Originally Posted by Craven
What temperature is the water? What temperature is the ice? The water will melt the ice faster because it's warmer than the ice. Common sense. I don't know what the instructions say for your cooler, or mine for that matter. I do know the ice last longer in my ice chest when the water is drained. And of course the quality of the ice chest and insulation makes a difference. Take two glasses filled with ice and add water to one of them. Then come back and tell us which one the ice lasted longer in. I wonder why bars and restaurants have open drains on their ice bins and ice makers? I wonder why they put drains on ice chest if they work better with water in them. It's faster to empty them by turning them over. I guess it's better to have cold water and no ice than nothing at all.
The temperature differential in which phase exchange occurs between ice and water is extremely narrow. The water, being that it came FROM the ice melting is almost the same temperature. Therefore the water has a lot of cooling BTU available in it to keep your food and drinks cold. In a good cooler, do NOT let it out. "adding water" to a glass of ice implies that the water was not already cold. Of course it would melt the ice you add it to. That's a logical fallacy.
The correct way to prove your point would be to create a closed environment with terrible insulation properties. Say, a tin can. Fill two cans with ice and drill a hole in the bottom of only one of them. The one that drains will will still have ice in it long after the other one only contains water. This is because the melted water forms a thermal bridge to the outside of the can.
So long as both are covered, there will be very little air movement inside between the chunks of ice. This is insulation. Convection won't do much when flowing through all of the small cavities between the ice. The ice will melt away from the walls of the can, creating air gaps that insulate them from the hot outside air.
Anyway, enough off topic chat yeah?