Cooling Hummingbird Water Faster

This time of year we’re mixing, boiling, and feeding about a gallon of sugar water (1:4) every day to all the Hummingbirds buzzing around the house and gardens. It’s been a great summer for them here, with 30+ feeding non-stop – and most of their young ones haven’t joined the fray yet. Looks like there’ll be 40-50 of the critters here by the end of the month, and it’s always fun to sit on our back porch and watch them in late August. It’s like being inside a hive full of giant, tame bees chasing each other around!

Anyway, getting the water to cool in a reasonable time after a 2-3 minute boil in its big saucepan is a bit frustrating to me. I usually set in on the cool concrete floor of our old farmhouse cellar, but it’s still hours before I can bottle it and put it into the refrigerator. And of course, the bigger the pan, the longer it takes.

So here’s a crude little improvement I hacked together earlier today, and it works surprisingly well with the pan just set outside. Using the fins, this batch cooled in less than half the usual time. Old Frigidaire refrigerator compressors had similar fins welded to their shells for cooling, which is where I got the idea.


This is simply a strip of standard aluminum roof flashing that took about two minutes to bend into zig-zags using the Workmate. Cut to stretch around the sauce pan I use the most, two 6-32 brass screws bolted to one end fit into two matching holes in the other, to hold it snug against the pan. You can just sit the pan down into the fins or stretch it around and hook the ends together.


I’ll probably make the next one just a shade narrower to allow more airflow into the bottom, but it works much better than I expected. I’m very pleased with this already, and thought maybe you could use it, too. I’ll be experimenting with this little trick further down the road.

PS – I mentioned this years ago in my newsletter, but here’s a handy way to carry multiple feeders. I have to bring ours in every night (seed and suet, too) so the bears don’t mess with them, and I’ve used this simple piece of broomstick with 5 screw hooks for many years (also works great for carrying grocery bags in from the car!) Shown fully loaded, attached to the wash line for the photo.

Humm Feeder CarrierA

God bless you,

Dave Harnish

Nehemiah 9:6


About Dave Harnish

I've been an appliance repair tech since 1972, with interests in most everything, including Bible study (I'm one of those KJV-only geezers), old Sunbeam Mixmasters, Maytag wringer washers, the outdoors, birds, hunting, metalworking, firewood cutting, and most anything going on outside on our mountain here in N. PA's 'Endless Mountains'.
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