3 Emergency Sources of Water Inside Your Home

Prev2 of 4Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

lowboy1. Water Heater

Most residential homes are equipped with a 50-60 gallon water heater, continuously filled with potable tap water. Many older water heaters will be filled with sediment, thus they may hold less water over time, but still that’s a significant volume of water.

Simply attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom or your water heater and you have a week’s supply of drinking water for a family of five (1 gallon per person per day).

The water coming from your heater should be safe to drink, but it’s always good to treat it if you have any doubts. It may also taste strange due to the sediment inside the tank, so it’s not a bad idea to run it through a filter before drinking.

Prev2 of 4Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Sponsored Content


  1. For those who have swimming pools, deck pools, fish tanks, fish ponds, water fountains and hot tubs or one of those virtual swimming pools, you have a supply of water that can be purified or used to feed animals and plants.

  2. It’s also possible to wash the sediment (or some of it anyway) out of your water heater tank.

    You need a short length of hose attached to the drain valve at the bottom, and to turn off the heat and open the cold water flush valve at the top. Open the drain valve, and let the water run out – it’ll come out hard so be sure the other end of the hose is in a drain pipe and stays there. (If you flush it out the door to the lawn the sediment will end up there too.) Then you open the cold water fill valve, and let it run a while. Once the hose is draining clear water, you’ve probably gotten all the sediment out that you will get out, so you should probably stop. After you close the drain, you can turn on the heat again as it fills back up.

    Doing this twice a year will extend the life of your water heater, and it’s efficiency – sediment is pretty hard to warm up.

  3. Most gutters drain onto the ground or directly into a sewer system. You need to have the means to divert the water into your collection system. This needs to be set up ahead of time. Not only do you need the storage, but you need the diversion system to be able to do this. Most houses have multiple downspouts, so this gets a bit more complicated.

  4. If you have a well, having a water bailer (you can get it from Lehmans) is a great idea to access your water well.

  5. Has anyone ever tried to drink or filter the frost from a freezer? It may not be much, but again, it’s survival. If you keep extra bottles of water in the freezer to help keep it from working to hard, you have a little extra water there too. In addition to the hot water heater, there is still water is some of the pipes when there is no pressure. If you have a relief valve in the basement, you can get that too. When you open a can of veggies, don’t throw away the water. add it to your rice or beans. or drink it. It is purified already and tasty.

  6. That’s true, Ken, but you probably only need a storage container at one downspout to create a good reserve. Perhaps choose one of the largest runoff areas with a downspout and make your modifications. An average downspout will fill a 200 gallon container several times a month — especially in the spring.

  7. what is a water bailer…my well is 200 feet down. thanks

  8. When I lived in Alabama we filled our bath tubs and the washing machine during hurricane threats. How long would the water stay drinkable if you had filled several plastic (clean) milk jugs ?

  9. If you have a dehumidifier AND electricity the water from the dehumidifier is pure- distilled. Make sure the container you capture it in is clean or the gunk in the container will contaminate the water. Chlorox is a great cleaner since this is what goes into water systems everywhere.
    Also without a sump pump my basement would be overrun by underground water during rains but the sump container would provide water even if you had to retrieve it with a bucket, sauce pan, plastic container-whatever.
    Rainwater is a great source of general purpose water. It is easily useful for toilets-as is. But rainwater comes off roofs mostly and it has every contaminant imaginable. Let it sit for an hour or so, and then pour out the top, which should be good for washing , and boil it to drink.
    But if worst comes to worst you can always drink beer if you have it. Can store it for ages and it will still be good.
    The question above about water store in milk cartons-I have the in various places but have not used any lately. Because of the milk residue in the containers I would not trust it to be drinkable days after I closed it up. I have no data to prove it’s bad, just experience. Might be an interesting question for a testing lab/Some of the water stored in the unheated garage freezes but so far no cracked or broken jugs but some I store in the attic stays below freezing.

  10. Dave is correct here. The only way you get more prsseure inside a water heater than what the water pump or system is exerting, is if the water gets to a temp that makes it near to the boiling point, where it would turn into steam. That’s what prsseure this valve would release. It’s actually a combo prsseure/temp. thing. Although they sometimes start leaking from a lime, calcium buildup in the water supply that has eroded part of the seat on which the valve stem seals. If turning the temp back down doesn’t help, it’s not rocket science to drain a bit of water off the top and replace the valve. They cost about $8. Was this answer helpful?

  11. I use 4 and 5 gal water bottles fill them up cover the top pour some hydrogen peroxide in before use works for me

  12. I live next to a water tower that is on the ground, ground-level. It is easy to get to the container but how can a person get water out of it?

  13. i think i read if you have a half a dozen milk containers that one tea spoon of clorox per gallon of water isnt bad helps clean up older water . one tablespoon in 5 gallons of water is also not a bad thing but you must mix and wait for a half hour so why couldnt you do the same thing with any water and also filter it thru a few pieces of cotton rags will keep u alive .Isnt rain water the same as distilled water when i was a kid heard that from a guy in a gas station ???

  14. DO NOT turn the power back on as you are filling the water heater. If you do you will burn up the heating elements in less than 5 seconds. The elements have to be submerged in water with no air bubbles around them. Your tank can be full of water but if there is an air pocket around the element , the element will burn up. Always when filling the tank back up turn all hot water faucets
    on in the shower, sinks, and tubs and let the water run out of each for a few minutes to ensure no air is in the lines or tank. Now turn the faucets off and NOW turn the power back on,
    I’m an ex trainer on water heater products. If you read your owners manual you should drain them every six months to prevent a mineral buildup.

Comments are closed.