Author Topic: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers  (Read 8666 times)

Offline MrRufus

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Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« on: November 20, 2011, 06:48:53 PM »
As a new to the lifestyle I have a question about water storage.  I have been buying water to add to my families stockpile and when I buy water I wait until it goes on sale and I can usually get a gallon of water for around 70 cents.  Obviously you get a gallon of water and a container after you have used the water.

I have seen people talk about using 55 gallon drums and I am trying to understand why you would use that for water storage?  If you were using it for catchment purposes that would make a lot of sense but is there any reason that it would be used for drinking water?  The cost of the barrel is expensive (about $50 per barrel) then you still need fill the container.

Any and all help on this would be great like I said I am new and I would love to learn from others and make as few mistakes as possible.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 11:07:31 PM »
I think its a space issue for some. 55 1 gallon jugs takes up a lot of room versus one 55 gallon barrel tucked in a corner.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 01:18:07 AM »
I do a bit of both.  the 50-gal is a long term storage option.  the little 1-gal bottles are useful in power outages that last over 4 hours (when the kids need to go to the bathroom again)

Offline Truik

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 04:09:35 AM »
I agree with AM Sunshine. Water is about eight and a third pounds per gallon so take that into consideration in the event you have to shift storage locations or bug out.

I have sixty-gallon containers of water but I also store those 2.5-gallon plastic "boxes" with the molded handles (that you find in most grocery stores) that are light enough for my wife to pick up and carry to a vehicle if need be. Variety is good.

Offline Sequanti

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 07:01:54 AM »
I like the idea of stashing several smaller containers around.

Truik brought up a good point about the abilities of others to carry it if needed. I went with a few 7 gallon containers, but I am the only one that easily carry them any distance.

I also live in an area where water is abundant so the means to filter and purify it is perhaps even more important than the amount stored (within reason).

If I lived in a place where I would have no other water supply, I would recommend a few 55 gallon drums for sure.

Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 07:32:35 PM »
I live in a cabin.  I have an in ground 2000 gallon water tank, an in house 15 gallon tank, several 5 gallon jugs, and 2 2.5 gallon jugs.  The 2.5 gallon jugs stay in each of our vehicles.  The 5 gallon jugs stay outside the house in the summer and just inside the house in the winter.  The in house 15 gallon tank feeds one sink.  The 2000 gallon water tank feeds showers and toilets and stuff.  In a SHTF scenario that is several months worth of water.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 08:06:17 PM »
Smaller size containers can be easier to store, and more portable at need.

One-gallon jugs fit on a bookshelf very handily, or under a bed, and they are easy to grab&go with.

55-gallon plastic barrels are good for long-term storage and for places you plan to be bugging in during extended emergencies.

I bought my last 55 gallon drum (the food-grade plastic kind with a large top opening and a sealing ring) for $15.00.

One should always consider the cost of storing your preps as well as the cost of the preps themselves.

8 oz. bottled water by the case can cost more than an equal amount of gasoline. But you could run the same amount out of your tap for a few cents.

I re-use my 8-oz bottles until they meet with some terminal mishap like accidental crushing.

I also recycle milk jugs and 1-gallon "crystal" containers for everything from water to rice. That makes the cost of my small containers effectively zero.


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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 09:00:46 PM »
I live in a second-floor apartment and use the 7-gallon containers and lots of 1-gallon containers.  I tend to relocate fairly often and those containers are easy to empty, toss on the moving truck and then refill at my destination.  Also, they're lightweight enough that I can move them around the apartment or transport them in the car if necessary.

Offline rustyknife

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 05:54:17 AM »
We have a mix of two gallon jugs and 7 gallon jugs we picked up at China Mart. Mostly for the convenience of handling. I am working on an idea now where I will install a large capacity reservoir in line with my water system so that it is constantly being refreshed as we use water daily. The idea being that if ever the water(city water) stopped we would have a fresh amount to start with.

Offline NorIDhunter

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 04:16:06 PM »
Re; the title > both of the above, and then some.

1st, the well/pumphouse has it's own dedicated generator for if the power goes out.

We also use (6) 45 gal barrels in two locations (3 ea) for bulk storage if it looks like just a short term outage. They go nicely in a closet out of sight.
Eight 45 gal screw-on top storage barrels (formerly for livestock grain) that can be used for rain catchment and water the greenhouse.
Then we also have (10) 5 gal jugs that are filled but can be used to pump the water from the barrels into for use in flushing toilets etc. There is a 110v siphon pump, a drill motor pump, a hand pump and a bulb squeeze siphon to fill those. I've had thoughts about how to put a alternator type pulley on the drill pump and then mount that to a recumbent exercise bike w/ a belt drive but MacGyver hasn't showed up yet.  ;)
On top of that we also recycle all our liquid drink containers like 2L soda bottles, 48 fl. oz V8 Fusion juice & 33 fl. oz Powerade bottles for more individual usage. As LdMorgan said, "cost of storage". I already bought the bottle along with the product, might as well get another use out of it.  A few cases of 16 oz Crystal Geyser water bought on sale at Walmart rounds things out. Some of those might go in a "mercy bucket" for giveaway to refugees.
There's also the storage tank in the BOT but that gets drained in the winter so it's not a full time resource.

