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View Full Version : Water storage...among a few other things



Grizz
11-04-2012, 12:10 PM
My primary question is what are you currently using for water storage. I want to look at different ideas in the securing of water in an emergency situation as apposed to storing it long term. Unfortunately, I do not have much room nor will I have the opportunity to rotate it consistently so a few 50 gallon drums will not work. I understand this is suboptimal however we all have to work within certain constraints and I am not looking to become and extreme survivalist. I just want to prep in the event something environmental happens and we need to survive for a week or two. My family consists of myself, my wife and out three year old son.

As it stands right now, I keep a water cooler in the kitchen with no less that three 20 liter bottles of water at any one given time. I also have a 50 gallon hot water tank that can be used for potable water. In addition to that, I have 2 full size bath tubs I can fill if I think we may need to use them for fresh water storage.

Also, what does everyone else have on their lists for food and non food items essential in an emergency. I am not looking at a bug out bag as I plan to stay at home as long as I can. If I needed to re-locate, I have a lake cabin west of Edmonton and will take the family there. Any tips, ticks or advice is greatly appreciated!!

Cheers,
Dean

FlyingHigh
11-04-2012, 12:15 PM
For now I just buy the bulk flats of water bottles when they go on sale at Superstore. Something like 4 bucks for 20 bottles. Got a couple flats stored. I've been think of getting a couple of those big water cooler jugs for mass storage for things like cooking/cleaning etc.

One thing my parents did whenever the power went out or we were in for a big storm was to fill the bath tub full of water. Just in case the water lines break or service is cut. I've got two full size bath tubs myself, so that's an option for me as well. Hell, just using the bath tub water to flush the toilet simplifies life alot.

Don't forget to stock up on toilet paper :)

blacksmithden
11-04-2012, 12:50 PM
I've got bottled water stashed for drinking as FlyingHigh said. It's cheap to buy the cases...you don't have to worry about pouring it or finding a glass....it's easy to take with you......you can carry a bottle in a jacket pocket.....it stacks very well.

I also have a couple of 20L camping jugs in the basement (= to 40x500mL bottles of water each). As for flushing the toilet....man, if the water ever goes of, that becomes an unaffordable luxury. Get a 5 gallon pail and buy a camping toilet seat. If you're modest, bring it inside to use it, and then put it back outside. Wasting a minimum of 4-10L of water flushing a toilet in a real emergency isn't something I'll even consider. If the bucket is getting full, either dump it in the nearest convenient spot or put a lid on it and start using another bucket. If you're in a very cold climate, you might want to keep the bucket inside all the time to keep things from freezing into a solid mass so keep the lid handy. Remove lid, put the seat on top...use....remove seat, and put the lid back on.

Strewth
11-04-2012, 02:17 PM
I've got a well, water at 21 feet, check valve on the electric pump so it's easy to hook up the hand pump inside; I plan on selling water:)
I also have one rain barrel ($100) with a foamy type filter on it-seems to keep clean.
For non-potable I was filling up milk jugs with a touch of chlorine-that added up quick! I now have too many-in fact I shot some of them. People say milk jugs are bad for potable, but you could just rotate?

Cheap food prep would be 50lb bag-o-rice from Costco $25, an enormous bag of salt there is $5-although maybe that's a little SHTF for this thread-, my most costly individual "food" item was/is vitamins. Get some stuff your 3 year old likes for comfort food- case of Kraft Dinner in my four year old's case.

Hmm, TP was mentioned, so pack of Bic lighters and thrift store candles? A method to block off a portion of your house for ease of heating in case of winter? Moving blankets are cheap/easy storage for this?

Grizz
11-04-2012, 02:33 PM
I've got bottled water stashed for drinking as FlyingHigh said. It's cheap to buy the cases...you don't have to worry about pouring it or finding a glass....it's easy to take with you......you can carry a bottle in a jacket pocket.....it stacks very well.

I also have a couple of 20L camping jugs in the basement (= to 40x500mL bottles of water each). As for flushing the toilet....man, if the water ever goes of, that becomes an unaffordable luxury. Get a 5 gallon pail and buy a camping toilet seat. If you're modest, bring it inside to use it, and then put it back outside. Wasting a minimum of 4-10L of water flushing a toilet in a real emergency isn't something I'll even consider. If the bucket is getting full, either dump it in the nearest convenient spot or put a lid on it and start using another bucket. If you're in a very cold climate, you might want to keep the bucket inside all the time to keep things from freezing into a solid mass so keep the lid handy. Remove lid, put the seat on top...use....remove seat, and put the lid back on.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. As I said earlier I have 3 20L bottles for the water cooler in reserve while the 4th is being used. I may boost that to having 2 or 3 in the basement as well giving me a total of 309L of potable water before I have to do anything else like resort to the tubs or transport water from an outside source. I also like the idea of a few cases of bottled water for convenience and portability.

