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You need water to drink, to cook, for hygeine and for growing food. Where can you get it and how can you be assured it is clean and drinkable?

Whole House Water Supply

By Rod Hatcher posted December 18, 2017

The safest place to get water is from the well in your yard that supplies it now. This is a short article on how to integerate a 50 gallon drum into your existing house water supply system and use gravity to supply water for drinking, cleaning and hygiene.

It assumes you have a two story house with sinks, toilets, water tank and heater tank on the first floor. Total cost was about $150 and one weekend.

Fittings Layout

Plan, purchase and layout the PCV components. The top two rows attach to the drum. The two hose fittings between the second and bottom rows are for the connecting hose. The bottom row is tapped into the house plumbing.The installation assumes PVC is used in the house but copper to PVC fittings are also readily available.

Drum Plumbing

Plumb the 50 gallon drum as per the picture. Add a length of water hose that will reach from the second floor to the cold water line of the existing plumbing.

Drum Cradle

Build a wood cradle so that the drum can lie horizontally.  Place the cradle and drum on the second floor where the house cold water line can readily be accessed on the first floor. Drill a hole large enough to fit the hose fitting underneath the hose fitting that is pointing down.

Plumbing Upstairs

Orient the drum as shown and feed the hose to the first floor. A rubber drip mat has been added under the fittings.

Plumbing Downstairs

Add the bottom row of fittings in the first picture to a straight section of the cold water side of the house plumbing. Connect the hose from the second floor.

Fill the drum from the internal water system by opening the lower valve, closing the upper valve on the drum. Be sure the upper vent line is open. Then open the valve that controls the water from the pressurized cold water line. This will fill the drum.

The drum can be filled via the vent line when there is no electric grid power to pressurize the the house pressure tank. This is done by installing a manual secondary pump to the well pump cap and connecting a long water hose from the manual pump to the vent fitting.

The water drum is put into use by closing the valves to isolate the water system from the pressure tank, hot water heater, and any second floor sinks and toilets. Then opening the lower valve on the water drum and opening the vent cap. Gravity will feed first floor sinks and refill the toilets. While not as fast as a presurized system, it is more than adequate to due the job of supplying water.