Survival Skills: Utilizing The Water In Your Home When The Faucets Stop

Let us suppose for just a moment, that the faucets in your home which magically spew out safe clean drinking water, someday cease to function.

Now, we'll compound this problem by saying that it's a disaster that has stopped the water flow to your home. You and those in your care will need to have some basic things to live through the emergency--and that list includes water.

Now if you have been paying attention to this website, it's hard to miss our encouragement for preparedness. In the realm of water, being prepared for emergencies means keeping some water on hand, and also being ready to disinfect water as needed (see our blog on disinfecting water with household chemicals). I would recommend those 5 gallon water cooler jugs. You can buy them brand new from the store filled with spring water, and they are packaged to stay good for several years. You can also fill up empty water cooler jugs yourself. Another good choice would be the water jugs that have a small spigot for dispensing the water. If you knew that trouble was headed your way soon, you could also fill up your bath tub, or other household containers. But what if you don't have that water storage at your disposal, or you run out?

How could you get safe drinking water in your home, after a disaster?

In The Pipes

Water can be found in many places throughout the average home. The first place is the water lying in the pipes. Whether you have a two story house, or single level home, find the lowest faucet in the system, this may even be a spigot outside. To get the water out effectively, open the highest faucet in the house, then open the lowest faucet and fill your clean containers which should be standing nearby. You could also leave some water in the pipes for later, but you probably won't get too many quarts out of the average plumbing system.
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The Hot Water Heater**

Depending on the size of the water heater, you may get a lot of water here, by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the unit and catching the water in a pan, or other shallow dish. You'll want to use this water soon, as warm water sitting there in the heater is a great bacterial breeding ground. On a side note, if the heater is electric, you'll want to turn off the power to it whether the power is out or not. If the power is on, or comes on later, the dry heater elements may burn up with no water in the unit.

The Fish Tank And Other Water Features

Nemo and Dori are going to have to end up in the soup pot for this one, but a fresh water fish tank can be claimed as a water source, along with swimming pools, fountains, and other water features. Treat all this water with chemicals or boiling for 10 minutes to make it safe to drink.

**The Toilet Tank **

This one is the least savory, so I saved it for last. And to clarify, we are talking about the TANK, not the toilet bowl. The tank of every toilet has a gallon or more of the same water that was coming into your house before the water stopped flowing. You can dip the water out of the tank with a cup, and if you are really upset by the proximity to the "bowl", you can disinfect the tank water.

Let's hope it never comes to the point of drinking toilet water, and maybe that can be your incentive to store a little water in case you ever need it.

Let us know in the comments if you store water in your home, or have gotten water from a creative source.