Water--recycle old hot water heaters--free from plumbers

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From a letter in Oct 1977 Organic Gardenign and Farming.

". . .I'm surprised that you overlooked one of the safest, cheapest and easiest ways to water your garden. Take an old hot-water heater (plumbers give them away), and remove the outside shell. Set the inside tank 4-6" above the ground, and place a funnel in the top. You already have a drain faucet on the bottom. When it rains you're in business. Children can't tip them over or drown in them. We have three 40-gallon tanks in our garden, so we're never short of water. It's also handy for washing hands or fresh vegetables. Mrs. Michael Buck, Peoria, Illinois."

Typed up by

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 17, 1999



Thanks for the great idea. Remember, however, why they are "old" and "free" - they leaked. Probably easy to fix since it won't have to hold up to propane/gas flame or maybe only the element went out on electric models...just thinking.


-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), April 17, 1999.

You kept issues of a magazine from 1977? Archiving periodicals takes a lot of work, not to mention space in one's home. I'll bet you kept your old National Geographics, too.

-- Wallflower (y2kwallflr@aol.com), April 17, 1999.

What a good idea....we have some old water heaters on the place. I appreciate your input and look forward to reading your posts. Thanks!

-- Old Gramma (Gotitincalif@webtv.net), April 17, 1999.

Kristi, good point. If all you can find is a burned out one, maybe it can be fixed with that epoxy putty stuff--used it to cement back my railings into the brick, worked like the proverbial.

Wallflower - nope, son found ton of old Organic Gardenings at a garage sale, got them for me, figuring I could use them re Y2k. Don't have a National Geographic in the house, never have unless friend dropped one by with a "must read" command. Mother was a terrible packrat, hence I'm opposite. SON is now a terrible pack rat. . . But he doesn't live at home, so no problem.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 17, 1999.

I have been considering using one as a water filteration unit.

Still in the cranial stage, but I think it would work pretty well.

Got lots going for it since was orginally designed for H2O storage anyway. Thinking about adding peagravel, charcoal, etc. could even run a store bought filter from the tap on the bottom. First things first. Just about done with my dehydrator project.

-- spun@lright (mikeymac@uswest.net), April 17, 1999.

Old Git; Don't forget to mention that those old water heaters can be used for kerosene storage / diesel fuel. Besides water from the gutters.

It's just a matter of removing the lower heating element and cleaning out the bottom of the cast iron tank. Of all the calcium and rust. It does take a little time but it works. I took my 40 gal. tank down to the ccar wash and hosed it out with high pressure water and suds, then rinsed and let air dry for two days. I did make sure the bottom drain was open, and watched all the crap come out until clear.

Like one of the posts said, How's going to check old water heaters for fuel ??? I also found used well bladder tanks work well for water storage,as long as there's a bottom plate to remove and cleanout the tank of rust and sediment.

By the way how far are You from Murphy?


-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), April 17, 1999.

Good thinking, Furie. But does anyone know how combustibles fare in high tenps? I wonder if we'd see a "launching" in our hot NC summers!

I don't think we're anywhere near Murphy, don't know where it is. We're in Durham--until/unless we sell the house. (Am very busy tarting up the yard, front and back, with flowering plants and pine bark nuggets for the DGI buyers!)

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 18, 1999.

Old GIT - love that "tarting" up the front yard - rofl

Anyone know if a water heater can be converted into one of those wood burning ones. Know they sell just the firebox (for under) wondered if you could get away with using an old cleaned out waterheater for top.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 18, 1999.

how do you place the water heater 4- 6 inches off the ground? is it laying on its side? can someone give me an idiot's visual here. I can't picture how this works.

thanks pamela ;)

-- pamela (pamela4@hotmail.com), April 18, 1999.

Pamela, I think they mean stick it upright on bricks or cement blocks or something like that.

"Tarting up" is a Britishism. Comes in very useful. Easier to say than "Martha Stewarting."

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 18, 1999.

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