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Home Forums General Discussion How to keep rain water from freezing

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    Ok, this is probably silly, but I didn’t think about this in the summer when I got my two water barrels together, but along comes winter and…hmmmm… what to do, lol

    I’m looking to work my way off grid in the next years so this year started catching and using rain water for the garden. But as the weather turned colder I ran into the problem-how do I keep the water from freezing? I live in Pennsylvania and the barrels are currently above ground, uncovered. This summer I would like to get some larger water storage tanks (maybe a 250 gallon) but come winter, I will have the same problem.

    Do I need to bury the tank(s) and get some sort of hand pump to bring the water up for use?

    While I’m asking about water…I plan to use it this summer for clothes washing-does that need to be filtered? My room is asphalt shingle so not clean. I’m guessing some sort of sand filter should do-or does the water need to be potable for washing?



    Look up Jean Paine on the internet. He generated enough heat from composting mulched plant material to heat his house. Om a smaller scale you could place your water storage tank in the middel of a compost heap that insulates and perhaps evern heats the water slightly. Careful not to heat it too much because the warmth will encourage microbe organism that are present in the rainwater.

    Much depends on how much mulch you collect. when I lived back east close to Pensylvania climate I insulated my house foundation using bagged leaves.


    thanks. I would like to keep at least 500 gallons. My plan this summer is to get 2 500 gallon tanks. I will use the smaller barrels for catching (I might get more before spring) then have a sand filter in there somewhere before it goes to the storage tanks- 1 or 2 500 gals. At least that is my plan.

    I know I’ll have to get the water tested and might have to resort to some chlorine to kill the bugs then filter that out via charcoal. Again, at least that is the plan :-)

    I’m just wondering if I should try and get the big tanks underground. I would much prefer them above, as then I can gravity feed for a shower and such in later years. I’ll have to see what happens I suppose. I’m guessing 500 gallons might not freeze totally however-especially if I can get some sort of efficient compost heat near it.


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