Letter Re: A Practical PV-Powered Well Pump and Cistern System

James: I appreciate your web site, lots of good thoughtful info and no armchair commando nonsense. I rarely post on this or related blogs, but I’ve just installed two complete solar water systems and can perhaps add a bit to the backup-powered water discussion. A solar system is tailor-made for supplying water, IMHO, because instead of storing electricity in batteries for nighttime use, it stores water in a tank for use on demand, no inverters, no batteries, no fuel. Simple and effective. Both systems use Grundfos submersible pumps and two solar panels of about 170 watts each. One system pumps …







From David In Israel: On Passive Solar Water Heating

James After Passover the weather in Israel always turns hot and clear. Perfect weather to save money. American hot water heating is always on and is always wasting electricity or gas. Passive solar is cheap and simple plus it can be supplemented with electrical on cold days. It is law that every home have a passive solar water heater so I get to see the design on every house, being in the West Bank I also see that the Arab homes and mansions will always have at least one dud shemesh (sun water heater) If a commercial model is too …




Letter Re: Disinfecting Water with Chlorine Bleach

Dear Mr. Rawles, One of your readers recently mentioned using chlorine in the water tanks for household toilets as a means to preserve clean, drinkable water. I realize I need to do this. Question: how much chlorine should I use? IIRC the water tank for a typical [traditional] toilet holds approximately 5 gallons. As always, thanks for your help and for the good work you do. Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord, – S.P. JWR Replies: The more recently-manufactured toilet tanks hold only about 2.5 gallons. The guidelines for treating water from questionable sources (via boiling, chlorine, or iodine) are …




Letter Re: Alternate Short Term Sources for Drinking Water

Jim– Instead of water barrels a previous contributor mentioned in fashioning a water supply setup, surplused water heaters can be used. (1) They usually are sound, only have failed heater systems–just need flushing; (2) They are already fitted with correct interior piping and external pipe fittings; (3) If you can get one tank in the sun (make an insulated box–plans are everywhere), presto, a pre-heater for the hot water tank and a savings on your heating bill; (4) If you can get these tanks elevated, you should be able to get a little bit of extra pressure for draining off …




Letter Re: Alternate Short Term Sources for Drinking Water

Jim: Seeing the following got me thinking: “JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Sierra is typical of most suburban survivalists in that he is tied to a Big City job. I recommend that he store at least 100 gallons of water” Have you mentioned the need for people to flush their hot water heaters twice a year? This minimizes the mineral buildup and provides a fine source of drinkable water. Putting some chlorine in the toilet tanks does the same thing. This kills bacteria and upon cleaning twice a year, provides more drinkable water. I have seen systems where people have strung together 55 …




Letter Re: David in Israel on Fire Suppression and Fire Fighting

Greetings JWR, A few words about the article that David sent you on fire suppression: While I admit my wildland fire fighting experience is limited, as a member of private forest industry we do a lot for fire prevention. My associations with fire run deep. David recommended talking to state and Federal forest entities…look up your local private industry forester. Often these people are happy to give advice and know contacts of people with the equipment and knowledge to do the work at reasonable rates. First, do not wait to make a clearing around your house…make one around your property. …




David in Israel on Fire Suppression and Fire Fighting

For those with a real retreat in the forest or high desert a more pressing need than complete firearms battery is fire suppression. If you miss my point here, I believe that many survivalists confuse their gun hobby with serious survival preparations. If the massive combined fire suppression ever stops for even a year massive fires will rip across the United States. Fuel loading from over 70 years of fire suppression and no natural burn-off has made conditions ripe for fires never seen before in North America.  Even if your only survival concerns are foreign invasion or occupation expect fire …




Water–The Critical Resource

You can improvise on almost anything at a retreat except water. Without it, you and your family will become refugees, muy pronto. If you plan to buy an “in town” retreat, have a long conversation with the City Engineer before making the final selection of a town. Don’t just ask: “Is the water gravity fed?” Nine times out of ten, the engineer will answer yes, but will neglect to mention that it is gravity fed only after it is electrically pumped up hill! You are looking for a town with true end-to-end gravity fed municipal water. Such towns are often …