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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few hundred gallons of water stored upstairs in my house and I want more, but I don't want to exceed the floor load. Currently I have the weight distributed on platforms over the bearing walls of the first floor.

Consequently, I'm thinking about storing some in my unheated, very warm, to hot, cinderblock garage. Now it wouldn't be in there after hurricane season, so freezing is not really an issue. However, I am concerned with the heat. Maybe I should increase the ventilation capabilities of my garage.

Since I am storing city water it already has chlorine in it. Would it be an adequate/sufficient precaution to add perhaps a teaspoon of bleach to each one gallon container to avoid anything growing in there? I replace my water every six or seven months.

Does anyone store their emergency water is a similar place? Has heat been a problem with the quality of the stored water over time? How do you handle that issue?
 

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I have over a thousand gallons of water stored in my garage in Phoenix. Guaranteed it's hotter in there than yours. Used chlorinated tap water with bleach. When I get around to draining them in a year or so, I'll use calcium hypcloroite ( not sure of spelling ). Lasts way longer than bleach. It comes in powdered form and is highly corrosive so don't store it in metal containers. Keep water containers in the dark if possible ( covered or dark containers ). Do a search on the calcium stuff. Lots of write ups on it here.
 

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However, I am concerned with the heat.
Assuming the water was clean & treated to begin with, heat will not cause that water to become unusable. It'll just be hot water.

I stored pallets of water bottles, multiple 5-gallon jugs, and large capacity bladders outdoors, exposed to either direct sun or parked interior vehicle temperatures while in Iraq. Summertime ambient air temperatures there occasionally exceeded 130F. No problem. Drank that water all the time.

If the water has nothing biological growing in it... it will remain good for use as long as the container remains airtight. Regardless of how hot it gets.

I don't even rotate water from large sealed containers anymore. Just re-treat with household bleach every year or so. Even that is just a feel-good insurance policy, not really critical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't even rotate water from large sealed containers anymore. Just re-treat with household bleach every year or so. Even that is just an feel-good insurance policy, not really critical.
That's the second time I heard that recently. It makes sense and I LIKE it! Most posts here and other places have people saying not to waste water and use it in your garden. That's fine, but I couldn't quite understand why, if you have good water in a sealed container, do you need to even dump it out? That's a big labor effort if you have a lot of water stored. I mean what could really happen to drinkable water after six months when you add some more bleach to it? Just adding more bleach to it doesn't hurt it. The bleach loses its strength anyway and then you have your water again.

I will be absolutely be storing more of my water in my garage.

Thanks to everyone for your information, and thanks to Survivalist Forum!
 

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Some thoughts to remember on water storage.

Most of the time it is kept in plastic containers. Plastic is gas permeable by nature and some plastics degrade in the heat.

Gas permeable isn't much of an issue if A) the plastic is thick wall; B) you don't store VOC's in the same area; C) You don't store it on raw concrete or a toxin coated surface. Being gas permeable does not permit biological passthrough contamination though. Consider using interior grade plywood to store water containers on in the garage.

All plastics degrade and every type of plastic degrades differently. Heat accelerates degradation. The types of plastics that degrade safely are HDPE, LDPE, and polypropylene. Those are recycle codes 2, 4, and 5 in the little triangles.

Of note are 3 common issues.

First is PET plastic, recycle code 1. It degrades rather fast in the heat and releases antimony and acetaldehyde, which are not healthy for you at all. Worse is this is the most common container type for typical bottled water sold in grocery stores. These bottles are meant to be used, not stored.

Second is the gallon sided thin wall jugs that distilled and filter water typically comes in. They are made from HDPE and are nontoxic but they don't have enough structural strength to last long. This forum is filled with stories of folks having theirs burst and flood their storage area. Using recycled milk jugs has the same issues. Raw concrete will make this fast degradation even faster.

Third is non-potable containers. There is no code that defines a potable water container. Recycle codes only list the plastic type, not if the container was made to potable standards. It is cheaper to make a plastic container non-potable than potable. This becomes an issue for those using many reused containers they cannot verify of its provenance. A used 55 non-potable gallon drum has a value of nothing to $20. A used potable drum has a value in the $30-40 range. There is incentive to scam you and there is almost no way to verify it's potable status once the original contents label is removed and it has been cleaned. Cleaning it will not render it potable either. Unless you are personally getting the used barrels from their first user and can see the original food-only contents label then steer clear of these. Just avoid the used water barrel market completely. Buy them new if you cannot source these barrels yourself from the first user.

Of note too is plastic opacity. Colored opaque barrels block sunlight. Sunlight can lead to algae issues. Give even lab grade purified water long enough in a clear or translucent container in the sun and you will get algae. So if you are using transparent or translucent plastic containers to store water then ensure they rarely get any direct sunlight.
 

