Archive | March 2014

Myth: Adding Salt to Water Will Help It Boil Faster

salt2When you watch a cooking show on TV, you get evenly divided advice to either add or not add salt to water because it will affect the boiling speed. Those on the side of adding salt contend that it will speed up the process to add the salt, while those telling you not to add say it will slow down boiling.  So, will adding salt to water speed the time which it takes the water to boil?

This myth is confirmed! Adding a small amount of salt to a pot of boiling water will generally take some time, up to about 1 minute, off the time it takes to boil.

Now for the science: When water boils, the bonds that hold the 2 hydrogen molecules to the one oxygen molecule begin to loosen because of the heat. Eventually, enough heat (212°F) loosens the bonds so that the water boils. When salt is added it changes how the molecules move in the pot, making them move faster, which produces more heat. Because you are now heating the pot of water on the stove AND the salt is causing the molecules to move, the by-product of which is heat, the water in your pot will boil slightly faster. Basically, adding salt reduces the temperature at which water will boil – meaning you have to add  less heat from your stove because the way the salt makes the water molecules move adds heat too.

Remember that the salt in the water will alter the taste of the food you cook in it, so take that into consideration as you try this at home.

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Saturday Project: Spring Forward

thDon’t forget that this weekend is the time to “Spring Forward” for most of us in the USA. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight! This is also a great time of year to do some tasks that don’t get done regularly.

Check batteries in all smoke detectors. If you do not have a battery charge tester, replace all the batteries. Also, do a fire and tornado drill with the family. Be sure that everyone knows where to meet, and multiple ways out of the house from every room, especially the kids bedrooms.

Take this time to clean your bathroom vent fans and air returns. The covers often build up dust and grease, which can restrict their performance.

Check all your furnace filters and replace if needed. Make a note in your calendar to do this every month.

Finally, clean out your dryer lint. Even if you are emptying your lint trap every load, there is still lint clogging up your dryer. You can find instructional videos on YouTube for opening your dryer and really cleaning all the lint out. Just google your make and model and how to videos. Also, clean or change the vent hose than runs from your dryer to the wall. Get as much lint as possible out of the piping from the wall to the outside air release. You can do that from both the wall side and from outside your house. You can extend your vacuum hose by securely taping a wrapping paper tube (or several) to the end of the hose. Just make sure you use heavy-duty duct tape so that you don’t lose the hose extension in your wall.

The good news for many of us buried under snow or dealing with colder than normal temperatures is that this clock change means that Spring cannot be too far behind! Enjoy your extra morning vitamin D and sunshine!