Tired of Rotating Your Water All the Time? Me Too.

Storing water is a huge part of every emergency plan. As we have discussed on this blog before, you've got to have water and preferably a lot of it.

But storing a lot of water presents a major problem: Rotation.

As most of you know, water is very heavy. It weighs a little more than 8 lbs per gallon. To put that into perspective, your 55 gallon water barrel when completely full, weighs more than 450 lbs. Yikes! That is a back ache waiting to happen if you try to move it. And getting the water out of it to rotate can be just as difficult.

Keep in mind that untreated water that is stored in a cool area away from direct sunlight in opaque containers needs to rotated at least annually. Some municipalities do a good job of treating their drinking water and so it might extend that shelf life, but as a general rule, water stored in that way, should be rotated annually.

But rotating water is a pain. You and I both know that it doesn’t happen as often as it should. With that in mind, let me give you a few suggestions to help with water rotation. Hope they help:

1.When you store water use a Water Preserver
Water Preserver is designed to treat up to 55 gallons of water and extends the shelf of the water to 5 years! I’ll take 5 years over 1 year any day. In all of your storage containers use a Water Preserver to extend the shelf life and not have to rotate as often.

2.Store water in smaller containers
A 5-gallon stackable water container will be slightly more expensive up front, but you will rotate the water much more easily and as a result much more often. It's definitely worth the cost.

3.Buy a siphon pump
I have an inexpensive siphon pump that works awesome. It screws into the top of my 55 gallon water barrel and once it is primed that water just keeps on flowing. It makes emptying my barrel so much easier and as a result, I rotate more often.

4.Keep you water storage in a place where it is easy to rotate the water
Have a drain close by or access to the outside where you can dump your water and easily replenish it with new water.

What advice do you have?
Comment below to tell us what you've found helpful in rotating your water storage. Help others prepare!

12 thoughts on “Tired of Rotating Your Water All the Time? Me Too.”

  • Brandon

    Thanks! quick question, I am saving to buy a 55 gallon barrel...when I get it do I have to do anything before filling it up, like sanitation, and how do you sanitize the barrel. Also, Should I put filtered water in it or do you just fill it up with the garden hose...I'm just getting started doing this.

    • TheReadyExpert

      If you are using a brand new 55 gallon barrel that wasn't holding another food item or liquid before, then simply rinsing it out is all that needs to be done. If there was some food item in it prior to that, you will need to wash it out with soap and warm water. It is best to repeat that process twice in order to insure that you have cleaned the barrel adequately.

  • Brandon

    Thanks, one more quick question...how do you suggest filling up a 55 gal. new drum? should I just go with a regular garden hose, or I was thinking I could figure out a way to possibly get a filter on the hose to make sure the water was pure...what would you do?

  • Pat B.

    In answer to Brandon's question:

    You can purchase a food grade hose at most home improvement stores and run it safely from a clean faucet to your storage container. I would run water through it for a few seconds to flush any dust that may have collected in the ends while it was sitting on the shelf.

    In my opinion, you do not need to pre-filter the tap water going into the storage container as it will likely not remove much, if any, contaminents and what it does remove, is safe to drink anyway as it is coming right from the tap.

    Don't forget to add the water treatements so you only have to go through this process once every five (5) years.

    I have three 55 gallon, food grade, new drums. When I recieved them, I added a couple of gallons of hot water and a couple of dollops of chlorox (unscented) bleach. I then sealed up the barrels and rolled them around my back yard to make sure the solution got on all the surfaces and let it sit for an hour. I then rinsed a few times and that was it.


  • kim

    I have 2 330 gal water storage containers. I've read numerous articles and am wondering if by burying them would it help with longevity? I have hydro powered pump for filling/emptying. Would I still need to treat water?

  • Steve

    There is a lot of information on this site about the need to rotate stored water. This is important because microorganisms can grow and multiply in the stored water over time. But what if you do not intend to drink the stored water directly? What if instead you just use your stored water as a ready reserve of reasonably clean water that you will filter and treat with water-purification tablets before using the stored water as potable water? Is water rotation really necessary under this type of plan?

  • Preppermom

    Why is it necessary to rotate water? Couldn't we just retreat it? If we can make stagnant pond water drinkable, why would we drain 55 gallon barrels of water that we stored?

  • Bev

    Walmart has a filter for your garden hose People who have a RV use it We used the filter to fill up our containers then used a water preserver

  • mark

    Am wondering also why we cannot retreat and use a filter purifier for the water stored more than the 5 year term when using treatment recommended? Didn't see an answer. Appreciate thoughts on this. Thx!

  • Bryan

    My big question is when I dump out the water that I've stored for a year, do I need to clean out the barrels again with bleach and such, or can I just refill with municipal water?

    What is the correct and exact process for doing the rotation?
    1) Empty old water out.
    2) Dry out container ? (Needed)?
    3) Re-treat container with bleach? (Needed)?
    4) Fill again with municipal water.


  • Craig Wiedder

    Hi Bryan. You have got to be kidding! How are we supposed to dry out a 55 gallon barrel thru a couple of 2" holes? Lets re-propose the question: Assuming the barrel is drained upside down for a few days, what product should be used to properly clean and sanitize the barrel before it is refilled? It would seem that a standardized procedure should be followed. In lieu of a more informed opinion, I have been swishing around a gallon of household bleach in about five gallons of fresh water, then rinsing. We are looking to you for an informed opinion, based upon expert information.

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