With our focus this month being water storage and building a water storage supply, I wanted to address one of the more common questions we get with regards to properly storing water in hot conditions, such as in your garage in the summer.
So many people are unsure if they should or should not store water in their garage in the summer months out of fear it may become contaminated. Let me start off first by saying water stored indoors is generally going to have the longer shelf life. You should first try to store as much water as you can indoors in an air conditioned environment, then work to add some water storage to your garage or outdoors. Also, no matter how well you stored your water, unless it is bottled water within the given expiration date that has been stored in air conditioning, we recommend filtering any and all water you drink in a SHTF situation (just to be safe).
So, back to the original question, is storing water in a hot garage a smart idea and safe for drinking? The answer, it depends on how you store it. Here is exactly what you need to do to store water in your hot garage so that it will remain drinkable down the road.
1) Avoid having water storage containers placed on the hot cement floor. Cement leaches chemicals when it gets hot. When storing your water in your garage, where the sun heats up the connecting driveway cement, consider raising your barrels/storage container up on wood or some form of stand. Just a few inches off the ground will do.
2) Make sure all water containers are sealed tightly. Water does not go bad. The concern is contamination. Having the containers sealed will help prevent any form of contamination. This will, as a result, mean the water may taste funny when you go to use it. Reason being, it lacks oxygen. To restore the taste, simply dump the water you are going to drink back and forth a few times in a cup to restore the oxygen level and taste. The bad taste does not mean it has gone bad. It just needs to "breathe" a bit.
3) Consider rotating your long term water storage every 1-2 years. In reality, properly stored water does not "go bad". However, it does run the risk of potential contamination if there is even the slightest error in storing it. To be on the safe side, consider rotating your water every 1-2 years, cleaning your storage containers, and refilling with new tap water. Also, always remember to filter any water you drink that has been stored for a long period during an emergency scenario. Generally people will rotate through the water storage they have that is in small bottles stored inside, but the 55 gallon barrels can sit for years without ever being touched. Those are the ones you'll want to consider dumping, cleaning, and refilling from time to time to be safe. For information on how to properly clean a water container, click here!
4) Do not treat your water before placing it in the barrels/storage containers. If you are using tap water, you are already using treated water. The key will be to treat your water once you go to use it down the road. There’s no need to add any additional chemicals to it when it’s just going to be sitting in a container.
Lastly, here are a few more helpful tips for you to consider:
-When storing safe water, it is best to use food grade water storage containers, like this one here.
-If you are not able to use a food grade water storage container, be sure the container you choose has a top that can be closed tightly and is made of durable, unbreakable materials (i.e. not glass)
-DO NOT USE containers that previously have been used to hold liquid or solid toxic chemicals (bleach pesticides, etc.)
-A food grade water storage container is one that will not transfer noxious or toxic substances into the water it is holding. If you are uncertain whether a package type is food grade you can contact the manufacturer. Ask if that particular container is (US) FDA approved meaning that it is safe for food use.
So, if you've been working to build your water storage supply, or are just getting started, don't be afraid to grab some 55 gallon barrels and place them in your garage. As long as you follow the tips above, you're all set!
Here are the bullet points for review:
- Store water in a food grade water storage container
- Make sure to elevate containers off hot cement
- Seal water container tightly
- Rotate water every 1-2 years and clean the storage containers
- Treat/filter water before drinking it.
For various water filters and storage containers to consider, make sure to check out our Water Storage section on our site by clicking here! If you have any questions at all, let me know by commenting below! Have a great day!
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