By Billie and Robert Nicholson
It doesn’t take long for panic to set in when the water in your home stops flowing. How many times have you gone back to the sink and turned it on to get the same results? Every household should have some water storage containers. Aquatainers hold 7 gallons and are available in the sporting section of your local box store (Walmart or Bass Pro Shops). Plan to store 1 gallon of water per person per day for the duration of a power outage. Start with enough to last three days.
If you have any warning that the power will fail, like an impending hurricane or other big storm, go fill the bathtub. There is a waterBOB® available to use in the tub to hold and keep water clean and contained. This will hold 100 gallons of fresh drinking water, fits in your bathtub and comes with a siphon pump. It is made of food grade plastic and can keep water clean for up to 16 weeks. It only takes 20 minutes to fill.
If you have no warning, don’t panic. There are other water sources in your home.
Hot Water Heater: This water source is clean, drinkable and ready to use. There are several sizes of tanks but the average size is twenty to fifty gallons. If the power is off, you will need to know where the tank faucet is to access the water. In order to get water to flow from the tank faucet, you will have to turn the water valve on somewhere else in the house to release pressure in the line. Turn the gas or electric off to the hot water heater.
Water Pipes: There is a limited amount of water in the water pipes throughout the house. To access it, you must turn on the highest faucet in the house to allow air into the pipes, and then turn on the lowest pipe to drain the lines.
Toilet Tank: Another source is the reservoir in the back of the toilet tank (not the bowl). There are three to five gallons of clean water in each tank. If you don’t feel you could drink from this source, it can be used for other purposes such as cleaning.
In the Pantry: There are sources of liquid in jars of fruit, fruit juices, and canned vegetables or ready to eat soups. This is an emergency supply of water because drinking the liquid off green beans is not as preferred as drinking pure water.
Pool or Hot Tub: A pool or hot tub may or may not be a source of water. There are many gallons of water in this source; however, if an earthquake or storms happens, this source could be cracked and drain away. Use this source for washing and cleaning.
Water Beds: Waterbed water is treated with chemicals to kill bacteria and algae that may grow inside. This is not a drinking source but can be used for personal washing or cleaning.
Wells: A well without electricity to pump water from the depths is agonizing. Most do have a bladder that holds several gallons. The alternative is to add a manual hand pump or build a well torpedo, made from PVC pipe or purchased from Lehman’s.
Rain Barrels: If it is not illegal to collect rainwater in your community, this is another “plan
ahead” item. Position it at the end of your downspout. We learned the importance of raising it up off the ground using cement blocks. Rain barrels come with a spigot near the bottom. Make sure it is high enough to get a bucket underneath to remove the water. Multiple barrels can be connected in tandem to hold more water using a siphon hose configuration.
Billie and Robert welcome your questions or comments. You can reach them at BillieandRobert@RustyBuggy.com