Win a copy of Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond
this week in the Food Preservation forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Leigh Tate
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Nancy Reading
  • Mike Barkley
  • L. Johnson

Water barrel placement

 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 6  55 gallon drums at this rental I need to put someplace before I fill them. Best place for ease of access and inconspicuousness is on a cement slab covered patio next to the house. I'm in southern Missouri, it doesn't get below zero often in the winter, but it stays below freezing a lot, and there's a VERY high wind chill from COLD north winds. The patio is on the north side of the house, so it's also shaded and stays cold longest. Summer is hot and muggy.

I can put bales of hay around them. I can put carpet padding under them (not sure if it's better or worse in this climate it break the thermal mass of the cement off them a bit.)

If I do any of that, will they survive?
They are not blue water barrels, they are white, I know what was in them, I consider it non-toxic enough to use them for water, and I do filter it before use. They were filled in NM for several years (on cement, in a building) before being drained, moved, and stacked in a fairly shady place for 3 years in MO, where they were exposed to heat and cold. Not the best thing in the world for water, but I didn't expect my world to go as it has. I moved them for greenhouse thermal mass. Don't have a greenhouse yet. Or a real home, just a rental, that I'm attempting to make usable in a bad situation.

Advice?
 
pollinator
Posts: 888
Location: 6a
275
hugelkultur dog forest garden trees cooking woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree you should get them off the ground, at least put plywood down, or put them on the soil.

This looks like a pretty good way of insulating., you could do this and then surround with hay.

 
master gardener
Posts: 5746
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
2276
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are you wanting to fill them for a back-up human water supply, or for storing water for future plants? I've had barrels of water freeze in the winter, but we usually weren't desperate for the water so we just waited until they thawed.
If you need the water during freezing weather, can you score a few pallets to get them off the concrete? Maybe fill between the layers of the pallets with some of the straw you mention? Can you put them right against the house and insulate outside of them so that heat leaking out of the house will hit them before the rest of the world?
Wind chill is for real! (Coming from a Canuck!) So wrapping them in hay bales and then a tarp over that would help with the wind. Actually, if the tarp was big enough, I'd lay it down, put the skids on top, fill with hay and keep wrapping up and over.

How do you intend to get the water out of the barrels? Will you connect them together (in which case the connections may be more likely to freeze than the barrels.) Insulation thickness in the "roof" is always more important than in the "walls" so if you have to access the top to start a syphon to get the water out, you need that to be easy to do. Hubby bought a barrel pump, but it's so high that I have to stand on something to use it without hurting myself. We remove it during freezing weather.

Are you prepared to use power to help, or are you assuming that if you've got no water, you've also got no power! (We have two wells - we've never lost water without loosing power first. We still catch rainwater for laundry and plants and I sooo... wish we had a simpler system for that. Someday...)
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That looks like a water heater wrap job. I have done that before. Can do it again. That might work well :) Wonder if I have any insulation around... Ooh, I do, in the shed here, the previous tenants left a mess I mostly ignore, some of it's fiberglass. Cool! Knew I 'd want that one of these days, that's why I've just ignored it.
Thank you!!
:D
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Angler wrote:Are you wanting to fill them for a back-up human water supply, or for storing water for future plants?


Both.

If you need the water during freezing weather, can you score a few pallets to get them off the concrete? Maybe fill between the layers of the pallets with some of the straw you mention?

I'm wondering if the thermal mass of the cement would keep them warmer or colder, or stabilize the temp maybe?

Can you put them right against the house and insulate outside of them so that heat leaking out of the house will hit them before the rest of the world?
Wind chill is for real! (Coming from a Canuck!) So wrapping them in hay bales and then a tarp over that would help with the wind. Actually, if the tarp was big enough, I'd lay it down, put the skids on top, fill with hay and keep wrapping up and over.


Hm.. that makes it very difficult to get water out if I need it. The idea though, I can work with, thank you. :D

How do you intend to get the water out of the barrels?

I have a hand barrel pump, or I'll siphon off into smaller jugs.

