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Water - Equipment

There is a variety of equipment that can be used with water. From the kitchen to the bathroom to the garage to the barn, you have a lot to consider in using water. Some ideas are listed below.

Aquarium - Having an aquarium in your home adds more than exciting scenery. If you ever needed water, it could be a source of water. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Bathtub and Sink - If you have advanced warning that you may lose water pressure, you can fill all of your bathtubs and sinks. If you have time before losing your water pressure, clean the sinks and tubs prior to filling them. Make sure you have a way to stop the drains so they will hold water. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Bottle and Jugs - FEMA teaches the following about storing drinking water in bottles and jugs:

  • To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water.
  • Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.
  • Observe the expiration or “use by” date.
  • If you are preparing your own containers of water it is recommended you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage.
  • Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dish washing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Follow directions below on filling the container with water.
  • If you choose to use your own storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles - not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids.
  • Do not use glass containers, because they can break and are heavy.
  • If storing water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps:
    • Thoroughly clean the bottles with dish washing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
    • Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water.
    • Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces.
    • After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
  • To fill water containers, follow these steps:
    • Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water.
    • If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean.
    • If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water.
    • Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger.
    • Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it.
  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.


Not to challenge FEMA, but if you have some water that may contain bacteria because it was stored in a used milk jug, at least you have some water. From here proper filtering and purification methods can make it drinkable. Or, you could still use the water for purposes other then consumption such as:

  • Water a Garden
  • Flush Toilets
  • Washing Clothes

It brings up the old quote:

Some water is better than no water at all.

Today, there are numerous products of bottled water. Some have been harvested from a clean spring, some is city water and some has been purified. Check your sources. Unopened bottled water makes excellent storage supply. Make note of the expiration dates and rotate them out. 

Other considerations on storing water in bottles and jugs:

If you wanted to store water for other uses (sanitation, water gardens, etc.) then used milk jugs could work for that. In this case, the following guidelines can be followed:

  • Remember to mark the jugs as non-drinkable.
  • There are different kinds of lids for plastic jugs. Some are held on by pressure and these are not reliable. Try to find those that screw on. If that means that you pay more for milk, do so for a while until you get a good collection.
  • Since plastic jugs are not meant to last forever, they may not make good jugs for storing liquids. However, they can be very useful in storing powders and dry goods.
  • If you store laundry powder in a plastic jug, you will likely have less spilled (wasted) detergent and it will be more likely to stay dry than if it is left in the box. Also, it may be easier to pour from a jug than to scoop it from a box.
  • Other dry goods store well in plastic jugs such as grains, salt, and other foods.
  • Another use of a plastic jug is to cut it to make a make-shift funnel.
  • These jugs have lots of uses and a good supply of them could be a welcome sight someday.
  • Jugs are great containers to make ice with. Once frozen, they can be cut open to remove the ice. If you don't want to destroy the jugs, they can be used to chill a cooler by inserting them in the cooler with the food. If you put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the cooler, the ice will be much more effective in keeping things really cold.
  • If you store liquid in plastic jugs of any kind for any length of time, be sure to monitor them for leaks as well as to provide a clean path for the water to flow should they leak.

Caution: Do not store edible foods or liquids in non-food jugs, such as those used for bleach, oil or antifreeze.

Bucket - A bucket represents a portable water storage device. If you have advanced warning that you may lose water pressure, you can fill all of your buckets. If you can buy or collect lids for the buckets that you own, it will help protect the water that you store in them.

Can/Bottle/Bucket Opener - Some bottles, buckets and cans cannot be opened unless you have an opener. In the old days these were readily available in places like motel rooms or on the handles of ice chests. There are substitutes that can be used but care should be used to ensure that no part of the glass is broken while being opened.

Drain Plug - If water ever were to be scare, the last thing you would want would be to have water leaking down the drain. Make sure you have an ample supply of drain plugs for all your sinks and tubs. Where possible, chain them to the faucet so they will not disappear. If you do not have a drain plug, a plastic sandwich bag works. However, use care that it does not get sent down the drain.

Drinking Fountain - There are several kinds of drinking fountains and if not used properly, they can all waste water. There are drinking fountains that not only supply a sip of water on demand but they also chill the water. These are designed such that even with the power off, the water may not be chilled but it still can be delivered.