As for the toilet, I agree that this priority is extremely low. That being said, I have the luxury of a large stream that runs over a fair amount of various sized rocks about a mile from my house. I figured I could use this for non-potable things like washing and flushing the toilet if need be as this would eliminate disposing or storing of a bio hazard. In worse case scenario, I could get water from here and purify it as an almost last resort.

In the end, it kinda sound like I am fairly on track with what everyone else is doing as it relates to water. I would love to be able to store 500 gallons but that is simply unrealistic in my situation. Does anyone know what the accepted rule of use per person per day is??

lone-wolf
11-04-2012, 02:36 PM
I have a well too. No means of getting water out of it with out power... yet.
As for the toilet, we've used a bucket and a ditch full of water to solve that issue. I suppose we could use ocean water if we had to.

Grizz
11-04-2012, 02:43 PM
I have a well too. No means of getting water out of it with out power... yet.
As for the toilet, we've used a bucket and a ditch full of water to solve that issue. I suppose we could use ocean water if we had to.

I wish I had a well and the ocean nearby. It would solve so many issues!!!

lone-wolf
11-04-2012, 02:50 PM
Crap load of water bottles seems the best way to go. Or some of the scepter jerry cans for water, rotating them in and out.
As for the toilet bucket, apparently saw dust will keep the smell down if it needs to be used multiple times without being emptied.

Grizz
11-04-2012, 03:07 PM
As for the toilet bucket, apparently saw dust will keep the smell down if it needs to be used multiple times without being emptied.

Huh, I did not know that, thanks for the tip!!

lone-wolf
11-04-2012, 03:15 PM
www.appropedia.org/How_to_make_and_use_a_sawdust_toilet

We use saw dust in the chicken barn. The local saw mills lets us take a dozen feed bags full of the stuff for free iirc.

FlyingHigh
11-04-2012, 03:44 PM
to touch back on the toilet thing, that's more of a convenience, short term shut down thing. if it was a long term emergency, water wouldn't be wasted that way. growing up, we had the water system in town cock up more than once, so having water to use the toiler for 2 days or so was nice. but like i said. in a long term SHTF scenario...fallen log for a seat, leaves for wiping.

blacksmithden
11-04-2012, 04:09 PM
Ok...we're getting a little off topic with all the toilet bucket stuff, but it's an important thing to consider. A little bleach thrown in after each use of the bucket will keep the bacteria count down a bit and will knock the stink down a fair bit too.

Grizz: I believe the absolute minimum water you should keep on hand is 2 L per person, per day. 1L for drinking, and 1L for personal hygiene. Keep in mind...that's a minimum. Having clean water during an emergency is no less important than having warm shelter when it's -40C out. More is better.

Grizz
11-04-2012, 04:27 PM
So if I currently have roughly 309L of potable water including the hot water tank, assuming I either did not fill or had the time to fill the 2 bath tubs, and I need 6L per day for the three of us, we should be good for 51.5 days before I have to come up with another solution. Alternatively, without using the hot water tank, I have 120 liters giving us 20 days of fresh water before we have to tap into the tank....that definitely covers the 72 hour thing and my goal of 2 weeks. All things considered, I think that is pretty good!!

Now onto everything else…...

Anyone have any great suggestions on in home heating, food stores, etc??

blacksmithden
11-04-2012, 04:58 PM
So if I currently have roughly 309L of potable water including the hot water tank, assuming I either did not fill or had the time to fill the 2 bath tubs, and I need 6L per day for the three of us, we should be good for 51.5 days before I have to come up with another solution. Alternatively, without using the hot water tank, I have 120 liters giving us 20 days of fresh water before we have to tap into the tank....that definitely covers the 72 hour thing and my goal of 2 weeks. All things considered, I think that is pretty good!!

Now onto everything else…...

Anyone have any great suggestions on in home heating, food stores, etc??

I'll do the home heating one (I HATE BEING COLD !! LOL)

Personally, I have a fireplace on the main floor of the house. Wood burning is the only way to go if you're serious about prepping. Shortly after buying the house (about 4 months) I put a wood burning airtight stove in the basement. My woodstove has 2 moving parts...the door, and the air inlet door. The fireplace has zero moving parts. The fewer moving parts, the less there is to go wrong, and that goes for just about anything.

