Letter Re: Firefighting Equipment for Rural Homes and Retreats, and Comments of Geothermal Heating

Hi Jim,
I thought it prudent to add a bit to Mr. Savage’s fire fighting equipment article. It touches two topics worth mentioning.
In the article, Mr. Savage recommends a fire truck, bladder, tank, etc… for firefighting. I have no problem with this unless it is winter. Trying to pump this much water on as “as need” basis in the event of a fire is obviously not going to work as well. Storing the water in a “non-potable” type container clearly marked, one could add the appropriate amount of RV antifreeze to the tank to keep from bursting your firefighting vessel, pipes, and valves.
Please don’t confuse this with vehicle antifreeze.
For those considering using the RV for bugging out or a second retreat, then it would be necessary to understand how to winterize and de-winterize your piping if you desire to keep things relatively intact.
This would also be an important segue into learning to winterize your home in case you decide to shut off heat to most rooms, but would like the ability to have pipes that are not broken/ frozen at a later date when outside temps are above freezing.
Since we are on the topic of water, another thing to mention in addition to the corn/ pellet, wood boiler type heat, I would like to add geothermal to what in my opinion is a worthless heat/cool source post-TEOTWAWKI. Most don’t know this, but in our climate, the electrical needs for the system can easily surpass 100 amps! Good luck powering that with your wind turbine. Sorry for the ramble, but wanted to bring up a few talking points. God Bless, – The Wanderer

JWR Replies: The power required to run a home geothermal heating system varies widely, depending on the water temperature and well depth. In some places like Klamath Falls, Oregon, where there is fairly hot water at shallow depth, a “closed loop” system connected to hydronic sub-floor pipes can use just a small circulating pump that draws relatively little current. BTW, Klamath Falls is one of the preferred retreat locales mentioned in my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. And, BTW, I once had the opportunity to buy a ranch near Wells, Nevada that had a large hot spring with gravity flow to the house. This could have provided geothermal heat with no pumping requirement. However, the Memsahib and I decided to pass on buying that property because we felt that it was too close to the I-80 corridor and hence not strategically viable.