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Getting hot/boiling water instantly





Bondings
You can say a lot about technological advancements, but what it comes down to is how these impact daily life. Take hot water as an example. Back in the days, some tribes (Native Americans, but I assume this was done all over the world) used a very hot stone (from the fire) and put it in the water when needed to instantly make it boil.

Nowadays most people use either a kettle or an electronic heater to cook it, which takes a few minutes. I've always wondered about this (and other things) and why no improvements are used.

Apparently there are indeed systems to get hot water instantly. They consist of a very insulated water compartment of a few liters that is kept at a about 100 degrees Celcius and are usuall called "insta(nt) hot" systems. To keep the water hot constantly is going to cost quite a bit, however a lot of energy is wasted if you heat too much water (which is usually the case) and the heating efficiency is usually a lot lower. This means that if you use a lot of hot water, it is more cost effective to use such a system. Although I think for a typical household, this probably won't be the case.

I think I'll probably buy such an instant hot system since for me the ease of use of getting hot water instantly outweighs the disadvantages of using more energy (unless I would use a lot of hot water). Of course if it would cost too much to buy such a system, I'll pass. Wink
watersoul
Good post, totally agree and I've always thought that easy hot water is one of the "tick boxes" of modern society.
I've not looked into the "instant" hot water systems, but most homes in the UK now use Combination Boilers, which feed the central heating as well as the taps. Its not instant, but I've got near boiling water about 20-30 seconds after turning my tap on. The boiler also only heats what you actually use, so they do save a fair bit on gas bills.

Here's a link that may be interesting/useful:
http://www.diyfaq.org.uk/plumbing/combi.html
adri
Well it's not really immediately but Magnetic Induction is pretty fast. I did not found any times for 1liter of water but I know from a friend who has it, that it doesn't take very long to let it boil. Smile


Adri
carlospro7
I have never thought of this before, but it makes sense to think of why we haven't developed better methods for instantly boiling water when you think about older methods. I might now become more aware of the energy and time it takes to boil water using the standard tools.
Nameless
But but but. If we could produce boiling water instantly, when would we find time to measure out the coffee and sugar? Razz
soljarag
I always hate waiting for water to boil when cooking. My guess is because no one wants to have another "gadget" to biol water. You have a stove already... and it works pretty good.

They do have "instant boiling water" for kitchens, but its just like a hotwater tank in the kitchen.,..
ocalhoun
Well, you could say the Native American method for instant boiling water is really instant... but only if you keep a constant supply of super-heated stones lying around.
(Which would also not be very energy efficient.)
erlendhg
adri wrote:
Well it's not really immediately but Magnetic Induction is pretty fast. I did not found any times for 1liter of water but I know from a friend who has it, that it doesn't take very long to let it boil. Smile


Adri


Yes, I agree.
I think Magnetic Induction is a good alternative, and quite fancy too.
deanhills
Probably a luxury that we completely take for granted. Good post and good point. At a time when everyone is urging everyone that we should be conserving energy, one wonders why they have not come up with a commercially viable alternative already.

Makes me think of mountain climbing stories I have read, like Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void" epic, when he and his fellow climber Simon Yates had run out of fuel for their stove when their trip ascent to the summit had taken longer than they had anticipated. If something more simple could be found to heat ice for water, or even tents for that matter, will make it easier for mountaineers to navigate extreme weather conditions.
Bluedoll
There is something I don’t get about the whole energy thing if I may be permitted to slip in a comment.

We could spend our time inventing devices to save energy (in this case boiling water) which has the potential to save energy in high use places. Are we saving anything though on the smaller uses of energy. If aunt Birdy makes her cup of tea and lets the pot boil dry will the world come to an end? I do understand the better light bulb though, I suppose but don’t we have to use energy to make better light bulbs?

Does this not make more sense? Make a huge hot water heater system that generates a lot of energy efficiently (I don’t know how maybe recycle steam from the turbine over rocks or something) and not worry so much about the little ways we do things? Although I do see one advantage in doing the little improvements. It is a calling on of inventors and industry to come up with new and better things that is will be good for the economy and eventually the environment, maybe?
Bondings
@Bluedoll, this would not save energy for most households, it's mostly about convenience. Only with a lot of hot water consumption this would save energy.
apple
I'm sticking with my kettle (cause I like it). Normally I have a pretty good average of how much water goes into it so I don't heat too much.
jabce85
is it really that big of deal to wait roughly 5 minutes for it to boil?
ocalhoun
jabce85 wrote:
is it really that big of deal to wait roughly 5 minutes for it to boil?

With a generation growing up who's used to getting everything instantly... yes.

One of the major effects of the technology revolution is that it dealt a death-blow to the average individual's patience.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
jabce85 wrote:
is it really that big of deal to wait roughly 5 minutes for it to boil?

With a generation growing up who's used to getting everything instantly... yes.