As of right now, I have enough firewood in the garage to last me either 3 hours per day for the rest of the winter in the fireplace (fireplaces are not great things for heating your house as they're not efficent) OR, probably 1/2 the winter in the woodstove, with it running 24/7. More importantly, I have a good Husky chainsaw, with lots of fuel and oil in the garage, and 2 spare chains. I also have a 4x4 pickup with extra springs in the back to go get more wood in fairly short order. There's tons of dry standing dead wood within a 3 minute drive of my house. The ravine it's in is a green space. The fact of the matter is, by the time I actually need that wood, nobody would care about a park. I still wouldn't be waiting for the last stick in my garage to be burnt before I was out getting a LOT more.

Having an emergency heat source is very important in a cold climate. Being able to sustain it with fuel over a long haul is just as important.

One other thing that a lot of people would never think of. Your windows and doors. Last year, we replaced the windows upstairs with triple pane, low E...blah blah blah...the best windows I could by. That made the upstairs about 5 degrees warmer than the downstairs last winter. This past summer, we did the windows downstairs and the patio door....same thing...best triple pane money could buy. I also replaced the door into the garage with a modern insulated steel door. Did that one myself. Now that winter has started to set in, I've noticed a HUGE difference. In the past, the fireplace on the main floor would keep the livingroom warm, but the rest of the house would cool off (not get outright cold...but cooler) due to the thermostat being across the room from the fireplace. If I wanted to keep the whole house at a reasonable temperature, I had to keep the fire going full tilt. Now, if I light the fireplace...let it burn down to coals...get it going again 20 min to 1/2 hr after the last flame goes out...and repeat...that's enough to heat the whole house and keep the furnace off.

Your windows and doors are a MAJOR source of heat loss. I'll probably never make back the 20 thousand all the windows and doors cost in gas bill savings....but.....now the house is warm all the time with no real drafts anywhere....and in an emergency, I'm set. It's also raised the value of the home no doubt.

Strewth
11-04-2012, 05:06 PM
For home heating I have a fireplace, and moving blankets to block off the rest of the house; a propane heater on a BBQ tank isn't a bad way to go, short term.

Food prep goes from mild to wild-finding rubbermaid totes on sale is a good start for basement storage though. We've got a pantry full of food, enough for a month of easy living, which doesn't take much with a couple of case lot soup/apple juice sales and some instant noodles kicking around...how much food do you figure you have in your place right now? Including the can of lima beans at the back of the cupboard?
Dehydrator is a fun toy, and my wife has learned how to can from my grandmother, which is nice to see.

Grizz
11-04-2012, 06:11 PM
Thanks guys, I wish I had enough room to store wood in my garage!! As for heating, I have 2 gas fireplaces in my home but need an alternative if the gas is turned off or not available. One concern I do have are carbon gasses like CO as a by-product of the heater. I thought about using a propane heater as I have a BBQ with 3 30lb bottles but was unsure about what gasses it would expel. It would negate the point of prepping if I die from CO poisoning from the heater. I then thought about a catalytic heater using naphtha but I don’t think that will provide enough heat for all three of us.

As far as food prep goes, I have a shelf in the basement to store caned goods and rotate them as we eat. Currently I have not taken stock and compared it to how long we could live off of it but suffice it to say, my wife loves to shop. As there is only three of us, I think a fully stocked 5 level shelf of non-perishable food should suffice. As for fresh meat....I have LOTS of those lovely rabbits running all around my street. In addition, I live quite close to a provincial park and have deer frequently walking down my street in the morning.

blacksmithden
11-04-2012, 06:20 PM
What it boils down to Grizz.....any type of liquid/gas burning appliance you put in your house is going to use up oxygen and it's going to put off dangerous gases that can harm you in sufficient quantities. Your fireplace is your best bet hands down. As long as there's a draft going up the chimney, fresh air is being drawn in from somewhere else in the house. All those little cracks gaps that you missed add up to being able to use your fireplace and have the smoke go up the chimney. You don't have to have a wood supply in your garage. I just keep mine there to keep the snow off the pile, convenience, and it's out of sight. After a close call with a propane heater inside the back of a Dodge Sprinter van, I have a VERY healthy respect for the effects of low oxygen. Everyone...if you're using a hydrocarbon (gas/naptha/propane/kerosene/etc) burning appliance, PLEASE make sure you have enough ventilation.

