posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 12:56 PM
Certainly! In time of crisis or disaster, your hot water tank could prove to be one of the most useful sources of fresh, potable water. Filled
bathtubs could work as well, although the water won't maintain it's "freshness" for nearly as long but will suffice after boiling.
The important thing to realize is that in the event that your tap water becomes undrinkable, it will be important to SHUT OFF water service to your
hot water tank lest it becomes infected with the incoming water. To do this, you will NOT be able to use your tap at the sink as hot water is pushed
through the line by the pressure of the cold water return. You will need to use the drain tap at the base of the tank to empty it of it's contents.
I would still recommend boiling the water before use if it is older than 1 week in the tank as bacteria will begin to form in the water.
During the blackout of 2002 we lost power for almost 3 days and as a result, our local water station lost it's pump pressure which caused a backflush
into the system. 4 hours into the blackout we were alerted to boil our water before using. Even then, the water was coming out brown and stinky.
So, I shut down the cold water return to the tank and simply drained water from the tap at the base of the tank. This kept us in fresh water
throughout the duration of the blackout.
That being said, I wouldn't rely on your hot water tank for very long. 80 gallons sounds like alot of water, but it will go quickly if used for all
of your water needs. I filled my bathtubs for non-potable purposes... washing of dishes and utensiles, brushing teeth, cowboy showers etc... I also
keep 20 five-gallon carbuoys on hand as a backup. I rotate through those throughout the year to ensure than none is ever older than 6 months old.