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Water barrel placement

 
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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?
 
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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.

 
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
 
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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
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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
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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
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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!!
 
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