There are also drinking fountains that connect to a hose bib. These are useful to provide water outside to those who might not otherwise get a  drink of clean water because it may not be convenient to go inside the house for a drink. If one is present, it will likely discourage the bad habit of getting a drink from a filthy garden hose.

An advantage of a drinking fountain is that it can provide an instantaneous drink of clean water without the need for a cup. This can prevent the spreading of germs via a shared cup.

One disadvantage of a drinking fountain is that there can be more water wasted than consumed when it is used.

Fire Hose/Hydrant - Most people have never used a fire hose and hydrant. They can be dangerous as they usually operate with a lot of pressure. Check with your local fire department to learn of the laws about citizens using them. Probably you will not be allowed to just hook up a fire hose and turn it on. However, if there are reasons that the fire department cannot get to you, it might be well for you to know how to use one. In rural areas, it may take a long time for fire trucks to arrive and in many cases, the local residents may have their own fire hoses. Any advanced training you can get could be helpful. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

If you live in an area that receives large quantities of snow, be sure to clear the area around your nearest hydrants so your house does not burn just because the fire department could not find the fire hydrant.

Fountain - If you have a fountain either inside or outside of your home, you can use the water that it contains. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Funnel - One of the most overlooked pieces of storage equipment just might be the funnel. Since funnels have numerous uses in many categories, they have their own page. Click Here to learn more about funnels.

Garden Hose - A garden hose is a common piece of preparedness equipment. Make sure you keep your hoses in good working order. Keep a hose repair kit on hand so you can repair a hose if needed.

In the winter, make sure that each hose is properly drained before the first freeze so they can be used on a moment's notice if needed. If you do wind up with a hose that is frozen solid, plan ahead before its use and put it in the bathtub so it can warm up and be drained. But don't wait for your house to catch on fire before you try to clear out a frozen hose. If there is hot water in the tub, it will speed up the thawing process.

If you leave a hose hooked up to a hose bib that is connected to the house and that hose bib leaks, chances are that you will get a frozen block of ice that follows that leak back into the wall of the house. It can then break the pipe and cause a leak. This can be avoided by disconnecting the hose before the freezing weather arrives.

A good way to store a hose is to completely drain & dry it and then connect both ends together. This can prevent the hose from filling up with water from an outside source. It can also prevent unwanted critters from building nests inside the hose during extended periods of non-use. Consider storing an unused, clean hose.

Hose End Cap - A hose end cap is a small cap that screws on the end of a garden hose. It can be useful to terminate a set of hoses that have been connected together in series (as soaker hoses are). It can also be used to screw onto a hose bib (in non-freezing weather) to ensure that there are no drips of precious water lost.

Hose Nozzle - A hose nozzle can be used to control the flow of water from a garden hose. The use of these over just letting water run when it is not being used can help save water.

Jar - Jars with lids make good water storage containers. If you do not have a lid, use a plastic sandwich bag and a rubber band.

Pan - A pan is a useful piece of water equipment because it can hold water. It is best to use pans that are made of stainless steel or aluminum so they will not rust. Wide brim, shallow pans can be quite useful in collecting rainwater. A pan would usually be thought of as a temporary water storage container, such as for when you need to store water shortly before losing water pressure.

Pipes - The pipes in your home contain water that is probably OK to consume. To get the water out of the pipes, put a clean pot or bucket under the lowest faucet in the house. Then open the cold water faucet and also open another cold water faucet. Note: the hot water pipes will need to be harvested in conjunction with the Water Heater. See that section below. After the Water Heater has been  drained, repeat these steps using the hot water faucets.

Rain Barrel - In the old days, most homes had rain barrels. The alternative for them was to have to haul water from the river. Today we may be somewhat spoiled because if we turn on the tap and no water comes out, we just might not have any water.

Rain barrels can be any size or made of whatever you want. The best ones might be plastic because they should not leak as much as wooden ones. However, plastic rain barrels will last longer if they are not exposed to the sun so cover them with black plastic or something to keep them shaded.

