Why Your Freezer Needs Water Bottles

It is not often that you will find a classic hacker who excels in four different directions, but perhaps that is why he is a classic. 13 years ago, we told you to fill an empty space in your freezer with water bottles, and we hope you did.

First, how to do it: You can use empty milk jugs or orange juice containers and fill them with tap water. Or you can buy disposable water bottles and stick them directly into the freezer. For most freezers, water bottles are probably more convenient, but if you have a large chest freezer in your basement, you might want to opt for pitchers.

So here’s why this is an ingenious trick:

Your freezer is more efficient

The larger your freezer, the less energy it takes to cool it down. If your freezer is usually only half full, and especially if you often open the door and let in warm air, you should fill that space with something cold. Like bottles of frozen water.

Your food will stay frozen longer if you lose food

As we get closer to hurricane season, this is very important: if you lose power, your freezer will essentially become a giant picnic cooler. It can’t get colder, so your best hope is to keep it from getting hot. Insulation helps, and there is a lot of insulation in the fridge / freezer. Then you need ice packs inside, and hey guess what makes a great ice pack? A ton of pre-frozen water bottles.

Packing the cooler just got a lot easier

Going to spend the day at the beach or hiking? Luckily, you have some frozen water bottles that can serve as ice packs in the refrigerator. Just pop them in, add food and you’re done. Emily Long, who wrote our guide to packing the perfect refrigerator , reminded me that you can cut off the top of rectangular milk cartons to make a block of ice that melts more slowly than your standard gas station ice cubes.

You now have an emergency water supply

It’s good to have a supply of water on hand as part of your emergency supplies. If the water inside your bottles is drinkable (for example, you washed those old milk cartons before filling them), then you have a supply of water to drink in an emergency.

It’s the same with the picnic cooler, and this is another reason I like using standard half liter water bottles: they make great ice packs and when they melt you can drink them.

So with just one hack, you’ve improved your energy consumption, provided for two different types of emergencies, and gave yourself a supply of ice-cold drinks for your next summer picnic. Win-win-win-win.

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