One of the major effects of the technology revolution is that it dealt a death-blow to the average individual's patience.
It could also be an emergency situation like having to prepare something hot for someone who is sick. Would be awesome if one could put a little magnet of a kind inside the cup and one has instant hot water right on the spot. Or when those guys who are mountaineering and need their hot brew for hydration, would be able to heat up the snow instantly. Apparently it can take almost an hour to brew two cups of hot liquid. In blizard conditions that has to be very stressful too in setting up the fuel and getting the little stove going especially when one is situated precariously on an overhanging ledge, where the mountaineer has to rope himself in and wants to make as little movements as possible.
standready
Well, I use my microwave. 2 minutes to boiling. I have seen sink mounted "instant hot" water machines. I don't know how they heat the water.
Maybe off topic a little: Last year I installed a whole house tankless (natural gas) hot water heater to replace my 40 gallon tank unit. Tankless unit heats the water very quickly. I feel no difference in time it takes to get hot water and I am not contantly heating water when not being used. Also uses a lot less fuel.
deanhills
standready wrote:
Well, I use my microwave. 2 minutes to boiling. I have seen sink mounted "instant hot" water machines. I don't know how they heat the water.
Maybe off topic a little: Last year I installed a whole house tankless (natural gas) hot water heater to replace my 40 gallon tank unit. Tankless unit heats the water very quickly. I feel no difference in time it takes to get hot water and I am not contantly heating water when not being used. Also uses a lot less fuel.
Hmmm ... I still would prefer a special kind of magnet attached to a handle of a kind that I can immerse in a cup of water with instant results. I have this picture in my mind where a mountaineer who is trying to warm up in blizzard conditions does not have to take out a little stove to warm up a cup of water. All he needs to do is pack some ice in his thermos cup and then insert this magnet type gadget into it. Perhaps we need to think of heating solutions without any fuel, i.e. the necessity to plug something in, or connect to a power source like petrol or gas or solar panels
Bondings
deanhills wrote:
Hmmm ... I still would prefer a special kind of magnet attached to a handle of a kind that I can immerse in a cup of water with instant results. I have this picture in my mind where a mountaineer who is trying to warm up in blizzard conditions does not have to take out a little stove to warm up a cup of water. All he needs to do is pack some ice in his thermos cup and then insert this magnet type gadget into it. Perhaps we need to think of heating solutions without any fuel, i.e. the necessity to plug something in, or connect to a power source like petrol or gas or solar panels

I suppose you can use a chemical reaction for this. Although it would be one-time heating I guess.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
standready wrote:
Well, I use my microwave. 2 minutes to boiling. I have seen sink mounted "instant hot" water machines. I don't know how they heat the water.
Maybe off topic a little: Last year I installed a whole house tankless (natural gas) hot water heater to replace my 40 gallon tank unit. Tankless unit heats the water very quickly. I feel no difference in time it takes to get hot water and I am not contantly heating water when not being used. Also uses a lot less fuel.
Hmmm ... I still would prefer a special kind of magnet attached to a handle of a kind that I can immerse in a cup of water with instant results. I have this picture in my mind where a mountaineer who is trying to warm up in blizzard conditions does not have to take out a little stove to warm up a cup of water. All he needs to do is pack some ice in his thermos cup and then insert this magnet type gadget into it. Perhaps we need to think of heating solutions without any fuel, i.e. the necessity to plug something in, or connect to a power source like petrol or gas or solar panels

I'm afraid that stationary magnetic fields can't heat anything up... Only moving magnetic fields can, and in order to get them to move, you have to apply energy.
The difficulty in heating up water (especially instantly and portable) is that it takes a lot of energy, so you have to have some way to store all that energy, and some way to apply it to the water.

Bondings is right, chemical heating packs are a good way to have portable heat.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Bondings is right, chemical heating packs are a good way to have portable heat.
Darn! Just when I was beginning to believe in a magic wand for mountaineers! Laughing I was wondering. Would it be possible to have a thermos cup with a chemical heat pack surrounding it as an inner lining, that could be activated by turning the top of the cup?
missdixy
Hmm. I'd never heard of that before. But like OP i think I'd pass as well... haha Confused
Ghost900
Well I think that waiting a little bit isn't to hard. Actually a microwave heats up water in a matter of seconds so that is pretty much insta(nt) heated water. As far as a container that keeps your water at 100 Degrees is similar to a house water heater but it just holds less and heats it hotter. Though one could increase their water heater to max heat which would cost a lot but provide steaming water.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bondings is right, chemical heating packs are a good way to have portable heat.
Darn! Just when I was beginning to believe in a magic wand for mountaineers! Laughing I was wondering. Would it be possible to have a thermos cup with a chemical heat pack surrounding it as an inner lining, that could be activated by turning the top of the cup?

It would be possible, though more expensive than traditional ways of heating up the water... It would also require some very ingenious design if you wanted to make it possible to reload the chemicals and use it more than once.