Will you connect them together (in which case the connections may be more likely to freeze than the barrels.)

no.

Insulation thickness in the "roof" is always more important than in the "walls" so if you have to access the top to start a syphon to get the water out, you need that to be easy to do.

I have a bunch of 2.5 inch thick Styrofoam!! That would be a good top, easy to remove. Would need to be covered against the wind, but that's doable.

Hubby bought a barrel pump, but it's so high that I have to stand on something to use it without hurting myself. We remove it during freezing weather.

Hm. Never had cold weather with these barrels, thank you, won't leave it in.  Steps aren't hard to come by, I use them for a lot of purposes, being short. :D

Are you prepared to use power to help, or are you assuming that if you've got no water, you've also got no power! (We have two wells - we've never lost water without loosing power first. We still catch rainwater for laundry and plants and I sooo... wish we had a simpler system for that. Someday...)

Water here is city, out of towers. Someone told me the other day "but the towers maintain pressure even if the power goes out!" Yeah, but it takes power to pump it back up into them... So it would be for prolonged power outage.

Thank you, things to think on there!
:D
 
Jay Angler
master gardener
Posts: 5746
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
2276
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pearl Sutton wrote:

I have a bunch of 2.5 inch thick Styrofoam!! That would be a good top, easy to remove. Would need to be covered against the wind, but that's doable.

That would make a great top. Consider stitching a giant "pocket" with flaps out of part of a tarp that the styrofoam can be sewn into. Depending on the wind levels, the flaps could be screwed or velcroed or tied to the rest of the collection. I made a similar thing out of layers of bubble wrap (R2-3 but better than nothing) inside fabric salvaged from an old tent fly that is velcroed to a shelf in our well shed to contain the heat in the critical area in bad weather. It folds up during the summer so it's not in the way. It appears that a mouse chewed the bottom a little, but I'm not seeing current signs. That is something to be aware of, as you are creating a warm spot that critters might be happy to make "home"!
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Angler wrote:
That is something to be aware of, as you are creating a warm spot that critters might be happy to make "home"!


Oh yes, the water jugs I have packed in hay bales on that patio right now that overwintered this last winter fascinate my cat. I suspect I had warm mousies all winter.
:D
 
steward
Posts: 12104
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3367
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd definitely get them off the concrete.  

What's your "average" temperature for January?  Highs, lows, middles all averaged together?  

I'm assuming this is water that you'd only need if the city water stopped flowing?  So if it took 2 hours to get to it the first time, that would be ok?  If so, I'd do a more permanent insulation and protection scheme since there's a 98% chance you won't need to get to them.

Water towers are cool.  I know a guy who runs the "water plant" for a nearby town.  I never realized that those towers don't have an in and an out.  There's just one pipe.  They had a leak once and there's no way to empty the water tower back into the water supply so the whole thing had to drain onto the ground
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
January: av high: 41, av low: 20 so av total 30.

Off the concrete then? Ok, I have things I can abuse. Bunch of that hay if nothing else. Probably can find better.

Good point about accessibility. I hadn't thought of that. We have other water stock, several hundred gallons, at all times.

This town currently has 1 of the 3 water towers down, building a new one. So that doesn't help it all any. And notoriously bad power issues.

Cool, thank you, that gives me even more to think on!

:D
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 12104
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3367
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you can insulate them decently, and leave them uninsulated against the house (to steal a few degrees from the building), I'm guessing it will be close but it'll work.  

I have blue barrels and when they froze, it was a non-event.  Yes they were frozen but they didn't burst.

To get them off the ground, I'm just thinking some old boards.  Just something to keep them from losing heat to the slab which will radiate it away.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I looked today in my barn, was eyeing the scrap lumber to put barrels on, and saw some 4 inch heavy duty insulation I had forgotten about! About 6 inch wide cuts by 4 feet long, they were spacers in a truck load of stuff I bought. COOL! brought them back to put barrels on! Should be able to make a nice stable base out of them, and use the carpet padding to wrap, and Styrofoam for covers. NEAT!!
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bumping this post, might be dealing with this today, next few days if not...