I'd LOVE to have a 2k in ground tank like mentioned earlier, but the ground around here would require a trackhoe & maybe explosives to work around the boulders. I'd also like to get a couple of 250 gal water totes that could go out in the shop as well as making a couple of those "Rain Saucer" type funnels that Jack talked about in episode 727 but the $'s just aren't there right now. It'll work out if it's supposed to.  :) 

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 03:00:22 PM »
I keep one gallon jugs in the freezer, wherever there is extra space. I also have 2 80gal water heaters, a large pressure tank, and we fill up the corner bathtub before a storm. I am planning on a rain catchment system at some point, as well as a hand pump for our well.

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2011, 12:08:16 PM »
I don't store any water beyond the 20 or 30 gallons of great spring water I bring from the BOL. That is in 5 gal Cornelius kegs (soda kegs) that we use as drinking water.  They are GREAT for storage. 5 gal each, stainless steel, large opening for clean out, quick connect in/out fittings. Nice carry handles.  I put a valve on the "out" and a hand powered air pump on the "in" side.
No lifting to pour. E-bay used to have em for $20 each but they're getting harder to find, now $40 or more for used ones. They never deteriorate though, so it's a one time cost.
I have a few gallons in the freezer as a cold sink. And a Berkey filter that we use if we ever run out of spring water.
There's the 2x55 gal drums of rain water plus the water heater if need be.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 12:17:27 PM by Perfesser »

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 02:07:01 PM »
Here is my $.02 with water. How I used to do it and how I am doing it now.

I started storing water when I found a water cooler brand new at a thrift store for about $50. It still had all the plastic wrap on it and had never been used. I found a local "culligan" water supplier (Taylor Water) who sells 5 gallon jugs for $5 if you pick them up yourself.

They take a $6 deposit on the jugs, which is actually CHEAPER than buying them. If you never return them and use them yourself, you just paid $6 for a 5/gal water jug.

I started out with 4 jugs, and every time I made a return trip to exchange the empties I would add one or 2 more jugs to my collection by paying the deposits on them. It took some months, but eventually I had 50 gallons (10 jugs) of drinking water stored in my basement.

I eventually got to the point where I had 20 jugs in storage — and would make an exchange run whenever I got to less than 10 jugs (rotating them) so my water supply would fluctuate between 100 gallons after a refill and down to 50 when I was "empty" Water exchanges were around $50 but I was flipping them every couple of months, sometimes 3. AND having the extra meant that I  had some leeway with the dates of making my refills (since the place closed at 4:30PM and is almost impossible to get to easily).

At some point my son's doctor told us he had too much lead in his system (he had been drinking tap water at his mom's house for a long time). I decided it was a good time to get the Berkey Filter I wanted — so I bought the Big Berkey stainless Steel 2 gallon unit. I also got the PS2 fluoride removal filters (they came with it as a package deal).

I wanted to keep the water cooler and 5 gallon jugs and just move to filling them with the Berkey filter.

This was a problem because the Berkey filter takes a LONG LONG time to filter 2 gallons and filling 20 5-gallon jugs would be a project I am still working on today if I had done this LOL. They DO make permanent caps and re-usable water cooler caps for standard 5-gallon jugs though so that was always a valid option.

At some point trying to figure out how I was going to use the water cooler and 5-gallon jugs (having instant hot/cold water was always nice to have) — but we were moving and realized we did not have room for them. We opted to sell the water cooler on craigslist (I got $65 for it and made a $15 profit after using it for 4 years). We returned all the jugs to the water cooler place to get our deposits back ($120 for 20 bottles) which ALMOST put the money back in our pocket for the Berkey system.

NOW what I am doing is taking empty 2 liter pop bottles and filling THESE with the Berkey system. I find that I can fill a bunch of 2-liter bottles easily. We keep the Berkey in the kitchen so it is right there when we cook and we take water directly out of the spigot. We keep a bottle in the fridge, we keep a couple of STURDY (formerly Arizona Tea) 1-gallon jugs filled with cooking water in the kitchen as well.

The 2 and 3 liter pop bottles are almost indestructible. We go camping and my 2 year old will take one and THROW it everywhere, against trees, rocks, stomp on it, and just abuse the hell out of one and it will NOT leak, or break. I've shown my friends how sturdy they are by throwing them as hard as I can against a tree and they just bounce off. They are designed to withstand a LOT of shock and pressure.

1 gallon plastic "milk" jugs from the grocery store containing water however… THEY SUCK.

