug of water in the microwave’ or ‘how much energy does it take to boil the equivalent on the hob’ (though as we have a gas stove I don’t know how one would do that).

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Someone is very kindly lending me one of these, so I will be able to conduct all kinds of experiments very shortly!

  • Reply vickymyerscreations March 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    If only thermos tea was as nice as fresh tea!!

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      It’s not too bad if you use the hot water to make fresh tea each time, rather than make a flask of tea, which I agree, is not that nice!

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning March 23, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I look forward to telling my mum who has been doing this for several years. She recently turned 82. Thanks for the proof.

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Awesome! She is living proof 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes March 23, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I use a teapot & cosy as I enjoy more than one cup, it stays hot enough to last me through a film & saves me popping out to the kitchen during the adverts to “put the kettle on”. Breakfast wouldn’t be the same either & it means using fewer tea bags too.

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      I keep meaning to try and use the teapot more-need to make myself a cosy!

  • Reply Mary Dawson March 23, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Was the water still hot enough to make a decent second (and even more, third) cup?

    • Reply Jen March 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Yes, it was fine 🙂

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