From: B.Hamilton@irl.cri.nz (Bruce Hamilton)
Subject: Re: Odor / taste from home ice maker
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 07:56:53 +12
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bob Peeples <email@example.com> writes:
>Although the tap water does not appear to have a strong taste or odor,
>many home ice cube makers produce ice with an "off-flavor". What could
>cause this? I thought this was specific to my freezer until I moved
>across town (Phoenix) and my new freezer had the same problem.
It's likely to be a combination of effects.
1. Cold water and ice tastes different to ambient temperature water.
- perhaps due to temperature sensitivity of our taste buds.
- this could be checked by allowing the water to warm, and comparing
it to water from the same source that was held at room temperture.
For extra points boil some of the original water ( microwave is fast
and efficient ), and allow that to cool to the same temperature and
taste that immediately - and after shaking vigorously to saturate with
air as well. You may be surprised at the difference in taste due to
dissolved gases. The solubility of air components, such as CO2 and
O2, increases as temperature decreases. Additional experiements
can involve freezing freshly-boiled water and comparing the taste.
2. The freezer is filled with volatile organics ( such as short chain
carbonyls ) that can taint other food. Add some water in two
identical well-washed plastic containers ( not glass or metal, but
only to a shallow dept to provide a large surface area to volume
ratio ), and seal one of them. Leave both in the freezer and compare
taste after several days. If the open one tastes different then you
may have organic contamination.
3. It is possible that metal trays in the icecube maker may impart a
taste to the water, and that can be checked by freezing some of the
water in closed ( plastic film ) plastic trays of similar size and shape,
and comparing taste both as cold ice and ambient temperture water
- as in the above experiments.
4. The dissolved salts in water are often responsible for the taste of water,
and water without those salts ( distilled or deionised ) also tastes
strange. It may be that some water is condensing, or some volatile
species are dissolving and changing the taste. The above open and
closed experiements should help clarify that issue, as would using
distilled water. Note that the less dissolved salts in the water, the
easier it is to make it taste strange. When testing freezers for odours,
unsalted butter and distilled water are routinely used because they can
taint very easily from volatiles. Perhaps the water in your area is low
in dissolved salts.
5. There may be biological contamination in your freezer that produces
smells that taint.