Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

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Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby hakachukai » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:04 pm

I'm trying to figure out what I can use to store a bunch of hot water. Something in the 30 to 50gal range

It does not need a top, because I'm using it for gravity fed water systems. (I'll build some kind of top for it)

This is what I do need. I need it to NOT do two things:

#1. I need it to not rust, rot or degrade
#2. I need it to not pollute or poison the water in anyway.

So here is what I've checked out so far:

Plastic. (easy and cheap, but leaches plastic into the water)
Galavenized steel. (contains lead, and I think it does eventually rust)
Stainless Steel. I already know from experience will rust (I have stainless pots that rust if I forget to dry them)
Aluminum. (Leeches into the water and eventually causes Alzeihmers)
Copper. (would cost a fortune)
Glass. (glass would be perfect, except I can't find anything that big, and I bet it would cost a lot)

Is there maybe some type of a coating that I could paint on the inside of a steel barrel that would protect the barrel, and also not leech into the hot water?

Thanks in advance for the help and ideas :)
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby greenspree » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:36 am

Why not use a hot water tank?
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby hakachukai » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:03 am

Because I was told that they have an inner lining made of glass.

I need my tank to be open, so that means cutting into it. If it is true that they are lined with glass, then cutting into it would probably shatter the glass protective layer.

According to this, they use some kind of enamel that is baked on at 1600 DegF

I have a water heater down stairs that I'm going to cut open and have a look.

As a side note, I found out that glass is easier to melt than I thought.
So I'm starting experiments with coating metal with molten glass. It is pretty easy to do. The only issue is that the glass cracks when it cools, because the metal and glass contract (during cooling) at different rates.
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby corrado33 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:15 pm

because the metal and glass contract (during cooling) at different rates.

So put whatever you're working with in a temperature controlled oven, start the temp high, then slowly turn the temperature down over a period of time.

On a side note: You could always use food safe water storage (they look like) trash cans. This isn't the one I was thinking of but it's very similar.

There ARE food/water safe storage bins out there, you just have to find them. If it's ok for commerical/restuarant use, it's ok for you. ;)

BTW: There are different types of stainless steel. Some are more corrosion resistant than others. If you scratch it there is a higher chance it'll rust. You could always look into getting high quality stainless that won't rust.
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby Scodiddly » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:25 am

Old beer kegs, or soda kegs (aka Cornelius kegs) are a pretty good grade of stainless. Your rusting stainless pots are probably not as good as this stuff.
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby CaptnAwesome » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:00 am

This probably stopped being relevant 4 months ago when he asked, but for everyone else...

I forget which alloy, but, buy food-grade stainless. But it, maybe used, as a big sheet and then coil it into a tube, weld a top and bottom onto it.

All stainless will rust under some conditions. Inconel is a ridiculously expensive alternative (more corrosion resistant, used in ocean environments). They make water towers and breweries out of stainless tubes, so, I think it'll be fine.

Galvanized steel doesn't have lead in it, as far as I know. However, unlike stainless which is stainless solid all the way through, galvanized steel is just normal cheap steel coated with a sacrificial layer of zinc. Metalurically it's ordinary steel with a slight chemical paint job. It eventually wears or abrades off, and then you have normal mild steel underneath (rust factory). Also, heating anything galvanized is deadly, zinc fumes are highly toxic and lead to delusions and organ failure almost immediately. Nasty stuff.

Beer kegs I thought were usually made out of aluminum. Soda containers are indeed stainless but only a few gallons each.

Don't be stupid and use glass. It's fragile and your chances of blowing your own massive glass tank and then having it cool without microfractures is next to nill. My guess is you'd end up wasting most of your time.

Copper is 100x the price of steel. Brass slightly less (and will cost you less because it can be thinner, using less metal since it's stronger). Interestingly, both kill germs after a few minutes (for example, on doorknobs). Neither are a good idea for water tanks though, way too expensive.

The link between aluminum and Alzheimer's has not been proven, or even demonstrated. IIRC the one study that was done was found to have slight increases of Alzheimer's relative to the normal population, but there was no control group and the group affected was old people (who are likely to develop it anyway). Aluminum doesn't generally corrode, it has a self-sacrificial surface layer of aluminum oxide (aluminum rust). However unlike oxidized iron (rust), aluminum oxide is one of the harder materials known to man and doesn't flake and dissolve, and it's also self-repairing. If any gets scraped off, as soon as the new pure alum surface touches air, the oxygen bonds to it and creates a new protective layer. Aluminum will be 2-3 more expensive than stainless though.

Plastic is simple and easy, I'd just go with plastic if you're not doing long-term storage. Housing pipes are all plastic now-a-days. Storage tanks are only not-plastic if they need to be structurally strong and impact resistant for some reason. Yes, some types of plastic leach chemicals into the water, so, use food-grade plastics (standard Rubbermaids might even be the right type). The bigger danger with chemical plastic is if the water is sitting there for long periods of time. Then, large amounts of chemicals will have leached into a small amount of water. So, don't get a huge tank and then fill it once a year. Get a medium tank and fill/drain it once a month or more. Also, the bigger the tank, the safer, because the surface area:volume ratio will be smaller. That is, don't stack up 500 water bottles. There's lots of surface area relative to the water. If you were to make them one big bottle, you'd cut away all the internal bits and leave only the perimeter. Plastic's only dangerous if you drink only storebought, handheld bottled water, where there's high surface area, and it's been sitting for many months each.
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Re: Cheap, simple, healthy hot water storage tank

Postby corrado33 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:22 am

I didn't realize he started the thread 4 months ago ;)

Thanks for the very informative post though captn.

I was pretty sure aluminum was safe but didn't feel like doing the research to disprove his problem with it.

Besides, aluminum is probably cheaper than stainless right?

Personally, if I were building a water tank, I'd build it out of a decent quality stainless. You can always treat water for rust. (Water softener/straight up filter for example).

Besides, rust won't kill you nor is it terribly bad for you. It just makes the water taste bad.
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