I've dropped them on GRASS from waist height with no extra force to have them explode open on me. They are fine if you have them in your fridge or on a storage shelf, but they are not durable enough that I would keep them in my truck's toolbox or a vehicle trunk.

Some of my 2 liter bottles are over a year old now and have been kicked around more than you can imagine — a little soap and water and they are as good as new.

It is taking a long long time to get back up to 100 gallons but the last time I counted — I am somewhere around 60 liters in permanent storage with a few gallons floating around here and there.

So I basically have 15 to 20 gallons stored. It will take another year at this pace to get up to 50+ gallons (how quickly I gain empty 2 liter bottles and have time to clean / fill them).

In my opinion once I have enough bottles in rotation where I always have 100 gallons of clean drinking water — transporting them is MUCH easier than trying to lug around 5 gallon water jugs. In a bug out situation, you can transport 10 2-liter bottles (a little more than 5 gallons) in a much smaller space than you can transport a single 5 gallon jug.

Having a couple of portable water filters (Big Berkey and a Katadyn Hiker pump) means we do not have to be quite as concerned about having that much water in backup — but it is always good to have.

It has already come in handy this year when the water company was replacing the water main on our street and we would go through long periods without water every day of the week. We always had plenty of drinking and cooking water so it never became an issue.

My son's lead was down to undetectable in his bloodstream within a few months after using the Berkey water filters as well and I believe the quality of water is much better than anything BOTTLED — including those 5 gallon bottles.

It will probably be another year before I replace the PS2 filters, and another year from there when I replace the charcoal filters, so the replacement costs are definitely worth it. The taste of the water is superb and over time I've gotten to the point where I can detect anything that isn't pure in the water I drink, even small amounts of whatever is left over and not washed out of a 2 liter bottle that I washed out with soap and water, then rinsed over and over again until there is no soap left LOL. I can tell how many times the bottle has been re-used based on the taste LOL.

There are definitely issues about storing water and drinking out of plastic bottles, but that would be for a different thread.

Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2011, 08:41:13 AM »
Nothing but 2L pop bottles using tap water.  The water here is relatively good for tap water, but I do want to get a Berkey eventually.  At this point I can't justify paying for water other than tap.  I am buying a 2L or 2 of some such diet soda anyway, so they accumulate rather quickly.  I also rotate them every 6 months or so.


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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2011, 08:58:38 AM »
During the off-season we buy those cheap 8' round pools, stick it in a shaded corner of the yard, cover it and fill it with water. That's about 1100 gallons of non-potable water storage on the cheep. With filtering or boiling it can be made potable but it's primary use is sanitation because the pool is not food grade vinyl.
That way we don't have to use any drinking water for anything but drinking or cooking. A couple of 55gal drums will last 22 days at 5gals per day consumption. 5 gallons/day may seem excessive, but in the desert southwest water is life.

Offline "Top" W. Kone

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2011, 05:34:02 AM »
I would love a 55 gallon drum for water storage.  But right now we are renting and space is very limited.  So we use old juice jugs.  We took a 1 by 8 board and cut it to fit in our closet.  We put two jugs deep and the board on top of them.  This lets us place our shoes in the closet without losing floor space while storing water.  Keeps it out of sight and does not lose space.

Offline Patriot_RAM

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Re: Water Storage Small Vs Large Containers
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2011, 08:12:33 AM »
I have what I think is a common sense approach to the "common" water storage methods.  For long-term bulk storage in the basement, garage, house, etc, I think it's best to use larger containers such as 55 gallon plastic, UV resistant drums.  The last forever and hold a lot of water.  Personally, I also have a 250 gallon Super Tanker made from similar material.  You can easily get used food grade plastic drums anywhere from free to about 5 bucks each.  Use some common sense as far as what was stored in them previously.  If you find some that had vinegar, cooking oil, or any other "food" in them, just clean it well, rinse it really well and use it. 

Gallon jugs are good for storage area where you have shelving.  Keep in mind that these jugs physically won't last as long as the drums.  The plastic will also deteriorate and get brittle over time if they are exposed to sun.  Bulk gallon jugs require shelving, so if the place you have for water storage is a shelf, cabinet, or under a pieces of furniture such as a bed, this may be a better option for you.  I have seen some plastic jugs form leaks over a few years, and you shoult NOT stack cases of gallon jugs in a long-term storage situation.  If one jug leaks, the box that it's in, as well as the boxes under it will get wet and collapse under the weight of the boxes above.  It creates a not-so-cool situation!  :o

The last method I'll throw in here are cases of bottled water.  I'm talking about the 20oz bottles.  Cases of water are good for storage situations siilar to gallon jugs, however, the cases of bottles can be stacked a few cases high.  I don't store much water in this form, and primarily use it for drinking water that I want "easy access" to.  An example is our tornado shelter.  If we're stuck in there for a day or two, we can just grab the bottles and drink from them.  We don't have to store cups, etc in there and the cases fit nicely on the shelf of supplies we have stored in the safe room.

Just a few thoughts!