How to Freeze-Proof Your Water Stockpile

by Tommy Grant

Finding out that most or all of your water stockpile has frozen in the middle of a grid down disaster will put you in a very precarious situation.

If you find yourself in the middle of a major disaster scenario in the middle of winter, it will be very important to ensure that all of your drinking and cleaning water remains thawed.

Why Frozen Water Is Bad

There are several reasons why discovering your stockpiled water has frozen will put you in a bad position.

While it’s easy to think that you can simply find ways to thaw the water out, the truth is that it’s more important to simply prevent your water from freezing in the first place.

Drinking Frozen Water Can Be Dangerous

Drinking ice or water that is extremely cold can lower your body temperature, which can put your health in a hazardous position depending on the circumstances.

Trying to eat ice in the middle of a winter without any heat to your home, for example, will be extremely dangerous and lead to shivering and perhaps even hypothermia.

Thawing Frozen Water Takes Time and Effort

How to Freeze-Proof Your Water StockpileEven in the middle of a thick winter, it will still be possible to thaw frozen water.

For example, you could get a fire going and then hold a pot of ice over the fire until the ice melts.

Related: How To Dig A Native American Dakota Fire Hole

But this will require a significant amount of time and effort on your part. You will be much better served by taking action to prevent your water from being frozen versus thawing frozen water out.

Frozen Water Can Be Risky and Destructive

It’s a simple scientific fact that water expands slightly when it reaches a frozen state.

If you have water stored in water bottles or barrels, for example, this could potentially cause the bottles or barrels to crack or even burst in certain areas, throwing your water supply into jeopardy.

How Can You Keep Your Water From Freezing?

The good news is that there are multiple strategies that you can use to keep your water from freezing.

Most preppers and survivalists are likely going to store their water in large storage containers or barrels outside. This is simply because most people lack adequate space in their home or garage to store water.

However, water stored outside is always more at risk of becoming frozen if you live in a cold climate, and ensuring your water remains in its liquid form needs to be a top priority for you for the big reasons we cited above.

Here are the best strategies you can use to keep your water from freezing:


How to Freeze-Proof Your Water StockpileThe simplest way to keep water stored in a barrel or container from freezing is insulation. There are several ways you can accomplish this, including:

  • Use foam to cover the water barrels or containers, which will help shield the water from the outside hot or cold elements.
  • Surround your containers or barrels with aluminum foil or a reflecting wrapping of some sort, which will reflect the heat back into the container. This is not something you should do in warm environments, but in colder temperatures it’s very effective.
  • Surround your containers or barrels with Mylar or thermal blankets, which will help the water retain warmth similarly to how they would preserve your body heat if you wrap yourself in one.
  • You should also be able to find insulation covers that are made specifically to wrap around water containers. Most are made out of either silicone or neoprene.

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The best thing about the insulation method, beyond its effectiveness, is how simple it is.

Once you’ve successfully insulated your water containers, you shouldn’t need to do any ongoing maintenance other than checking up on the water quality and making sure the insulation materials are still in good shape periodically.

Wrap Your Water Pipes With Heat Tape

You could find yourself in a disaster scenario in the middle of a freezing winter but where the water pipes are still flowing with water and you can still get tap water.

Nonetheless, it’s very possible in this scenario that your water pipes will freeze.

Try to wrap as much of the exterior of your water pipes as you can with heat tape. This will, at the very least, slow the rate at which water in your freezes.

Use A Water Heater

Another viable method to keep your water from freezing is to use a water heater. One of the best types of water heaters to go with is a submersible water heater that can be safely placed into the water. The heater will then warm up a conductive element and heat the water.

Submersible water heaters should be far cheaper than purchasing a water heater that is designed to heat your water from the outside and to be positioned under the container or barrel.

The only problem with a water heater is that it will cease to work in the event of a power outage in a grid down scenario.

Even if you’re off-grid and able to generate your own power, it’s still wise to invest in insulation materials as a backup.

In short, you never want your emergency water supply to freeze in any circumstances. Frozen water will be dangerous not only to your health but also carries a risk of damaging your barrels and containers.

Furthermore, thawing out frozen water will always require more time and effort than taking action to prevent your water from freezing in the first place.

Each time you purchase a new container or barrel meant for water storage, make sure that you purchase enough insulation materials or a water heater to go with it.

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