Water is surprisingly heavy! And if you’ve ever carried a couple of gallons of water around, you’ll know just how weighty it feels. This can make it challenging to store water long term for emergencies.
And when you are calculating how to store water for emergencies, you need to know how much it weighs. Otherwise, the weight of the water you are storing may be too much for your home, or it may be too difficult to manage in large quantities.
To find out how much a 55 gallon water storage barrel weighs, you can take the weight of 1 gallon of water and multiply it by 55. For example, a gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds (3.78 kilograms). So 8.34 pounds multiplied by 55 comes out to 458.7 pounds. However, there are a few additional factors to consider when storing 55 gallons of water.
In this article, we’ll talk about how much 55 gallons of water weighs. We’ll talk about the different types of gallons that are used for measuring, and we’ll also talk about some factors that could affect how much water weighs.
Storing or Moving Large Quantities of Water
It is recommended to have 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking and cooking. However, if you are storing water for hygiene as well, you’ll want to store 1.5 to 2 gallons per person per day. So even a 55-gallon container of water can get used up quickly in a survival or shelter-in-place situation.
The trouble with 55-gallon drums of water is that they can be extremely heavy. You’ll want to know how much your drums weigh so you can make sure that you have the space to store them. You’ll also want to make sure that your home can handle the extra weight, especially if you are storing more than one drum.
Water should always be stored in a clean, dry place away from heat and light. If possible, store your water at room temperature. If it freezes, it could expand and break your drum.
Another reason to know how much water weighs is if you need to transport your water. You may need to know how much weight your truck or vehicle can handle. If 55-gallon drums of water are too heavy for your vehicle, you might need to transport your water in smaller amounts. Transporting this much water could be difficult if you are off-grid and need to carry your water from out of town and back to your homestead.
55-gallon water containers are pretty standard for storing large amounts of water, but how much do they actually weigh? Let’s find out.
What Factors Affect the Weight of 55 Gallons of Water
It’s easy to say that 55 gallons of water weighs 458.7 pounds or 208.06 kilograms. However, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. There are actually a few factors that might affect the weight of the water you are storing.
First of all, the weight of water changes depending on the type of gallon that you are using to measure your water.
The Type of Gallon You Use to Measure Your Water Affects Its Weight
Surprisingly, there are three different types of gallons used for measuring. The first is the US gallon, which is 231 cubic inches or 3.7854 liters. It is also 128 ounces. At 62 degrees Fahrenheit, a US gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds or 3.78 kilograms, so 55 US gallons of water weigh 458.7 pounds.
The Imperial Gallon is 20% larger than a US gallon. It is 4.5 liters or 160 ounces. An imperial gallon of water weighs 10.02 pounds. 55 Imperial gallons of water weigh 551.1 pounds.
US Dry Gallon
The dry gallon is actually 1/8 of a bushel. It holds 4.4 liters of water. There are 148.95 ounces in a dry gallon. So a dry gallon of water would weigh 9.71 pounds. So 55 Dry Gallons of water weigh 534.05 pounds.
Water is typically measured by the US gallon, so that is what we will use for the rest of this article.
Water Type Affects Its Weight: Freshwater or Saltwater
You probably aren’t going to store saltwater for emergency purposes. However, if, for some reason, you are storing salt water in 55-gallon drums, you might be surprised to learn that salt water is actually heavier than fresh or tap water.
How much heavier saltwater is than tap water really depends on what is in it. There are a number of different chemicals that can be classified as salts that you might find in water. Some of these salts are highly dissolvable, and some are not. So how heavy the salt water is really depends on what kinds of salts are dissolved in it.
For example, let’s take a look at seawater. On average, a US gallon of ocean water weighs 8.556 pounds. This means 55 gallons of ocean water would weigh about 470.58 pounds.
Temperature Influences the Weight of Water
According to sciencing.com, the volume of water changes with the temperature of the water. Water is at its most dense, or heaviest, at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius. So at this temperature, a gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds. Fifty-five gallons of water would weigh in at 458.15 pounds.
Here’s where it gets interesting! Water expands by 9% when it freezes, so a gallon of ice weighs 9% less than a gallon of water. That means a gallon of ice weighs 7.58 pounds, and 55 gallons of ice, or frozen water, weighs 416.9 pounds.
On the other hand, the warmer water is, the less dense it becomes. So warmer water will be less dense than colder water. So a gallon, or 55, of cold water is a little bit heavier than the same amount of hot water.
This information is important when you’re storing drums of water because if your water freezes, it will expand and could break open your drums if you don’t have enough space.
Type of Drum For Your Water Storage Adds to the Weight of Water
You might not consider the weight of the drum you are using for your water storage. Different types of drums will have different weights, depending on the material they are made from. And this will add to the weight of your water.
Survivalfreedom.com talks in-depth about the different types of drums you can use and their weights. For example:
|Fiber Drum||17 pounds|
|Plastic Drum||22 pounds|
|Lined Steel Drum||45 pounds|
|Stainless Steel Drum (open top)||50 pounds|
So while this doesn’t exactly count as the weight of 55 gallons of water, it is important to know how much your storage drum weighs when you are calculating how to store your water and whether or not your floorboards can hold it.
Altitude and Gravity Affect the Weight of Water
Altitude and gravity will also affect how much 55 gallons of water weighs. Weight is the force of the gravitational pull from the earth on an object or person. Gravitational pull changes with altitude, which means weight also changes with altitude.
At higher elevations, the gravitational pull is less, so you – and your 55 gallons of water – are actually lighter on a mountain top than at sea level.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If you were able to travel with your 55 gallons of water to the center of the earth, your weight – along with the weight of your water, would be zero because the force of the earth is pulling on you equally from all directions.
So if you were to store your water deep underground – in a mineshaft, for example – it would weigh less than it would at sea level.
Final Thoughts on How Much 55 Gallons of Water Weighs
The easiest way to think about the weight of water is to say that one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds (3.78 kg) at room temperature and a 55-gallon drum weighs 458.7 pounds (207.9 kg). And while the weight of water is lower at high altitudes than it is at sea level, the difference might not be enough to actually matter.
Now that you are up to speed on the weight of water, you might be interested in learning how long water can be stored for before it goes bad.
How can I find out how much water weighs at different temperatures?
If you need to know how much water weighs at different temperatures, or if you need to know how much smaller amounts of water weighs, you can use the Inch Calculator.
To determine how much an amount of water weighs at a particular temperature (which is helpful for cooking or storing), visit inchcalculator.com. You can input the amount of water and the temperature to find out its weight.
How Much Does Snow Weigh?
Snow is a form of water, of course. But it is nowhere near as heavy as water is. The moisture content in snow is much less than in water; it is anywhere from 5% to 32%. An average snowfall might be 20% water because snow is much less dense than pure water. So an average gallon of snow would weigh about 1.66 pounds or .75 kg. On the other hand, 55 gallons of snow weighs about 91.3 pounds or 41.25 kg.