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How Long do 5-Gallon Water Jugs Last

Whether you want to prepare for an emergency or stock your supply, it is important to know how long 5-gallon water jugs last. After all, you do not want to drink tainted water or waste your hard-earned money. 

The good news is these jugs last quite a long time. But, there are a few caveats you should know. We will teach you how to store water, which types of bottles to choose, and how much you will need. 

How Long do 5-Gallon Water Jugs Last?

The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration govern bottled water companies. Neither list a regulation for the shelf life of 5-gallon water bottles (or 3-gallon water bottles). In their eyes, or according to their guidelines, water does not have an expiration date. This is true only if it is professionally packaged in food-grade bottles. We recommend that you use your water within two years of the manufacturing date. The use-by date is printed on the neck of the bottle. 

male in gray sweatshirt loading a 5-gallon bottle of distillata water onto a stainless steel water dispenser

How Long Does Water Keep in a 5-gallon Jug?

First, let’s be clear – when we refer to “water” we are not talking about tap. Only use spring, distilled, reverse osmosis, or filtered water in 5-gallon water jugs. Do not refill them with tap water. The bottles must be sanitized and sealed to prevent contamination. 

As stated, the shelf life of 5-gallon bottles is up to two years. The water will not go bad at that point. Yet, it may develop a stale taste. The jug itself lasts indefinitely as it is made from food-grade plastic or glass. As we describe in our article, “The Life of a 5-gallon Water Bottle”, they are often reused up to 50 times! 

5 gallon water jug on cooler

How Many 5-gallon Water Jugs do I Need Monthly?

Most households and businesses enjoy 5 gallon water jug delivery. These  customers tend to use about 1 gallon of water per person per day. This amount can vary. When you consider how much water you will need, answer these questions:

  • Will you use the water to make coffee and tea?
  • Will visitors have access to your water cooler?
  • Will you give water to your pets?
  • Do you or any members of your household exercise?
  • Will you use the water for cooking?

For each of these questions you answer yes, you should increase your monthly delivery. Optimally, you should drink at least 4 gallons of water per week. To calculate how many 5-gallon jugs you need, multiply the number of members in your household by four. For example, if you have three people in your household, you will need 12 gallons per week or 48 gallons per month. Now, divide the number of gallons you need per month by five to figure out the number of 5-gallon jugs needed. In our example, we would need nine bottles. To recap:

  • # of people x 4 = gallons per week
  • gallons per week x 4 = gallons per month
  • gallons per month / 5 = bottles per month

The average household / business uses a little less. Given that you aren’t at either location 24/7. In our experience, the average home and small business uses 5-8 bottles per month. 

man fill a clear glass with water from a stainless steel water cooler with a bottle of distillata water on top

Can Water Go Bad?

It may seem contradictory to everything we said at the beginning of this post. Yes, water can go bad. That is, some types of water can go bad when stored improperly. It all comes down to minerals. The more minerals water has, the faster you should use it. For example, distilled water has no minerals and thus, is the water we recommend for long-term storage. Spring water has lots of minerals. If it is in direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting, it will turn green. You should keep spring water out of brightly lit areas. You should also rotate the bottles ensuring that you use the oldest ones first.

Storing Water in 5-gallon Containers

It is always a good idea to store water for emergencies. And, 5-gallon bottles are an excellent choice. We recommend keeping at least four gallons of emergency water per person. A three-day supply is great.  But in certain situations, two weeks is optimal. Follow these tips for 5-gallon water jug long term storage: 

  • Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
  • Do not keep them on a concrete floor. 
  • Do not stack the bottles on top of each other. 
  • Use a water bottle storage rack
  • Rotate your bottles using the oldest ones first.

As you can see, you do not need to worry about how long 5-gallon water jugs last. Distillata provides only the highest quality food-grade bottles filled with properly treated water. Use this infograph as a guide on how to store bottled water:

infographic that explains how to store bottled water

Where to Buy 5-gallon Water Jugs

You can purchase filled 5-gallon water bottles here. You can choose from spring, distilled, reverse osmosis, and premium drinking water. Order now for fast delivery to your home or business!

Watch this video to get the most out of your Distillata water with our expert guide to 5-gallon bottle care. Enjoy fresh, clean water every time!

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