Grizz
11-04-2012, 06:31 PM
What it boils down to Grizz.....any type of liquid/gas burning appliance you put in your house is going to use up oxygen and it's going to put off dangerous gases that can harm you in sufficient quantities. Your fireplace is your best bet hands down. As long as there's a draft going up the chimney, fresh air is being drawn in from somewhere else in the house. All those little cracks gaps that you missed add up to being able to use your fireplace and have the smoke go up the chimney.

Any ideas on how one would go about converting a gas only fireplace to a wood burning in an emergency???

Strewth
11-04-2012, 08:12 PM
Sorry, I'll put more warning labels in my posts, when posting about dangerous things:o. Using propane as a heat source has three dangers, fire, breathing the propane itself, and Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Fire requires, well, fire safety. Keep away from flammables, have a way to extiguish the fire, and keep a fire watch going 24/7.

Propane is 1.4 times as dense as air and will sink-so if everyone is asleep on the floor this can be un-good. Naturally propane is odorless and colourless, but has added chemicals so we can smell it. If you inhale propane it takes the place of oxygen, making it hard to breathe, causing headaches, nausea, or vomiting. Prolonged exposure can cause death.
Again, a 24/7 fire watch will mitigate these hazards. Don't breathe propane. Check your fittings for leaks.

The biggy is Carbon Monoxide(CO). CO is slightly lighter than air, so generally speaking, it mixes. An indoor propane heater produces water vapour, and carbon monoxide. Water vapour is safe, if a little damp. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that replaces the oxygen in your lungs, and is tricky to detect, as it causes flu-like symptoms. I think it's at 20% of oxygen replaced it causes death? I'm freehanding this, bear with me. Or better yet, before using a propane heater, Google the risks associated. Anyhoo, you can get battery operated biometric CO detectors, or even propane heaters with oxygen level detectors, that shut down if there's not enough oxygen. The general guidelines for safe indoor propane heater use are 1 square inch of ventilation per 1000 BTU's of heat. I've used one for years in a tent, and have never experienced ill effects. I've even drug my little Pro-cat hunting in my buddy's camper, and we crack a window. The best defence is still to have an overwatch 24/7, so sleeping in shifts is probably best when dealing with a jury-rigged heat source.

Converting a gas fireplace to burn wood is easy,(shut off gas, remove glass panel, remove fake wood, install real wood) venting could be hard. Does it have a vertical chimney? Some vent horizontally, and I assume this would be a no-go...unless you got one of those heat powered fans from Lee Valley, perhaps? Long term, soot build up could be a hazard....hmmm, you'd have to fab a flue-paint can lid?
What about sticking your propane heater inside the fireplace opening? Is it big enough?

Also if you have a stream near your house, a (expensive, but worth it) Katydyn filter might ease your mind about water?

Satain
11-04-2012, 08:13 PM
For your water issue's
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hKGoiK497M0/UEDa2uyIRwI/AAAAAAAABOo/o3PCv3ZW31w/s1600/Sawyer-Squeeze-Water-Filter.jpeg
http://outside-blog.away.com/.a/6a00d83453140969e2014e8b512e35970d-500wi
http://gearjunkie.com/images/6369.jpg
http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn.volusion.com/kytsg.yqdmh/v/vspfiles/photos/categories/70.jpg?1317811069

For your food issue's
http://www.shtfplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/mountain-house-food-medium.jpg
http://www.survival-warehouse.com/food/images/1yearimperial.jpg
http://www.outfitters.ca/cms.Catalog.aspx?catalog=FW_Freeze_Dried_Foods

Although for food I still prefer a rifle with MRE's to get me by ;)

blacksmithden
11-04-2012, 11:39 PM
Any ideas on how one would go about converting a gas only fireplace to a wood burning in an emergency???

You really can't do it. The "stove pipe" on a gas unit is a pipe within a pipe, and it's not insulated or rated anywhere near high enough for the temperatures that a wood burning stove pipe is rated for. The unit exhausts hot gas through the inner pipe, and brings fresh air in from outside through the outer pipe. That air gap and the cool air flow around the outside of the inner pipe acts as in insulator. That's why they're always a sealed unit. If you open up the unit, it will no longer draw fresh air in from the outside, and will start to exhaust through both pipes. That will heat up the outer pipe. A lot of them also go out through the side of the house, and not up to the roof, so drafting the smoke outside will likely also be a problem. Personally, I wouldn't try it...and man, I've tried some crazy stuff in my day. There is a very real possibility that you'll set the wall on fire.