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adding more bleach to stored water

"I don't even rotate water from large sealed containers anymore. Just re-treat with household bleach every year or so. Even that is just a feel-good insurance policy, not really critical."

Be careful adding more bleach too often. Though Sodium Hypochlorite solution is the active ingredient, they add Sodium Hydroxide (lye) in very small quantity as a stabilizer for the hypochlorite. The hypochlorite eventually decomposes into Sodium Chloride (table salt) but the Lye does not decompose.
Eventually the lye will increase from the repeated re-addition of more bleach.
This will not be a good thing. It will make the water have a bitter taste and could be possibly harmful to drink.
 

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Potable water even with bleach added is not sterilized water. Water will store a long time but I would check it periodically, and be careful not to contaminate while doing so. I had some that looked clear and fine but had a moldy taste. It is some bother to change out your water but imagine the trouble of scrubbing out and sterilizing your water containers.
 

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I recycle my stored water into the garden on a ~6 month schedule. It keeps the water tasting fresh and gives me peace of mind. I use filtered city water (which is also passed through whole-house water softener). I do not add bleach and have had no issues. I periodically drink a glass or two from the oldest batch before the garden gets it. It has always tasted fine and there were no "gastrointestinal" issues.

Put it clean into quality containers; eliminate all the air possible before capping. Rotate q 6 months.
 

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I store a little over 1000 gallons of water in IBC containers in my garage. I have a COTS reverse-osmosis/UV light/charcoal filtering system that is fed from the IBC containers to a separate faucet on every sink in the house and the ice maker in the 'fridge. I only use straight well water for flushing, washing and keeping the pool filled. This was a nice easy installation (since I built it into the house during construction). Just one more PEX line to run. I eyeball the IBC's until they are down to about 10 gallons each and then I top them all back off. Add a cup of bleach to each full container and close 'em up. That way my water reserve is constantly being recycled.

Yes, having three wells on my property gives me a very comfortable supply and backup of water, but pollutants can get into the aquifer, wells can dry up, etc, etc, etc, ad nasuem... Having 1k gallons of fresh filtered water is just... comforting...
 

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See lots of help on what to not do.

What are good options?
Based on economy value and performance I think these suggestions give you the best bang for the buck at each size level.

Hundreds of gallons - An IBC tote. Note that these are not for exterior storage without cover.

Dozens of gallons - 55 gallon potable blue HDPE barrels.

Several gallons - 7 Reliant Aquatainer.

A gallon - Repurposed Arizona Tea gallon jugs made from polypropylene. Not for outside storage.

There are other options, but after reading here and using myself for years these 4 seem to top the list in terms of bang for the buck, durability, and reports from many users.

In contact with the cooler floor / on the north side / change out for fresh often ?

Zeke-eeeeeeeeeee knows --
I never rotate water that I know is sealed and treated properly. All I need to do is aerate it when I need it.

I don't put plastic containers on bare flooring. I use interior grade plywood underneath.
 

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I personally feel better rotating it. I do so in such a way that I'm rotating one barrel a month. It's actually quite painless. One is filled and one is emptied every month. Plus, it provides for plenty of water for our garden.

We're currently in an apartment where we don't have our barrels, but once we're in a house again, we'll be rotating on the same schedule unless our chickens &/or garden dictate a greater water need.

That's the second time I heard that recently. It makes sense and I LIKE it! Most posts here and other places have people saying not to waste water and use it in your garden. That's fine, but I couldn't quite understand why, if you have good water in a sealed container, do you need to even dump it out? That's a big labor effort if you have a lot of water stored. I mean what could really happen to drinkable water after six months when you add some more bleach to it? Just adding more bleach to it doesn't hurt it. The bleach loses its strength anyway and then you have your water again.

I will be absolutely be storing more of my water in my garage.

Thanks to everyone for your information, and thanks to Survivalist Forum!
 

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No, not a one. I tried it with & without bleach, using a basic published calculation of drops/gallon. It seems that the water was fine (for 6 months, at least) without bleach.

I deliberately tasted some of the bleach-treated water; no difference from the untreated water in terms of taste.

I may actually go back to adding bleach just on the basis of sanitization. I know that it doesn't hurt and costs virtually nothing.
 

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Make sure that you properly sanitize the containers first to prevent micro organism growth. Take a look at “Star San”. It’s a no rinse, specialty acid based sterilizer that was created for the brewing industry. It’s food/ drink safe when diluted properly (1oz makes 5 gallons) and only requires 1-2 minutes of contact to sanitize.
 
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