OK. So it’s emergency time. You’ve been without water in your house for several hours already. Can you use the water in your hot tub?
Emergency Preparedness Canada recommends: “Aim to have an emergency survival kit that will keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days.”
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the same for Americans. This is how long they estimate it should take to get food and water to anybody in the event of a major disaster.
Recalling the Ice Storm of 1998 and the Katrina Hurricane devastation of 2005, it is best to be prepared to hold out much longer.
Can I drink my hot tub water?
But what if you didn’t prepare? Or what if you are left high and dry for longer?
Water is perhaps the most essential of all provisions. And there it is, in abundance, in your hot tub or swimming pool. But is it drinkable?
Yes, but not really. This water should be your very last resort. After all, you do put chemicals in the hot tub and the water really isn’t good for drinking. Additionally, your hot tub is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that should not be consumed internally. Just think of all the people who have been sitting in your hot tub and now think about drinking the water. Exactly.
If you have some advance warning – tornado alert, hurricane warning, etc., you can sill up your bath tub with drinkable water. Or buckets, jars – whatever you have around the house.
No warning? Dip into the toilet tank or the hot water heater. Yes, drinking from the toilet tank is preferable to drinking from a hot tub or swimming pool.
You might also want to keep on hand a purification device, through which you can filter your hot tub water or swimming pool water. Or you might try a purification tablet that you put into the water to make it safe to drink using flocculation. Flocculation literally means that the microbes group themselves into flakes or bundles that can easily be filtered from the water by hand. This is the same process used in cheese-making, and there is a good chance that your water utility uses flocculation to treat your sewage.
Back-country campers use these purification methods all the time, so head over to your favorite outdoors store and ask what they have that would be useful to purify your hot tub water. This assumes you have not overdone the chemicals. These products are designed to remove contaminants from lake and river water, not to remove chlorine and such.
In a time of crisis, your hot tub can be a life saver, but it pays to be prepared.
Oh, and if you do get an advance hurricane or tornado warning, don’t forget to make sure your hot tub cover is locked down so that it does not follow Dorothy’s house into the sky.