Storing water in an air mattress? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've been thinking about an air mattress to store water. I haven't heard of anyone doing this, but I figure if they can hold air, they can hold water without leaking. As far as chemicals leeching into the water, I only plan to fill it with water for washing. My drinking water would be stored in food grade containers. An air mattress is a lot cheaper than one of those water bags advertised on the Net.

Is my plan a good idea? Am I missing something? Comments pro and con will be much appreciated. Love this forum!

-- Jay (, October 09, 1998


Simple way to find out. Buy one air mattress. Fill with water. Put it away. Check back, either in 6 months or when the floor gets wet. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, all you're out is about $20 for a single size mattress. Don't anticipate a major run on air mattresses between now and then, so you have time to check.

-- don nots (, October 09, 1998.

I don't understand why so keen on using punctureable bags. Why not buy some polythene buckets or storage crates? They stack when not being used so not a great waste of space; they're cheap; they don't spring leaks. (Clingfilm or aluminium foil will keep bugs out, or buy crates with lids).

-- Nigel Arnot (, October 09, 1998.

One thing you might be missing is the relative weight of water to air and the pressure on the electronic welds that hold the airmattress together. There will be a much greater pressure on the welds with water! Also, this is NOT going to be an easy item to re-position, as it will have a LARGE weight to it when full (consider that water weighs either 8 or 15 pounds per cu ft (I forget which is for gallon and which for cu ft).

The other things you might be missing are the filling and the emptying geometry for a bladder vs a hard container. If the bladder (air mattress, waterbed mattress, etc) lays on teh floor, it's gonna be VERY difficult to fill the pail you need to fill to flush the portapot, or to carry to the copper boiler for a Saturday night wash.

(And, yes, I DO have a copper boiler for MY saturday night washes POST-WHATEVER. Though bathing in one is only fun the first time in front of the fireplace, with a significant other of the correct gender! After the first time (which tends to take a LOT longer than you might expect!) it's just a kinda pain!)


-- Chuck a Night Driver (, October 09, 1998.

Just fill the bathtub on 12/31/1999. It'll hold more water, bathroom floors are (generally) reinforced to support the weight, and you don't have to worry about chemicals leeching into it so you might be able to drink it if necessary.

A cover can be rigged from a bedsheet & a few nails if you feel it necessary.

The air mattress can be stuffed into a bugout bag or put away for relatives who come visiting at the end of next year.

-- Larry Kollar (, October 09, 1998.

Jay, for storage of non-drinking water, why not consider NEW trash cans? At Wal-Mart you can buy a Rubbermaid 32 gallon can with lid for about $9. If the water is off for a long time, you can also place these in the yard to catch rain water. Then, after things get back to "normal" you can just use them as regular trash cans. No money lost.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, October 09, 1998.

As a native of Ky, now in Tn, I have a lot of trouble getting a handle on this water thing. We have more miles of streams than any other part of the US, and literally have a 'crick' every mile or so. Where are you folks from that water worries you so much? Shucks, our major worry is generally finding high ground if it rains hard for a couple days and we have flash flooding.

-- Paul Davis (, October 09, 1998.

My opinion on that Paul, if it matters.

First, city, suburb dwellers don't have that access to running water as though of us further out in the sticks do.

That water which is present in a more populated area, is expected to be much dirtier, and if sewage systems go down, potenitally deadly very quickly. (No water is immediately drinkable actually, but at least "country" water starts off cleaner and is easier to get ready to be purified.)

After purification, you need access to the water to use readily. That access (to the purified water) should be convenient without having to open doors and go outside (my mom used to have to go to the well in winter to get water) so the storage should be inside.

Also, water will be available in pure (drinkable form) certainly until 12/31/1999. So why not arrange storage (but not load it) now, then fill containers for ???? days usage in late Dec 1999.

If storing inside, where inside? If inside, how inside? That (I thinlk) are the questions thay are addressing.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 09, 1998.

