Letter: Heating Oil and Kerosene Uses

Hello Jim: I wanted to write a note about an idea for heating. We use a Nestor-Martin as well as a napoleon oil stove to heat. These are very, very efficient. They burn one and a half to three gallons maximum per day and can heat a 2000 square-foot home. They require no electricity in their gravity fed from oil tank. I’ve heated with wood most of my life. (There is nothing like a wood fire.) To give you an example of how much the world has changed, in the late 70s and 80s as a Boy Scout our troop …




Letter: Canned Gasoline Question

Hi, I ran across this canned gasoline at my local Walmart that was available in both 2-stroke and 4-stroke. (I’ve included a pic, which also shows the price.) My question would be about the viability of using the 4-stroke as an emergency fuel for my car, keeping one in the trunk “for just in case”and a few in the shed for long-term storage. Although quite expensive, the octane is correct. I am amazed at the claimed shelf life of five years in the can and two years in the tank. I was under the impression the even with Sta-bil added, gasoline would …




SurvivalBlog Resources: Liquid Fuels Storage and Transfer

Introductory Note: The following is the first of a series of articles by JWR that will profile some of the thousands of archived SurvivalBlog articles, grouped topically. Storing and transferring liquid fuels is topic that often comes up in conversations with my consulting clients and in letters from SurvivalBlog readers. There seems to be a lack of knowledge or misinformed voodoo out there in the general public about liquid fuel shelf life, flammability, containers, and how to transfer fuel when the power grids are down. But those questions have all been “asked and answered” in SurvivalBlog, over the course of …




Letter Re: Propane As An Energy Source

A very interesting and informative article, but I’d like to add a couple things. Some 500 gallon propane tanks are fitted with what’s known as a “wet leg”. It is another valve situated on the top of the tank, in addition to the main valve. It’s plumbed to a pipe running to the bottom of the tank, with its purpose being refilling smaller tanks, like 20 lb portables. It requires a specially fitted hose, the shorter and larger diameter the better; 10 feet works well in 3/4” diameter. I mention a short length as disconnecting the hose from the bottle …




Propane As An Energy Source- Part 2, by JB

Storage Tanks and Transfer of Propane (continued) Once the tank is full, the fill hose ball valve is closed (stopping flow into the tank), the tank bleeder is closed (if used), the pump is shut off, and then the tank valve closed, in that order. Double check that the hose and tank valves are closed. The small unloader valve between the hose ball valve and tank is opened to drain the liquid trapped between the two, so the hose adapter can be safely disconnected from the tank. Failing to bleed the liquid trapped between the tank and ball valve can …




Propane as an Energy Source- Part 1, by JB

Propane, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is an excellent energy source for several reasons. It stores easily and has a great shelf life. It’s portable and can be adapted for use in internal combustion engines. It can also be used as a refrigerant, and in some situations a viable weapon. Long after the grid goes kaput and gasoline has turned to varnish, propane will still be usable. Basics of Propane There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of full grill bottles stacked in exchange racks throughout the country. In addition, there’s a multitude of medium and high volume tanks …




Letter Re: Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

JWR & HJL: That was another great article [on Hurricane Matthew]! A suggested alternative that I have adopted is buying a turbo diesel automobile and truck.  The benefits are simple and yet many people still have not discovered the option. Here are a few:My VW tdi as an example gets about 43 miles per gallon, so with a 15 gallon fuel tank it achieves about 600 miles plus on a  tank, and by adding three NATO style 5 gal metal cans (15 gallons total) in the trunk I have a 1,200 hundred mile cruising range. That is hard to beat. …




Letter Re: Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Good Morning, SurvivalBloggers, SurvivalBlog recently had a very good list of hurricane preparation tips in Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned, written by a Florida resident. As a former 20+ year Florida resident I’d like to add to his excellent piece. In Florida, hurricanes are a way of life, and the period from June 1 to November 30 is known as “hurricane season.” The period from December 1 to May 31 is known as “not hurricane season.”  “Not hurricane season” is when one should be doing their preparation for the other six months. During “not hurricane season” one can find plywood on …




Letter Re: Differences Between Combustible Gases

James, Hugh, Before someone gets hurt or blows themselves up, here are some more details on the gases in question. Natural gas is produced primarily from high pressure gas deposits deep within the earth, and to a lesser extent as a byproduct of oil production. Natural gas is what is provided to most homes that are connected to a gas main, served by a gas company. Natural gas is primarily Methane gas, with a formula of CH4, or one Carbon atom with four Hydrogen atoms. Methane has the disadvantage that it cannot be liquefied by compression. Natural gas must either …




Two Letters Re: Differences Between Combustible Gases

HJL, I read the article on combustible gases. You have to be very careful with the cheap conversion kits to propane for generators; almost every one of the cheap ones do not have a device to cut off the propane if the engine stops. Like loss of spark or low oil, it will keep pouring propane into the Gen set. I have been a mechanic since 1967, and these cheap kits are very dangerous. I have seen several cause explosions. – B.L. o o o Sir, I just finished reading the post about different kinds of gas and saw some …




Letter Re: Differences Between Combustible Gases

Dear Hugh, In response to D.H.’s questions on gas, I offer my thoughts. Generally, I would tell anyone to use the gas specifically recommended for the equipment they intend to use. Trying to keep it simple about the different gases, an explanation of the differences follows. The first difference between the gases is chemical makeup. Propane has three carbons atoms (and hydrogen atoms) in the molecule. Butane has four carbons, and so does its isomer iso-butane. Butane is arranged in a four carbon chain, while Iso-butane has a center carbon, with the other three carbons coming off like spokes, and …




Letter Re: Differences Between Combustible Gasses

HJL, The difference between CNG and piped-in gas to your home is simply pressure. The gas in my house is at 7 psi and if your thumb is big enough you can stop the flow. CNG could be as high as 3000 psi, and you find it in tanks for vehicles that burn natural gas and filling stations for natural gas burning vehicles. The difference between butane, propane, and natural gas is British Thermal Units (btu) generated by a cubic foot of each substance. From high school, a btu is the amount of energy it takes to raise one pound …




Letter: Resilience

HJL: When I read PrepperDoc, I order the stuff with the grand idea of implementation. Well, my first success with all that equipment was to take apart my son’s silent “Monkey George” alarm clock and solder in a new motor. I paid attention to voltage and dimensions and ordered it online. Success is defined based on: It rings (quite loudly); It does not smoke; and My eight year old son is elated. Best of all I kept a promise to my son. Lastly, my confidence level improved. I am sure I will have an EMP-proof antenna installation in no time. …




Letter Re: Backup Electric Power Design Considerations, Expat and Other Thoughts

HJL: Welding cable is a fine way to cut amperage loss in your line. However, since it is intended by the manufacturer to be used for welding and not solar system, it is labeled for welding and not labeled for building installation. Code inspectors want to see a certain label. They will not accept deviation. After all, an abundance of engineering went into what is in that code. Welding cable use would make pulling a system when bugging out much easier. (I am assuming there are a range of “bugging out” versions with regard to situational haste.) Since you cannot …




Letter Re: Observations of An Old Alaskan Bushrat

Hi Mr. Rawles, I just ran across your site and have been browsing it. Your Precepts of Survivalist Philosophy are superb. Best is that you are a 100% sold out Christian. You may find a few observations of interest, from one who has lived extensively off the grid. First, some background. I grew up in a tiny community with the surf out my front door and a thousand-year-old forest that stretched for miles in back. My father grew up on a homestead and trapline among the Sarcees of the Alberta Rocky Mountain foothills. He never had a pair of shoes …