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#61643 - 03/10/06 09:32 PM Water heaters for water storage?
WayneConrad Offline

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 33
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Here in Phoenix, water is definately life. I am planning on a minimum requirement of 2.5 gallons per person per day for summer days. That might not be enough... that's just my first guess.

So, I need to have water stored so I can survive if city services are out. But, being lazy (I don't want to rotate stocks) and forgetful (I won't remember to, anyhow), I need a survival water supply that I won't have to worry about until I need it.

What about getting one or two water heaters and hooking them, without electricity, in series with my home's cold water supply? The water would rotate itself just from using water in the house. I would add bypass/isolation valves so I could remove a tank from the circuit for repairs or when the city supply failed. I'd plan to use a short potable water hose hooked to a water heater drain to extract water for emergency use. I would add enough water purification goodies to my supplies so that I could treat all the stored water if it was questionable (say, if contaminated city water made its way into the tanks before I isolated them).

Question 1: At around $250 for 50 gallons, this is expensive. Are there any cheaper solutions for inline, pressurized water storage?

Question 2: Could my stored water drain back into the city's lines if the city supply lost pressure? Should I add a check valve to the system to prevent that?

Question 3: What alternatives to this crazy scheme would work well even though I am lazy and forgetful?

#61644 - 03/11/06 12:38 AM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
hillbilly Offline

Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 213
Loc: Northeast Arkansas (Central Ar...
Just a thought, but if you are not going to hook it up with gas or electric, why not find a couple tanks at a salvage yard or on side of road when they pick up discarded water heaters like in springtime?

#61645 - 03/11/06 01:29 AM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
KR20 Offline

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 101
Loc: Arizona

There are water tanks made for water storage that are designed to be in line. They are mostly found in well systems and you should be able to find them at Lowes or Home Depot.

#61646 - 03/11/06 04:32 AM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
Fallshirmjager Offline

Registered: 02/09/04
Posts: 42
Bury a rain water cistern in the yard. A 1650 gallon plastic tank will be about 6'x6' for around $500 from a farm store. You can plumb it for gravity flow into the basement, or for a cistern pump from Lehman's online catalog. Many cisterns are now attic mounted in new construction specs. Water storage and thermal mass, as well as an automatic fire extinguisher.

It doesn't have to be filled with rain water (you can use a hose), but soft water tastes 'fresher' after several years in a tank.

#61647 - 03/11/06 04:54 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
CJK Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 586
Loc: FL, USA
I've read/heard about people doing exactly what you planned on....putting the 'hot water heaters' in line (with bypass/isolation/check valves). IIRC the guy was a plumber so he regularly replaced peoples hot water heaters so he had a supply......My 2c worth.....if you are 'getting' old/ discarded tanks....be carefull....they may be corroded inside....there may be more problems than you can see. I'd offer what some of them may be but I'm not very knowledgeable about them. I did just 'flush' mine of built up sediment so I know things do build up. Be careful.

#61648 - 03/11/06 06:25 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
This thread, and another, mention sediment build-up. You no doubt know that we've got some pretty hard water here. Phoenix-specific facts:

Definitions of hard water vary from: Hard = 10 to 20gpg; Very hard = 20+gpg. to Hard = 7.1 to 10.5gpg; Extremely hard water = 10.6+gpg. The water in the greater Phoenix area ranges from 15 to 40gpg. Whichever definition, we've got hard water.

On maintenance: Twice a year (or every other month if you live in hard water area), drain a bucket of water from your hot water heater storage tank. Seems like this routine would be even more prudent if you were planning to use the tank(s) as a water source in an emergency.

"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

#61649 - 03/11/06 09:10 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
A glass lined one would be corrosion free, and it wouldn't leach anything into the water.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#61650 - 03/15/06 05:46 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
Hghvlocity Offline

Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Oklahoma
I like the idea, but the problem for me would be space. Hooking up more water heaters could be an issue. I don't know how house are built there, but here the water tank is in a fairly small closet.

Second, I wouldn't want to deal with someone elses discarded water tank...no telling what you could get into there and for $250 you can buy several food grade plastic drums in various sizes that are cleaner and moveable.

Just my opinion...but I do like the idea.
Get busy living...or get busy dying!

#61651 - 03/15/06 11:27 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
WayneConrad Offline

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 33
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.

I haven't, in an online search, found the well-system tanks mentioned by KR20. Does anyone have a link? if I were to try to find one of these at the hardware store, it'd help to know what they're called and what they look like. I wonder if a city hardware store would have them in any case.

I agree that old water heaters are a gamble. I'd use new for that reason.

Thanks for the advice about draining them. I never remember to.

While looking for water tanks, I did find these nifty blue barrels. The water preservative, whatever that is, is what would make these alright for me. I think I can rotate the stock once every 5 years. Probably. So, to hijack my own thread, what do you think of using these instead?

#61652 - 03/16/06 03:04 AM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
defoglesong Offline

Registered: 04/29/04
Posts: 10
Loc: Seattle, WA, USA
What you're looking for are called "pressure tanks". They're used with well water systems so the pump doesn't burn out supplying the pressure for the home water supply. Do a Google for "water pressure tank" and a bunch of links will pop up.

I doubt if hardware stores in city areas will carry these, since they're not needed for homes on a city water system. (I've never seen them at the Lowe's or Home Depot stores here in the Seattle area.) They can probably special order them, though.

Sears sells them too. Do a search at their site for "water pressure tank" and their models will pop up.

Dave F>

#61653 - 03/16/06 03:55 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
stevez Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 75
Loc: Colorado

I use these barrels for home storage and recommend them. You can get them for much less than than the $125 that Raytech is asking. For an online source, try Emergency Essentials at beprepared.com. I purchased mine locally at Sportsman's Warehouse for under $50. For water preservation, I use bleach.


#61654 - 03/19/06 07:41 PM Re: Water heaters for water storage?
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
The way tap water works in my house is that there's a cold water tank in the attic which the mains fills via a ballcock. There's no way it can get from that tank back into the mains even if the mains is switched to "suck".

I wonder if it would be feasible to just replace that tank with a bigger one? Presumably bigger houses have bigger tanks so a range would be available. You'd need to make sure the floor was strong enough. Water is heavy.

It might be worth wiring up a sensor that could tell you if the water level dropped, and/or the mains was cut off, so you knew when you were using your reserve.
Quality is addictive.

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