My Yeti Cup Won’t Hold Ice: How to Diagnose and Fix This

While Yeti cups are high-quality tumblers that usually last a long time. Every now and again, you might be one of the rare unlucky people who experience issues with your …

While Yeti cups are high-quality tumblers that usually last a long time. Every now and again, you might be one of the rare unlucky people who experience issues with your cup. 

If your Yeti cup is not holding ice or it isn’t keeping water cold for very long, then it is likely the vacuum seal is damaged in some way. When this happens, warm air gets between the insulating walls of your Yeti, meaning it loses a lot of its insulating properties. 

If this is the case with your Yeti, then the 5-year warranty will cover the issue, and you can get a replacement cup, as fixing this is not a viable solution. 

It’s worth considering that there might not be anything wrong with your Yeti cup, though. There are some easily fixed issues that can cause your Yeti to struggle to hold ice and keep water cold. 

In this article, we look at some of the reasons why your Yeti cup won’t hold ice. 

Understanding How Yeti Cups Keep Water Cold

Without going into lots of scientific detail about convection, conduction, heat radiation, etc, the main thing to know about how Yeti cups keep water cold is that they create a vacuum. 

Yeti tumblers are made from double-walled stainless steel, which gives them both an inner and outer wall with no air between each one. 

As no air can get between the walls, heat cannot get inside your Yeti, so your water stays cold. 

The true science behind the vacuum is probably a lot more complicated than that, but this should give you a general idea of how things work. 

How Long Should Water Stay Cold in a Yeti?

The amount of time that Yeti cups can keep water cold depends on how full you fill your Yeti and the temperature it is being carried/stored. 

As a rough estimate, if you half fill your Yeti mug with ice and the other half with cold water, you can expect the water to stay cold for 12 – 18 hours. 

With a small amount of ice and the rest of cold water, 6–12 hours is a realistic expectation. 

Cold water on its own in a Yeti tumbler will likely stay cold for somewhere between 2–6 hours. 

Obviously, if the outside temperature is high, then these times will reduce slightly, but overall, Yeti cups are very good at keeping water cold for a long period of time in a range of conditions. 

What About Ice Retention Time?

Yeti says that their cups can hold ice for up to 24 hours. This is a claim that has been confirmed by lots of people who own a Yeti of their own. 

If you look back at the last point about how long water should stay cold in a Yeti, the same rules apply for ice. The more ice that’s in your Yeti to begin with, the longer it will stay frozen. 

To reiterate the previous point, a Yeti full of ice can retain ice for up to 24 hours, reduce this to your Yeti being half-filled with ice, and the ice retention time drops to 1218 hours.

Reasons Your Yeti Cup Is Not Keeping Water Cold

Now we have looked at how a Yeti cup keeps water cold, we need to think about what might be causing yours to malfunction. In the majority of cases, it will be a quick fix, and you will have ice-cold drinks again very soon. 

The Vacuum Insulation Is Compromised

As mentioned earlier, if the vacuum insulation of your Yeti is compromised, then you will need to put in a warranty claim for a replacement. 

While this is a rare issue, unfortunately, it can happen, but a quick email or call to Yeti should have the situation resolved in a few days.

Something to bear in mind, though—if the vacuum seal has been damaged as a result of misuse or you dropping your mug, Yeti is unlikely to offer a free replacement as this is not a manufacturing fault but rather the dreaded user error!  

It’s Being Exposed to Too Much Heat

External heat can reduce the amount of time your Yeti can keep water cold for. If you keep your tumbler in a hot car or a hot backpack or even close to your warm body for extended periods of time, this will cause the water inside your Yeti cup to warm up quicker. 

Direct sunlight is another factor that can cause your water to warm up faster than normal. This is particularly true if you have a darker-colored Yeti cup. While it might not make a huge amount of difference – a black Yeti will absorb more sunlight than a white Yeti meaning the water in a darker-colored cup warms up quicker than a lighter-colored one. 

The best thing to do is to keep your Yeti Rambler out of direct sunlight and in a cool place while out on your adventures. 

You’re Not Using Enough Ice

When you are filling up your Yeti cup, you need to make sure you are putting enough ice in there to keep the water cold for longer. 

If you put room temperature water in your Yeti, any ice you put in with it will begin to melt as it cools down the water. If you make the mistake of not putting enough ice in the cup, it will quickly melt, and there will be none left to further cool down the water. 

The more ice you put in your Yeti, the longer any water put inside will stay cold. With the right amount of ice (and if you use chilled water rather than room temperature), you can have a cold drink for up to 24 hours which is a big win if you are heading out on a hot day. 

You’re Using Warm Tap Water Instead of Cold Water

As mentioned in the last point, filling your cup with chilled water instead of water straight from the tap can help your Yeti keep it cooler for much longer. 

The colder the water is when it goes into your Yeti, the longer it will stay cold.  

You’re Leaving the Lid Open

It should be obvious, but the more heat that can get into your Yeti, the less time any water inside will stay cold. 

With the lid on, the main way heat can get inside is through the mouthpiece where you drink from. With the lid off, a lot more heat can get inside, causing your water to warm up much quicker than it normally would. 

The plastic lid of your Yeti provides an extra little bit of insulation which can actually make quite a big difference to how long your Yeti can keep stuff cold. 

If you want cold water for longer – leave the lid on your Yeti cup. 

You’re Drinking the Water

It might seem odd, but drinking the water inside your Yeti can actually make the rest of the water warm up quicker. 

If you think about it logically, then this does make sense. The more space inside your Yeti, the more warm air can get in. The warm air then increases the temperature of the water and reduces ice retention, too, so everything starts heating up. 

It’s for this reason that a small but full Yeti tumbler will keep water colder for longer than a half-full, larger tumbler. Yeti bottles work in the same way – the fuller they are, the longer your water stays cold. 

Final Thoughts on Helping Your Yeti Cup Keep Drinks Cold

Your Yeti cup will do a great job of keeping your drinks cold with very little help from you. That being said, though, you do need to make sure you are using it in the most effective way to get the best results.

Little things like making sure you are using good amounts of ice and chilled water instead of warm water are both minor things that won’t cause any additional hassle to you but can make quite a big difference in the amount of time your water stays cold. 

Yeti cups and bottles are great pieces of kit, so taking a bit of time to make sure you are using them to the best of their abilities is well worth it. 

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Rob Harvey is an experienced outdoor writer with a passion for using and writing about all the gear that makes camping, hiking and fishing fun. He's been a freelancer writer for more than five years and loves sharing his experiences with readers.
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