How Much Dry Ice Do I Need For a Cooler?

Do you know how much dry ice you need for an ice cooler to keep things cool? Ideally, if you have a large ice cooler, it would be recommended to have 10-20lbs of dry ice to keep your food item cool for 24 hours.

However, the amount of dry ice you use may vary from the size of the ice cooler. In this guide, we’ll see all the factors.

Why To Use Dry Ice For Coolers?

Dry Ice Production

Dry ice is an excellent choice to transport frozen food and ice coolers when going on a picnic. It is mess-free, evaporates slowly, and keeps your food frozen for a longer time.

But the quantity of ice that you need for the ice cooler may vary or depend on the storage needs.

There are many factors that help you have an idea about how much dry ice must be sufficient for keeping the things frozen for a longer time.

There are a lot of factors that help you have an idea about how much dry ice must be sufficient for keeping the things frozen for a longer time.

This blog will explain everything about dry ice, the factors you need to consider before buying dry ice, and many more. So, let’s take a look at the post.

Why Is Dry Ice Preferable for the Ice Coolers?

One of the common reasons why dry ice is preferable for the ice cooler is its lightweight. Moreover, this remains cool for a long duration as compared to the regular ice. This is why it is also preferable for transportation of frozen goods to distant locations.

Other common reasons for choosing the dry ice over the regular ice for ice coolers are as follows: 

1. Cooler Than Regular Ice

Unlike regular ice prepared from water at 0°C, dry ice is made from liquid carbon dioxide at a freezing temperature of less than -78°C and even lower than that. Dry ice remains colder for longer than 24 hours, so it is best suited for ice coolers. 

2. Sublimate Without Making Mess

As we know that dry ice is made from liquid carbon dioxide, it doesn’t leave a mess on the floor when it melts. Dry ice sublimates in which in turn into gas directly from the solid.

Thereby, it keeps the ice cooler dry for a longer time. This is why it is considered the best alternative to regular ice rather than an ice cooler. 

3. Extremely Lightweight

Dry ice is prepared from liquid carbon dioxide, which is extremely lighter than liquid. This is why it is always preferable for transportation purposes.

What Are the Things to Consider In Calculation? 

There are some factors you can consider while determining the amount of dry ice for an ice cooler:

  • For how long do you want to keep things frozen in an ice cooler? 
  • What is the size of the cooler?
  • The type of insulation is present in the ice cooler?
  • Type of food essentials you store in the ice coolers.

Amount of Dry Ice For Regular Style Ice Cooler

Dry Ice Nuggets

When you determine the amount of dry ice for the regular style ice cooler, do ensure to check the type of insulation they offer. If you have a regular size ice cooler with perfect insulation, it is recommended to have 5-10 lbs of dry ice.

So, here I will briefly describe the amount of dry ice required for the regular style ice cooler depending on the ice retention time requirement.

Ice Retention Timing20-Quarts Ice Cooler40-Quarts Ice Cooler65-Quart Ice Coolers100-Quarts Ice Cooler
12 Hours 1-5 lbs of ice5 lbs of ice 5 lbs of ice5-10 lbs of ice 
24 Hours 5-10 lbs of ice5-10 lbs of ice 10 lbs of ice10-15 lbs of ice 
48 Hours 15 lbs of ice15 lbs of ice 15 lbs of ice20-30 lbs of ice
72 Hours 30 lbs of ice25 lbs of ice 25-30 lbs of ice30-50 lbs of ice
96 Hours 30-40 lbs of ice 40-50 lbs of ice50-100 lbs of ice 

How Much Is Dry Ice Recommended for a Small Cooler?

A small ice cooler is specially designed for 6-12 hours of usage. So, they require less dry ice as compared to the premium-style ice coolers.

This kind of ice cooler is also used for shipping small medicine items and smaller food items.

If you try to keep the ice cooler cool for two days, it is often recommended to use more than 15 lbs of ice in a 20 quarts ice cooler. 

In addition to this, the amount of dry ice is required for the small ice cooler-

Ice Retention Capacity5-Quarts Cooler10-Quarts Cooler20-Quarts Cooler
12 hours 1-5 lbs of ice1-5 lbs of ice1-5 lbs of ice
24 Hours5-10 lbs of ice5-10 lbs of ice5-10 lbs of ice
48 Hours10 lbs of ice10-15 lbs of ice15-20 of ice
72 Hours30 lbs of ice 

How Much Is Dry Ice Needed for Premium Ice Cooler?

Suppose you have a premium-style ice cooler with maximum features like a thicker insulation layer, rubber gasket, and many more.

So, here is an idea about the amount of dry ice required for the ice cooler-

Ice Retention20-Quarts Cooler40-Quarts Cooler65-Quarts Cooler100-Quarts Cooler
12 hours1-5 lbs5 lbs5 lbs5-10 lbs
24 hours5-10 lbs5-10 lbs5-10 lbs10-15 lbs
48 hours10-15 lbs10-15 lbs10-15 lbs15-20 lbs
72 hours20-30 lbs25-30 lbs25-30 lbs30-50 lbs
96 hours30-40 lbs30-40 lbs30-40 lbs50-70 lbs
120 hoursN/A50 lbs50 lbs70-100 lbs
120+ hoursN/AN/A70-100lbs100-200 lbs

How to Use Dry Ice in the Ice Cooler?

Once you know about the amount of dry ice required in the ice cooler, now it’s your turn to use the dry ice in the cooler.

However, before you place dry ice in the cooler, you need to prepare your cooler to maintain the cooling for a longer time. Here are a few steps you’ll have to follow

  • Place cardboard at the bottom of the ice cooler. Placing cardboard will help seal the gaps and prevent direct contact of the dry ice with the cooler, which may get damaged.
  • Once you place the cardboard at the bottom, fill the ice cooler with the dry ice. Make sure to wear gloves before you keep the dry ice in the cooler.
  • Cover the inner wall with aluminum foil as it will help to improve the insulation and keep the dry ice for a longer time.
  • Now seal all the gaps by filing with the newspaper. Make small crushed balls of the newspaper and fit them between the dry ice. It fills the gaps and allows escaping the gas, thereby maintaining the cooling for a longer time.
  • Once you seal the ends, keep your food items on the dry ice. It would be great if you pre-freeze the things before you keep them in the ice cooler, and Pre-chilling is helpful to retain the cooling for a longer time.
  • You can also use a food basket to keep food items in the cooler. This will help to prevent the early sublimation and retain the cooling for a longer time.
  • Now place some dry ice chunks on the top of the food items. Filling the dry ice chunks on the top of the ice cooler will help to prevent the early sublimation.
  • Do ensure to lose the drainage pipe so that gas easily escapes from the ice cooler. If possible, then slightly open the lid so that gas can be released easily.

Conclusion

So, now you have an idea about the amount of dry ice you need to keep in the ice cooler. The amount of dry ice required may vary according to the size and type of the ice cooler.

This is why I provided a rough idea about the amount of dry ice needed in the ice cooler. In addition to this, make sure to check the size of your cooler before you buy the dry ice.

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