I have not opened it all up yet, but I believe one 55 gallon barrel blew last Feb when it stayed below zero for so long. If I am correct in my guess, it's the one that was most accessible, to use first, that was least insulated that went.

So. I have them all filled to the tippy top, I'm thinking I need to pull off a gallon or two from each one for expansion space if needed. Correct or no? And if correct, do I need to leave the bungs loose for air movement? I have them sealed tight to keep it debris and critter free.
Edit: I just looked out there, it's going to be a lot of work to expose them, I have them packed well, except for that one. Do I HAVE to drain some off? How much risk is there not doing so?

I will look at the barrel that drained, I have another one handy that I can replace it out with. I'm thinking it expanded when it froze and just cracked, probably downwards, since the slow drainage across the patio from that area when the weather warmed up lasted quite some time (several weeks, very slow) implying it kept draining till it was very low water level.

Any other advice? I have stored water for many years, but in a climate that didn't freeze. And last Feb was spectacularly cold for a long time, so anything iffy really had no chance. And I did have that one easier to access that the others, for first use.  And I didn't lose power, but I was in about a 1 mile radius that was the only area for many miles that did not lose power. So I'm still assuming power outage is very likely. Been working on doing stuff to this rental for months, with fuel prices going up etc, I can't imagine I will be pleased with what happens with the heat/power/water etc this winter.  That's why these got missed till so late, I forgot them due to everything else. Like this!!  https://permies.com/t/150879/Bricolage-projects#1307110

Thanks for help!
:D
 
Jay Angler
master gardener
Posts: 5746
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
2276
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm thinking about how I freeze water/brine to protect our freezers from power outages or to take in coolers.
1. I use a plastic container that can expand.
2. I squeeze that container to take the pressure off the container and put the lid on hard, so that there's room to expand before reaching the container's limit.
The Problem: How the heck would you do that with a barrel? Some sort of bar clamp arrangement?  The idea is to have the water at a bit of negative pressure starting out.

Part of your issue is that the expansion needs a "shape" to go to - a tapered bucket and the forming ice can get pushed upward - a barrel comes in at the top so the top ice which forms first is a plug that can't move.

I can't think of a perfect, simple solution, but if you're looking for crazy, take three of those "animal-making" balloons and stick them inside each other to get a stronger one, use a compressor to fill with air still skinny enough to squeeze through the bunghole - now you've got a collapsible air space. Tied to a stick to keep it down deeper? It probably won't stay out of choice.
 
master gardener
Posts: 3765
Location: southern Illinois.
1107
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a side issue, I have learned to always place the barrels on pallets.  It is amazing how many times I have had to move something I thought would never need to be moved.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thinking about expansion room etc, sounds like my best bet for these is to see how much more insulation I can put on them, as I can't fix the expansion problem.

I think I'm going to inspect them, pull off a couple of gallons from each, close them loosely, and see how they are insulated.

I'm really hoping only that one that wasn't buried as deep in stuff took damage.

 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8944
Location: SW Missouri
4514
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well now.
The result here today was totally unexpected.
That barrel is fine. It's condensing heavily! It was wet today!
So it's all been insulated better, and covered back up.
I did NOT expect it to be water harvesting.
Now I know things that  might be useful, if a plastic barrel contains chilled water, it'll harvest a lot of water out of the humidity here. I seriously thought it had spilled 55 gallons over the course of a few weeks. That's a lot of water harvest!!

:D
 
master gardener
Posts: 3599
1578
2
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now, you just need a way to collect that condensation!
 
Jay Angler
master gardener
Posts: 5746
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
2276
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have it sufficiently elevated and with a tray under it with a outlet and a tube plumbed into the lid of a jar. Hubby collects the water that comes out of our egg fridge that way, mostly just so it isn't leaking where we don't want it to leak.

The bigger question is how do we get it to do this when we *need* free water?
 
Time is the best teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all of its students - Robin Williams. tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic