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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pros and Cons of Popular Water Storage Containers

Original Article

Last month I asked you all to tell me how you store your water and boy did I get a variety of answers!  Which actually, is to be expected.  There are a myriad of different containers available for storing water and each method has its pros and cons.  Today we’re going to discuss some of the more popular containers and their strengths and weaknesses to give you an idea what is available and which containers might work best for you.

Gallon jugs of water from the store.

  • Relatively inexpensive (usually less than $1.00/gallon)
  • Easy to find at most grocery and big box stores
  • Not too heavy
  • If the jugs are the milk jug type, the plastic can break down and your water leaks out.  The jugs are usually good for about a year.
  • Don’t stack
Water bottles

  • Easy to find
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Portable, single serve, and reclosable if you don’t drink it all in one sitting
  • Great for emergency kits, either your personal kit or your vehicle kit
  • Can stack cases on each other, just not too deep

  • Small
  • Need a lot of them to get your 1 gallon per person per day quota, especially for a large family
  • Make a lot of trash
Refilled PETE bottles like 2 liter soda bottles

  • Practically free, especially if you offer to clean up after a party
  • Small enough to fit in little unused spaces in your house
  • Only about 4 1/2 lbs full, so easy to carry and move
  • Difficult to stack
  • A little extra effort required to clean them out before filling with water
5 gal hard plastic jugs
  • A little more expensive
  • Most are built very sturdy
  • Can get spout attachments to pour water out easily
  • Hold approximately one day’s worth of water for a family of 4-5
  • At 40 lbs each full, they’re borderline on being able to haul them around.  Tough guys, or wimpy people with wagons should still be able to move them around okay.
  • Some are designed to stack, others aren’t, so they can use up a lot of floor space
30-55 gallon drum
  • Hold a lot of water
  • Relatively small footprint for the amount of water they hold
  • Cost
  • Super heavy, so don’t plan on moving them once they’re full
  • Need a pump or siphon system to get your water out
  • Bulky–tough to find a place for one of these in a very small home.  I did see one house that had laid boards on top of their barrels and made a laundry folding table–pretty creative.
And here are a few less common water storage choices:
  • 3 1/2 gallon size is a manageable weight and they come with carrying handles
  • Wide mouth opening makes for easy cleaning
  • Stackable–in fact, the interlock kind of like legos to make a stack of waterbricks very stable
  • Flat enough to fit under a bed
  • Spout available separately makes dispensing your water easy
  • Cost–about $17 each, plus extra for the spout. Not awful, but not cheap either.
Water bladder
  • Hold a LOT of water.  These bladders range in size from a bathtub liner to industrial bladders that start at 100 gallons and go up from there.
  • The non-bathtub varieties lay fairly flat, so they could fit under a bed if your floor is strong enough to hold the 800 lbs!
  • Not easy to clean
  • Don’t mix well with pets, especially ones with sharp claws!
  • Some, like the WaterBOB are designed for one-time-use
Emergency water boxes and pouches
  • Small enough for emergency kits
  • Up to 5 year shelf life, so rarely need rotated
  • Once they’re open, you can’t close them back up, so they will need consumed in one sitting
  • More expensive than water bottles
For me, I have a combination of the Waterbricks, a lot of refilled soda bottles, water bottles and a few jugs from the store, and a couple of the 5 gallon containers.  We live in a super small house and those are the options that work best for us.   So give some thought to the water storage solutions that will work for you in your own situation, and get some water stored.

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