If you plan ahead and at least own rain barrels, you may have a chance to let Mother Nature supply your family with water the next time it rains. They work best when they are placed under downspouts that collect the rain that falls anywhere on the roof.

Be sure to have a way to keep debris out of your rain barrel. If you have a hose bib at the bottom of it, you can easily transport the water to anywhere a hose will reach. But if you do not have a hose bib, either a siphon hose or a water pump can be useful to harvest the rainwater you have collected. Consider placing your rain barrel higher than wherever you may use it so gravity will be all that is necessary to move it. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Check your state laws on this issue. At least one state has a law against collecting rainwater. There are surely way too many laws in our great land.

Rain Gutter - Rain gutter can be a helpful piece of water equipment to direct rainwater to a downspout that has a rain barrel under it. Also, extra pieces of rain gutter can be useful around the yard in directing water. Besides that, they can be used to make sure water does not fall on places where you may not want it to.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) System - This a complicated water purification system that is commonly installed in homes. It does produce very clean water, but a drawback is that it discards water in the process of cleaning water. You need to make sure that you capture the discarded water and find a use for it. If nothing else, you can always flush a toilet with it. It also takes a while for an RO System to produce clean water.

Rubber Hose Washer - This consists of a small piece of rubber that fits inside the female portion of a hose connection. It is necessary to prevent leaks at the hose connection. Since they wear out on occasion and are cheap to buy ahead of time and easy to store, consider getting a few of them. There may be times in your future when you really do not want to waste even one drop of good water.

Siphon Hose - This is a hose that can be used to drain liquid from a tank, barrel or bucket. It is used as follows:

  • Insert one end of the tube into the liquid
  • Insert the other end of the tube into your mouth and blow until bulbbles surface in the liquid
  • Suck on the tube, but be careful to not get any liquid in your mouth
  • Lower the end of the tube to a point lower than the top of the liquid
  • The liquid will seek its own level and begin  to trickle out of the tube.

Still - A still can be useful to purify water. All that is needed is a heat source and some tubes and a couple of containers. One container holds the "dirty" water. The heat source is applied to this container and then the water evaporates and the water vapor travels up a tube to a cooling area where it is cooled and the water vapor returns to liquid which then drops into a clean container. Depending on the heat source this can be costly in fuel and/or take a long time.


Click Here to learn How to Make a Solar Still

Swimming Pool - If you have a swimming pool, you have several thousand gallons of water right on your property. Make sure you have hoses and buckets that will work with no electricity so you can harvest this water if needed. Be careful if you water the lawn or garden because of the chemicals that may be in swimming pool water. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Swimming Pool Filter - For those who are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool filter, you need to recognize that it can help clean water. Whether you have a full size backyard pool or a smaller above ground pool, your filter can be your friend. The use of the filter, coupled with the normal pool chemicals and a test kit can help you obtain water that is cleaner than it could be. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Toilet Tank - Most homes have toilets that store water in a small tank attached to the back of the toilet. This water is not sewer water (yet) but it should not be used for drinking as is. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Trough - Usually animals have a trough or some other container from which to drink. If you live in the cold country, you need to have a way to keep their water liquid during winter. There are electric heaters that make this easy, but what if you do not have electricity? Can you put hot rocks in the trough to keep it warm? Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Tube - The kind of tube referred to here is the kind called surgical tubing. It can withstand high temperatures and still not melt. Likewise, it can withstand low temperatures and it will still be flexible.

There is no limit to the uses of tubes for various liquids. They are not expensive and it would be a good idea to get one big roll or several lengths of tubing. Try to collect several different sizes. Some pinch clamps could be helpful too.

Water Barrel - The kind of water barrel that works well for water storage is in sizes of 15 or 30 or 55 gallons. Usually they are made of polyethylene plastic and have a closed lid on top. There is a hole in the top with a threaded cap. Through this hole, you can insert a tube to withdraw the water. It is a good idea to keep all of the tubes and pumps needed to remove water close by the barrels so they can be found when needed. Be sure to dry & store tubes and pumps in clean containers because the last thing you would want to do if you ever do need the water in a barrel is to use it to clean the equipment that is used to remove the water.

