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3 Things You Need to Know About Water Barrels

June 11, 2013 | 12 comment(s)

WS- Water Barrel Trio copy
*pictured above 55 gallon, 30 gallon, and 15 gallon tanks

Water storage containers vary in their size, color, shape, versatility and quality. We have specifically chosen our 15, 30, 55, and 160 gallon water barrels based on several criteria. These criteria include the following:

Size. It is recommended by preparedness experts to have at least 14 gallons of water stored per person. This provides one gallon of water a day for two weeks. Our 15 Gallon Water Barrel provides one person with this minimum amount. Our 30 Gallon Water Barrel provides this minimum amount for two; 55 Gallon Water Barrel the minimum for four people; and our 160 gallon tank stores the minimum amount for about eleven people.

Color. Most people would think that blue would indicate water and it generally does. You may want to mark your barrel indicating “Water” so in case of a fire or similar natural disaster, emergency personnel know that water is being stored in it and not a flammable material. Gasoline and other fuel should only be stored in red containers. The blue barrel’s dark color also restricts light and helps prevent algae growth.

Quality. Our water barrels are high quality, offering ultimate reliability and integrity. These barrels are manufactured with prime resin and FDA-approved, high-molecular-weight, high-density polyethylene. They are BPA free and the 160 gallon Water Reserve is UV coated to prevent light penetration.

Single Blue Angled_ccs

*160 gallon tank

As a reminder, it is recommended not to store your filled water barrel directly on cement. It is wise to use an insulating barrier, such as wood, between the barrel and cement to prevent accidental absorption of concrete fumes or trapped stagnant odors. It is recommended to rotate the water annually (using a drinking water safe hose).

Purchasing a quality water barrel is a wise investment. When choosing water storage containers remember that not all barrels are built the same.

This post was posted in Insight, Water Storage


  • Charles Askren  |  April 20, 2014

    15 or 30 gal drums $?

  • beprepared  |  April 21, 2014

    Hi Charles,
    A 15 gallon barrel costs $59.95. A 30 gallon barrel costs $69.95. However, both are on sale this month (April 2014). Check out the sale prices here http://beprepared.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=barrel.

  • Richard Williams  |  May 11, 2014

    I have a Blue 55 gal. Barrel (a different brand) which I use for catching Rain. However, if water is left in it for a month or so, the water turns stagnant and smells terrible. How do I store water without this happening ?

  • beprepared  |  May 14, 2014

    Hey Richard,
    First, check the bottom of the container to ensure it is a food grade plastic (#2 plastic). Then after gathering water, store it sealed and covered. Also, treat the water with a water conditioner like Aquamira that you can find here http://beprepared.com/aquamira-chlorine-dioxide-water-treatment.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1243. This should help with the issue. If not, give us a call at 1-800-999-1863 to talk with one of our customer service representatives for more options.

  • Mike  |  June 3, 2014

    Do barrels like these or smaller jugs like the 5 gal Aquatainers need to be washed, rinsed, or cleaned before use? Also, should I fill them to the brim or leave some space for longer term storage?

  • beprepared  |  June 4, 2014

    Hi Mike!
    Yes, you do need to wash or rinse out the barrel before you use it. There also is a fill line on each water storage container we sell, so make sure you are filling it up to that line. You don't want to fill them all the way because of air pressure and potential freezing.

  • beprepared  |  June 6, 2014

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for your question. Our main concern is that the barrels were previously filled with something else. Since plastic often absorbs flavors of what's stored in them previously, that vinegar taste will remain in the water even after washing it multiple times. We suggest always buying brand new barrels that are food grade and have not had other things stored in them before. You might want to get rid of those barrels and buy new ones. To learn more about storing water, check out this article called "5 Myths about Water Storage" http://beprepared.com/blog/9182/5-myths-about-water-storage/

  • Sharon  |  June 6, 2014

    I purchased several white 55 gal barrels that had previously held vinegar. I rinsed several times, filled and let sit outside in the sun for several months and then rinsed again. I then filled and stored my water. I covered the barrels with dark garbage bags and they are kept in side a building. Is this method and will this water be safe when I need it? How can I obtain a test kit to check the water quality now?

  • Donna Casiday  |  June 23, 2014

    Will someone please tell me how much Aquamira or other similar product I need to use in a 55 gallon barrel?
    Thanks, Donna

  • beprepared  |  June 23, 2014

    Hey Donna,
    Aquamira is $14.95. Here's a link to the product http://beprepared.com/aquamira-chlorine-dioxide-water-treatment.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1305.

  • frank  |  July 27, 2014

    Can these barrels be stored in garage with paint cans and other usual garage type chemicals that might have a lid but have been opened? I heard that gas fumes can be absorbed by these barrels. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • beprepared  |  July 29, 2014

    Hi Frank,
    Thanks for your question. You are corrected about fumes being absorbed by plastics. So, if your garage has paint cans and other chemicals, it's not preferable to store them there because the chemicals can leach in and make the water unbearable to drink. Try storing your water barrel in your basement (if you have one/have the space) or store it outside with a barrel bag http://beprepared.com/barrel-bag.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1360 to protect it from sunlight and other outdoor elements. You can also look for barrels that have a seal inside that protects against absorption (for example, our 160 Gallon reserve is made of an enhanced plastice that's BPA free and non-permeable).

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