Thank you all for the input. I forgot to make it clear that the reason I need very collapsible water storage containers, is that I live in a small apartment with not much room to store stuff. Thank you Robert Cook for picking up on that. And, yes I'll wait until December to fill it with tap water. My drinking water containers and food will take up all available space.

Chuck: You mentioned the pressure of the water being more that air. How much more? I mean, people sleep on air matresses so I figure the seams would be able to handle water... but I don't really know.

If you guys think a small air mattrss wouldn't work, then how about inflatable toys? I appreciate all your comments with pros and cons.

-- Jay (, October 09, 1998.


my recollection is that there are about 7.5 U.S. gallons (liquid) per cubic foot, and that at approximately 8 lbs per gallon, its about 60 pounds per cu ft. An air mattress that is 4 ft by 6 ft by 6 inches could hold over 700 pounds of water - you'd need to be a sumo wrestler to deal with it, move it and get the water out. Getting the water into it would also be a real trick, since I haven't seen an air mattress that comes with a standard hose connection - and then there is that brief moment when you've got to disconnect the filler tube and put the cap on it, and the filler cap falls out of your hand and rolls across the room. I'd recommend videotaping the whole event - you could sell the tape to that TV program on home videotapes.

-- Dan Hunt (, October 09, 1998.

Are you people really falling for this Jay and his air mattress bull? hahaha Then he asks about inflatable toys!! hahaha Why would anyone even consider doing that when there are so many other containers available. hahaha hahaha I can't beleive any of this!! Talk about gullible! hahahaha How about an inflatable doll? hahaha ROTFL

-- observer (, October 09, 1998.

We're discussing alternatives, give a solutiion.

Got plenty of time to find the perfect solution, got lots of time to point out problems with various possible solutions, got lots of time to listen to better solutions.

Haven't said the proposed solution is the best one of the different alternatives either.

But I can't hear your alternatives until you stop laughing.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 09, 1998.

How about a waterbed mattress? I know those are strong enough to hold water. If it is in a waterbed frame, then you can siphon the water out with a hose to flush toilets, wash with etc. Also under the waterbed is a good place to store things.


-- Sandra McGuire (, October 09, 1998.

if any out there work in factory, consider asking company about obtaining 55 gal durms, a friend of mine just got one open head from his company for FREE., all he did was ask. 3 more are to follow,,,free. I will store in plastic bag inside of drum after drum is sanitized. any suggestions on how to sanitize effectively? CAAUTION to waterbed storage (I have one) used to work for waterbed company, make sure bed is not fiber fill. discretely as friends who work fro factories what if they can get you any storage drum. also the garbage can idea is a good one. i also am obtaining those

-- waterthing (, October 09, 1998.

Robert Cook, Is it possible to store beans in plastic straws? Those don't take up much space! Could someone help me out here.

-- observer (, October 10, 1998.

This is the address of a water container site that includes various collapsable containmers. Check it out in your research. I have not ordered from them, but they have interesting product line.

-- Sara Nealy (, October 10, 1998.

To observer,

Didn't work, beans were too big (on average).

Peas were okay, once the straw was big enough. Discharge peas through opposite end of straw with rapid expulsion of breath. Prerequiste: aim straw at intended target before expulsion.

Not recommend if "mother paternal figures" are present, they don't like split peas.

Straws tend to roll in refrigerator, get squished. Since peas were out of the can, have to keep refrigerated (or use dried peas first.) If using dried peas, need more water to re-hydrate them. Wastes water, need more air mattresses. Therefore, use the water to re-hydrate freeze-dried beer.

Drink toast of beer to suggestionof using clean 55 gal drum with drain valve in lower bung hole. Reminder, elevate drum perhaps 15-18" to allow room to put container under the drum(s).

Refill re-hydrated freeze-dried beer container regularly.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 10, 1998.

Bung hole?

Do you mean observer? I mean, if the shoe fits...

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 10, 1998.

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