Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, answered a burning question of mine (back in 2012): How much energy does it take to boil a pot of water? He answers that and much more with a terrific real-world analysis.
Ever wonder how efficient it is to heat water? Of course you have! Ever measured it? Whoa, mister, now youve gone too far!
I recently devised a laser-phototransistor gauge to monitor my natural gas meter diallike ya do. As a side benefit, I acquired good data on how much energy goes into various domestic uses of natural gas. Using this, I was able to figure out how much energy it takes to heat water on the stove, cook something in the oven, or heat water for a shower. Together with the knowledge of the heat capacity of water, I can compute heating efficiency from my measurements. What could be more fun? Ill share the results here, some of which surprised me.