How Heatwaves Affect Your Freeze Dryer ?

Physics tells us that there is no such thing as “cold”.  What we call “cold” is actually just the absence of heat.  You can probably experience this at a local Science Center if they have this really peculiar device set up as shown in the picture. 


It is a grid of warm rods (red) and cold rods (blue) separated by a small gap.  If you place your hand on it, you can feel the creepy sensation of hot and cold at the same time.  It doesn’t hurt, but the sensation is so strange that most people don’t keep their hand on it for more than a few seconds.  Our brains don’t like confusing information!

The point, however, is that heat is what we’re discussing, as well as the machinery we use to move it around.  Something “cold” just has much less heat in it than something “hot”.

With an Air Conditioner, you may notice that it is highly effective when you start it up in Spring, but as Summer gets going, it seems not to work as well.  Then, towards Autumn, it starts working better again.

The reason for this is that as the air temperature outside rises, it becomes more difficult to pump more heat into it from your house.  The air conditioner becomes less efficient (ironically, just when we need it the most).  Like blowing up a balloon, the closer it gets to the bursting point, the harder it is to put more air in it.  Heat acts the same way when the outside air is “full” of heat.

How Does That Relate to My Freeze-Dryer?

The less heat our food has when we put it in the Freeze-Dryer, the faster the machine can do its job of removing the water.  This is why most people put their products on trays and keep them in the freezer or deep freezer until they’re ready to begin.  Your freezer runs all the time, so you may as well save some work for your freeze-dryer, save some energy, too, and speed the process up significantly.

This is the same reason that “The Simpsons” burned out their refrigerator during their heatwave.  Refrigerators simply move the heat outside of themselves, and that heats the kitchen.  The heat builds up.

Wherever you have installed your freeze-dryer, that place will receive the heat removed from the food.  It also receives the energy used to run the freeze-dryer itself and its vacuum equipment.  That’s not usually a problem, and in the winter time, it’s free bonus heat for your home.

In the middle of a strong heatwave, it can actually compromise your freeze-dryer’s efficiency, making it run for much longer, using more energy, and possibly overheating and causing itself some damage.

Precautions You Can Take

         If the room is large and your household air-conditioning is good, you might not even notice the change.  Freeze-dryers really like something in the neighborhood of 60-75 ºF or 16-24 ºC to do their best work.

If your A/C struggles to keep you cool, it might be a good idea to stop freeze-drying until the heatwave has passed.

         If it is in a small room with a door, adding some exhaust fans might help it run cooler, and put that heat outside.  Failing that, adding a small air-conditioner to the room could move that excess heat outside for you.

         Some people even like to put their deep freezer, freeze-dryer, washer & dryer, (and sometimes even the fridge) all in one confined place so one little 5,000 BTU A/C can keep heat out of the rest of the house.

         While some people might laugh at a tiny 5000 BTU A/C, it’s actually the best way you can spend less than $100 to benefit all the rest of your house!  Let it to the hot work, so you can keep your cool!

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