Water heater tanks for water storage for emergencies...

Water heater tanks for water storage for emergencies...

This is a discussion on Water heater tanks for water storage for emergencies... within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I've been thinking about this for some time now. Since water heater tanks hold quite a bit of water, and they can stand the line ...

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Thread: Water heater tanks for water storage for emergencies...

  1. #1
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    Water heater tanks for water storage for emergencies...

    I've been thinking about this for some time now. Since water heater tanks hold quite a bit of water, and they can stand the line water pressure, they seem like a natural, although expensive, way to keep a fresh supply of water on hand for emergencies.

    The idea would apply to one or more tanks. If one is used, it could serve the dual purpose of heating water in normal times and a source of clean reserve water if the water supply was interrupted. My idea is to have maybe a couple of tanks around 50 gallon or so connected to the water line but not to a power source - there to store water, not heat it.

    The advantage is that as you use water for your household needs, chlorinated water would be constantly run through the tanks. If the water pressure failed, i.e. some interruption of the water supply, a one-way valve would prevent water from being siphoned out of the tanks toward the supply side.

    You'd probably need to have a vent valve somewhere to let air in as you use the water out of the tanks, but that's a minor thing. I suspect the tanks should be installed well off the floor so you could put a bucket, etc. under the drain valve of the water tank.

    That supply, plus the water in your water heater tank could provide water for quite a while.
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    A very workable plan. When (IF!) I ever can sell my house and build one, I plan to put (2) 50-80 gallon tanks in series for this reason. They will both be hooked up to solar heaters, and only the last one will have active heating elements.
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    It sounds like a good idea, but it would take up a lot of floor space, and they wouldnt be portable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cupcake View Post
    A very workable plan. When (IF!) I ever can sell my house and build one, I plan to put (2) 50-80 gallon tanks in series for this reason. They will both be hooked up to solar heaters, and only the last one will have active heating elements.
    Yep, series, exactly what I had in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    It sounds like a good idea, but it would take up a lot of floor space, and they wouldnt be portable.
    Well that's true. I have long since given up my garage as a place to park vehicles so I've got some room there.

    True they wouldn't be portable, but you could transfer the water into something as needed for portability. The goal is to have fresh, treated water on hand.
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    I still like the idea, provided you have the extra space. Isnt there regular water tanks that could be plumbed into your system without the heating element and all that to save some money?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    I still like the idea, provided you have the extra space. Isnt there regular water tanks that could be plumbed into your system without the heating element and all that to save some money?
    Well, I haven't been able to find anything cheaper than water heaters - probably just not looking in the right places.

    But, the tank has to be able to withstand both the weight of the water and the line pressure and not rust or transfer contaminants to the water - that narrows the field a bit.
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    Oh yeah, just remember to close the inlet valve at the first sign of trouble to keep your supply from being contaminated (could happen, even if there is enough pressure to refill the tanks, it might be untreated/substandard water being supplied. This happened here during the great blackout of 20??) You could use the relief valve for a vent, but lifting it without any pressure under the disc would likely damage it. But in a time of need...
    Hey, maybe have another tee with a valve before the water tanks so you could draw that substandard water I mentioned earlier. Could use it for flushing, watering plants, etc.

    PS, I haven't found anything cheaper than water heaters either. Not that'll hold under line pressure anyway.
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    What about those blue plastic 55 gallon drums? Those are pretty sturdy, and probably cheaper, especially if you have a manufacturing plant nearby or farm. They usually have a bunch and will give a few away if you ask.

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    There is going to be rust and sediment at the bottom of the tank. There is plastic tube inside the copper tube that goes 3/4 of the way so the water from the bottom does not get used. The hot water manufacture recommends tha once a year you connect a garden hose to the bottom spigot and let a few gallons of water out of it . Nobody including myself does. At my shop the town requires us to have and have certified every year a back-flow preventor so we could not mess with the village water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morintp View Post
    What about those blue plastic 55 gallon drums? Those are pretty sturdy, and probably cheaper, especially if you have a manufacturing plant nearby or farm. They usually have a bunch and will give a few away if you ask.
    Don't believe them to be rated for the pressure. Even if the barrel would hold, the plastic threads for piping to them are sucky fragile, and I couldn't trust them to be under pressure unattended. (I use them at work)
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    Quote Originally Posted by HITCH KING View Post
    There is going to be rust and sediment at the bottom of the tank. There is plastic tube inside the copper tube that goes 3/4 of the way so the water from the bottom does not get used. The hot water manufacture recommends tha once a year you connect a garden hose to the bottom spigot and let a few gallons of water out of it . Nobody including myself does. At my shop the town requires us to have and have certified every year a back-flow preventor so we could not mess with the village water.
    Yeah, but it won't hurt a thing. The draining thing is to make the tank last longer, because the stuff on the bottom limits the ability of the water to cool the bottom of the tank, right above the burner.
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    How about these?


    - Plastic-Mart -
    And if you place the tanks in your attic, you have gravity to route the water to your faucets.
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    Barrels? Pressure would bring grief, I'm sure. But fill, add a shot of clorox, and change every year? Standard procedure for most emergency preparedness folks. Not sure about the amount of clorox, and you would probably be better off with the 'water purification/storage tablets' sold for the purpose.

    BUT, so far as 'set it up and forget it' goes, you certainly would have a good system with an extra water heater or two: plumb them with a bunch of extra valves, too: one on intake and one on output, then just above those a bypass valve between the two. This way, with in/out valves open and bypass closed, the water goes through the storage tank and is freshened every time you use water in the house. At first sign of trouble (earthquake, for instance), you isolate the storage tank and open the bypass, thus preserving the storage water untainted.

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    I use the blue drums for horse water when we are camping. If you change out the water ever so often or keep a water purifier handy you would not need it to be plumbed into your water supply. Just put them somewhere they won't freeze. I got mine 14 years ago when I retired from the Air Force and they used to hold caustic stuff for water systems. Once rinsed out they don't seem to ever have any taste. We have a well here in the country but use county water for drinking and washing. The well water is too hard but it tastes fine and if we ever have a big problem I can either make a drop bucket for the water well or run it off my generator. In a pinch we also have a couple of travel trailers, 1 horse trailer with living quarters and an older 5th wheel. I'd fill the water tanks in them if it looked like we were going to have a problem that might cause trouble with our water supply.
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    You could use food grade steel drums (~$13 used). They are easily available, lined, and won't rust. If using treated water (bleached or chlorinated) and sealed they would last a long time if kept in a temperate area out of the sun. Ya, the water would taste like a swimming pool and be 'flat' but if if you really need it, it's available.
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