...This does give me an interesting invention idea though... Self-heating canned goods (like soup).
If you could open the can, then pull a tab (or something) to start the heating, then wait 5 minutes, and have hot soup no matter where you were, it would be handy for campers and people who pack their lunch, but don't have a microwave or anything where they eat... Being disposable, the one-time-use-only problem wouldn't be an issue.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
...This does give me an interesting invention idea though... Self-heating canned goods (like soup).
If you could open the can, then pull a tab (or something) to start the heating, then wait 5 minutes, and have hot soup no matter where you were, it would be handy for campers and people who pack their lunch, but don't have a microwave or anything where they eat... Being disposable, the one-time-use-only problem wouldn't be an issue.
Now you're talking! Back to the mountaineers. If it could be a disposable bio-degradable container of dried soup and you can add the ice/water, and then pull a tab? Smile
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
...This does give me an interesting invention idea though... Self-heating canned goods (like soup).
If you could open the can, then pull a tab (or something) to start the heating, then wait 5 minutes, and have hot soup no matter where you were, it would be handy for campers and people who pack their lunch, but don't have a microwave or anything where they eat... Being disposable, the one-time-use-only problem wouldn't be an issue.
Now you're talking! Back to the mountaineers. If it could be a disposable bio-degradable container of dried soup and you can add the ice/water, and then pull a tab? Smile

Okay, but a biodegradable soup can would have a much reduced shelf-life as opposed to a metal soup can. (It might also be more fragile, and less able to stand the heat of it's own heater.)
ProwerBot
Boiling water takes forever... but the only time I ever have to boil water is if my mom isn't cooking and I want hot dogs. Which never happens.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
...This does give me an interesting invention idea though... Self-heating canned goods (like soup).
If you could open the can, then pull a tab (or something) to start the heating, then wait 5 minutes, and have hot soup no matter where you were, it would be handy for campers and people who pack their lunch, but don't have a microwave or anything where they eat... Being disposable, the one-time-use-only problem wouldn't be an issue.
Now you're talking! Back to the mountaineers. If it could be a disposable bio-degradable container of dried soup and you can add the ice/water, and then pull a tab? Smile

Okay, but a biodegradable soup can would have a much reduced shelf-life as opposed to a metal soup can. (It might also be more fragile, and less able to stand the heat of it's own heater.)
Metal soup cans however would be heavy to carry for a mountaineer, also would pollute the mountain terrain. Isn't there a way that we can get the biodegradable soup to have a longer life, i.e. it could have dried soup inside?
Bondings
ocalhoun wrote:
...This does give me an interesting invention idea though... Self-heating canned goods (like soup).
If you could open the can, then pull a tab (or something) to start the heating, then wait 5 minutes, and have hot soup no matter where you were, it would be handy for campers and people who pack their lunch, but don't have a microwave or anything where they eat... Being disposable, the one-time-use-only problem wouldn't be an issue.

Already exists for over a hundred years actually. Although not in general use, at least I've never seen it being sold nor used (I did hear about it though).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-heating_can
ocalhoun
Bondings wrote:

Already exists for over a hundred years actually.

Sad
So hard to come up with an original idea these days.
Bondings
ocalhoun wrote:
Bondings wrote:

Already exists for over a hundred years actually.

Sad
So hard to come up with an original idea these days.

An idea is rarely 100% original. What mostly matters is that you add your own improvements to already existing things. The self heating cans are not widely used due to their high price and unequal heating (according to Wikipedia). If you find a way to make the price lower, it could become a very popular product.
deanhills
Bondings wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bondings wrote:

Already exists for over a hundred years actually.

Sad
So hard to come up with an original idea these days.

An idea is rarely 100% original. What mostly matters is that you add your own improvements to already existing things. The self heating cans are not widely used due to their high price and unequal heating (according to Wikipedia). If you find a way to make the price lower, it could become a very popular product.
Just read it. Awesome idea, and agreed, perhaps one can perfect it, trying to make it of less weight, and with improved chemicals that can get the contents to heat evenly.
Insanity
Chinese families and households almost always have a hot water boiler, which keeps water at near boiling temperatures, so that it is ready with the press of a button. They use hot water so often for tea and cup nooodles and what not, that it's a great convenience to have hot water at the ready. They have slowly evolved from kettles to simple boilers to modern day electronic systems where you can press a button and it will automatically dispense hot water.

Growing up in one of these households, I agree that it is extremely useful and can save a lot of time and energy boiling water whenever you need it. There are times (such as in the early morning before you have to go to work) when you need a quick hot breakfast, and you can just press a button for hot water and you have instant noodles at the ready. It's much more efficient and convenient than bringing a pot of water to boil just for one cup or so of water.
deanhills
Insanity wrote:
Chinese families and households almost always have a hot water boiler, which keeps water at near boiling temperatures, so that it is ready with the press of a button.
In the West we usually have smaller families living independently from one another. Also, we are told to look out for saving power and electricity. I love the idea of a hot water boiler though. We have one at work, and it is great to be able to make a cup of tea instantly, I also like the taste of the water that has been boiled that long. I also like the Chinese way of having boiled rice always ready for cooking meals with. I'm amazed how quickly it can be to make simple dishes when all the ingredients like the rice are ready to be added together at any time.
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