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Burning Question: Does Cold Water Boil Faster Than Hot?

No — that's a myth. The myth may have arisen from the fact that cold water does absorb heat faster than hot water. However, once the water gets to a hotter (not yet boiling) temperature, it absorbs heat at a slower rate, and from that point it takes just as long to bring the water to a boil as it would if the water were hot to begin with. And because it takes cold water some time to reach the temperature of hot water, cold water actually takes longer to boil than hot water does.

It makes sense: The hotter the water, the closer it is to boiling, therefore, the hotter the water, the faster it boils!


genn10 genn10 8 years
What's more boring than watching cold/hot water boil? Talking about cold/hot water boiling.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
I always start with hot water but I thought it was just b/c I was impatient :?
julieulie julieulie 9 years
Definitely true about not wanting to use hot water for cooking. Regarding the lead pipes -- while they may use plastic pipes now, not everywhere has updated pipes, plus through the early 90s, it was still legal to use lead soldering for fusing pipes, and as bellyspeak pointed out, waterheaters collect all sorts of minerals. That's also why even if you use hot water to wash your dishes, you should always do a cold water rinse. So even if hot water boils faster -- use cold water and wait the extra 30 seconds. :)
bellyspeak bellyspeak 9 years
I dunno about speed in boiling should ALWAYS use cold water for cooking. Why? It's cleaner. Hot water sits in your water heater, it can sit there for quite some time. During that time it picks up whatever mineral content or unmentionables in your heater. Ever drained your water heater or switched it out? Those things can be pretty nasty.
mominator mominator 9 years
I had always heard that too suziryder but they say that isn't true anymore because they use the plastic pipes today.
suziryder suziryder 9 years
I have heard that hot water from your pipes could contain trace amounts of lead in it (cold water wouldn't - something about the heat causing the lead in the pipes to leech into the water) so it's always best to use cold water for boiling, even if it does take a little longer.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can't say that i've ever heard that one before - that cold water boils faster. i always go the route of 'if it's closer to being hot at the start, then it'll take less time to boil' and i guess that's the smart way to go huh?
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That makes me feel better about boiling hot water :) I was always told that was wrong, and was always like, "But that doesn't make sense."
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
Duh i should have know this darn old wives kitchen tales!!!
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
oohh i found this article lol... If hot water freezes faster than room temperature water, does cold water boil faster than room temperature water? -jason laudun (age 12) metairie,la A: Jason - You’re right that under some conditions, hot water can freeze faster than cold water does. This phenomenon is known as the Mpemba effect, and there are a lot of different guesses as to why it happens. For more information on this, check out the answer: Freezing Hot Water and the Mpemba Effect. This is a special effect that occurs only for freezing, and it is not what most people would expect to happen. Boiling works just like you’d probably expect - hot water will boil more quickly than cold water. If you want, you can try this on your stove at home to be sure. -Tamara
montecon montecon 9 years
Please someone tell me this is satire...
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
hm...i am not sure i gotta research that one cause i was always told to boil cold water?
356UIK 356UIK 9 years
I dunno about that! A chef and my highschool chemistry teacher told me otherwise! ;)
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