Strewth
11-05-2012, 01:05 AM
I was thinking B-vent, rated to 500F would do, average flue temperature for an open wood fire is 250-450, however I was NOT thinking about direct vent like blacksmithden is taking about, which is a very real possibility...although rockwool, and a flexible flue...might be responsible for burning your house down. Yah, sorry I take it back, don't burn wood in your gas fireplace.

flightmedic
03-11-2013, 05:08 PM
Thought I would put my two cents in- Water is one of the most important and overlooked preps. Here are a couple ideas-

Well- If you have a well and you are not sure how to get water out of it during a power outage, first find out if your pump is 110 or 220. 110 pumps are easy to feed with a generator, 220, not so much. My well pump is 220, so instead of running the pump I can take the top off my well casing, and put down a dipper bucket I made from a piece of PVC pipe that fits, and a long length of paracord. Low tech, but I have good water.

Water cube- Here is a neat project if you have room around your house. Get your hands on a water cube (the square 1000 liter plastic containers with a metal frame and pallet), plumb some pex pipe into the bottom fitting, attach a small 12 volt RV style water pump, and an outlet from that to go straight up about 4 feet over the top of the cube. Bury the cube next to your house or baby barn near a downspout, and put a diverter valve with a sponge filter in the downspout to feed the watercube. The overflow from the top can go into your weeper, if next to your house. *or*, just bury the cube anywhere on your property with a fill port. Bury the whole cube 4 feet below the surface, put stryofoam over the top and extend four feet past each edge, then fill it in. Attach the electrical leads for the water pump to a switch, then a 12 volt car battery, and you have a self contained source of a LOT of water anywhere you want. Put a small solar panel out there to charge the battery, and you are completely self sufficient for water in an emergency. Because it is below the frost line, you are OK year round. Not hard to bury a plastic 35 gallon barrel 4 feet down doing the same thing, or even a hand pump.

RV- If you have an RV, keep your fresh water holding tank full at all times, and a little bleach to keep it fresh. Most fresh water tanks hold 30 - 40 gallons.

A short length of gutter and a downspout with a 35 gallon water barrel you can pick up second hand for $20 makes a really cheap rain catch system.

It's easy to set up a berkey DIY filter, good to have before you need it. Lots of plans on the net.

lone-wolf
03-11-2013, 09:38 PM
110 pumps are easy to feed with a generator, 220, not so much.

I would say, although I'm not sure, 220v pumps would be easier to run with a generator because they run on less amps, and have lower startup amperage.

Strewth
03-11-2013, 09:43 PM
Thought I would put my two cents in-

Good ideas, and welcome to GOC!

FALover
03-12-2013, 11:28 AM
r.v. tanks
don't leave them full if they may freeze. first, no more water, second, no place to store it now.

FALover
03-12-2013, 11:32 AM
Thought I would put my two cents in- Water is one of the most important and overlooked preps. Here are a couple ideas-

Well- If you have a well and you are not sure how to get water out of it during a power outage, first find out if your pump is 110 or 220. 110 pumps are easy to feed with a generator, 220, not so much. My well pump is 220, so instead of running the pump I can take the top off my well casing, and put down a dipper bucket I made from a piece of PVC pipe that fits, and a long length of paracord. Low tech, but I have good water.

Water cube- Here is a neat project if you have room around your house. Get your hands on a water cube (the square 1000 liter plastic containers with a metal frame and pallet), plumb some pex pipe into the bottom fitting, attach a small 12 volt RV style water pump, and an outlet from that to go straight up about 4 feet over the top of the cube. Bury the cube next to your house or baby barn near a downspout, and put a diverter valve with a sponge filter in the downspout to feed the watercube. The overflow from the top can go into your weeper, if next to your house. *or*, just bury the cube anywhere on your property with a fill port. Bury the whole cube 4 feet below the surface, put stryofoam over the top and extend four feet past each edge, then fill it in. Attach the electrical leads for the water pump to a switch, then a 12 volt car battery, and you have a self contained source of a LOT of water anywhere you want. Put a small solar panel out there to charge the battery, and you are completely self sufficient for water in an emergency. Because it is below the frost line, you are OK year round. Not hard to bury a plastic 35 gallon barrel 4 feet down doing the same thing, or even a hand pump.

RV- If you have an RV, keep your fresh water holding tank full at all times, and a little bleach to keep it fresh. Most fresh water tanks hold 30 - 40 gallons.

A short length of gutter and a downspout with a 35 gallon water barrel you can pick up second hand for $20 makes a really cheap rain catch system.

It's easy to set up a berkey DIY filter, good to have before you need it. Lots of plans on the net.
my well has a static water level 4 feet down. pick up a cistern hand pump from a farm supply outlet and 10-20 feet of draw pipe with foot valve. easy to use if power is out.