Be careful to store these water barrels in the upright position. They can be stacked in this manner. However, on their side, if they are stacked, they can collapse.

Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Water-bed - You might already have a nice supply of water right beneath your pillow, that is if you have a water-bed. Be sure that you have the right kind of equipment needed to harvest water from it. Water from this source should be purified prior to drinking.

Water Heater - Most homes are equipped with either a solar, gas or electric water heater. Besides being a good source in which to store water, they, of course can be used to heat water.

Most water heaters have a thermostat that lets you select the desired temperature of the water. If your fuel supply is limited or you are under financial constraints, consider reducing this temperature. If there are times when you will be gone and not using any hot water, you can save by turning this down real low. The drawback is that once you return, you will need to turn it back up and wait a while before you will have hot water. Depending on the source of heat for your water heater and the amount of time you are gone, the savings could be significant.

Most water heaters are always storing at least 30 or more gallons of water. Most water heaters have a hose bib at the bottom of the tank and can be drained through a garden hose. Be sure that you have a garden hose that has never been in the yard or garden so it will not contaminate clean water. Just store an extra hose near the water heater. Make sure it is completely dry inside and then hook both ends together to keep unwanted critters out.

Caution: Be sure to turn off the heat source to your water heater before you drain it.

Also, if the reason that you need to drain the water heater is because your main supply of water is contaminated, be sure to turn off the pipe that brings that water into your home.

You may have to open a hot water faucet at a sink to allow air to replace the water in the tank.

Water Pump - Water pumps can come in many varieties, depending on the planned usage for them. There are the following kinds of water pumps in different sizes:

  • Bicycle powered water pump
  • Electric fountain pump
  • Hand water pump
  • Solar powered water pump
  • Windmill

Make sure that you have spare parts that can be used to repair your water pumps. That includes spare pipe and the tools needed to fix things.

Water Shutoff Wrench - Your home probably has some way to shut off the water supplied by your water company. You should locate the valve and make sure that you have the correct kind of wrench (key) to turn it on and off. Teach your family members how to do this.

If you leave town on an extended trip, turn the water off before it enters your home. That way if a pipe were to burst inside your home while you are gone, you would not have a flood when you return home.

Water Spigot - This also known as a hose bib. Leaky hose bibs can waste precious, expensive water. It is a good idea to keep all of your hose bibs in good repair and you might consider storing spares so you can repair one if you can't go buy one. Hose bibs can be used in rain barrels or other water storage containers to allow for the controlled delivery of water.

Water Sport Purification Bottle - These were, at first, made for athletes, but today you are likely to see them everywhere. They can be purchased with screw on lids, built in straws and even convenient handles. Some even have built-in filters. However you use one, they make excellent portable water storage containers. This is very handy if you have a source of water and need to purify it.

To see a Water Sport Purification Bottle , try this link:

Water Tank/Tower - Most people do not have access to or control the water tank or tower from which their water comes. However, there are people who do have a water tank or tower. For our purposes, just consider a water tower to be a water tank on stilts.

Keeping this full and clean and liquid will be important to be as prepared as possible. Also consider having repair parts on hand to fix what might break on the tank. Make sure you understand how to get the water out of the tank in case the primary method were to fail.

Water Test Kit - There are test kits that can tell you how clean water is. Since there may be times when you may not have the services of a city to provide clean water, you may be on your own. Obtain one of these test kits and learn how to use it. 

To see some Water Test Kits, try these links:

Watersafe Home Drinking Water Test, Lead, Bacteria


Well - For millennia people have retrieved good clean water from a well. If you have access to a well, consider yourself lucky. If you properly manage your well you can have clean water upon demand. Make sure you understand how to test the well to ensure it produces clean water. Make sure you have alternate ways in which to pump water from the well. For example, if you have an electric pump on your well and you lose electricity, use one of the following to pump water from the well:

  • Battery powered pump
  • Bicycle to power a pump
  • Bucket and a rope on a crank
  • Generator to power the pump
  • Hand pump
  • Solar pump
  • Windmill to pump the water

Some of these may require some planning ahead of time. But that is why this website is called "Prepare For Latertm"

For more info on how to purify any of the water sources on this page, Click here for the Water - Purification link.

Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc.

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