Five days for this water test

Dad decided he would pay a plumber to replace the main water line from the meter to the house and then I could pay him back.  I hate this solution because I’m trying to do stuff for myself and I hate going into debt even to my parents, but I can’t win this fight as Dad has bypassed me and got everything going with the plumber already and I get to stand by while he “helps me”.  The plumbers will be out Monday and should get the new pipe installed in a day. Dad hasn’t told me the cost yet but I figure it will be a couple of grand at least.  No reason to bang my head against the wall on this situation as all I get is a headache and it annoys the wall.

On to how the no tap water thingy is going for the first 24 hours. I am a little muscle sore from moving the water but not like my first test which left me feeling completely exhausted. I’m not rationing my water other than by how much work I can do physically each day.  In the first 24 hours I used about 25-30 gallons of water since I didn’t really plan on going without tap water. I haven’t used paper plates/disposable products so I’m doing the dishes by hand and I managed to have enough hot water via the wood stove,  stock pots and igloo jugs I was able to have a hot bath this morning. I left the water in the tub to use for flushing the toilet via an old square laundry soap bucket that holds enough water for a couple of flushes.  Recycling your water from a bath to the rinse water from doing the dishes cuts down on some of the heavy lifting.

Tonight I made up a big batch of rice and for good rice you need to rinse it before cooking so I added the used rinse water to flush the toilet bucket.  A couple of empty buckets in the kitchen and bathroom makes recycling the water a lot easier. I am doing my dishes in a couple of small dishpans rather than the sink so I can add that rinse water to the flush the toilet bucket.  I can’t flush the toilet after every use but flushing it at least 3-5 times + a day is very doable. In the summer time I would  flush less and use some of that water for my plants or trees.

The wood stove has been a huge energy saver both physically and electrically. I can set my full stock pots on the lower part of my step top stove and have plenty of hot water in the morning.  With the two igloo insulated jugs I have about 20 gallons of hot water ready to go when I wake up.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to try out the Zodi Camp shower but I’m just going to use the pump in a bucket of hot water,  not the propane heater part because of the carbon monoxide risk using the stove indoors is a big NO GO.  The pump for the Zodi water heater is slightly to large to fit in the 15 gallon water barrel bung so I have to use a bucket or the igloo jug as the shower’s  hot water tank.

The 15 gallon water barrel seems to be just about the perfect size for my water storage and ease of use.  I have some of the large 55-60 gallon water storage barrels, but the 15 gallon barrel can be move more easily with a small  dolly into the kitchen or bathroom from it’s storage spot. It’s simple to siphon at least 10 gallons of water into a couple of the big stock pots or 5 gallon camp jugs for easy access and the last 5 gallons of water can be hand poured into a bucket or jug.   The half gallon plastic pitchers are working out great for adding water to dishpans and other smaller tasks. It might take few pitcher’s worth to fill containers but the weight is low enough (four pounds) that nearly anyone can handle that amount of weight.  If I was to recommend a basic water set up per person I would recommend one 15 gallon water barrel, one 5 gallon insulated igloo drink jug,  one five gallon bucket and one 1/2 gallon pitcher. I’d leave the igloo and 5 gallon bucket empty but fill up the 15 gallon barrel.   That would give each person a two week supply of water always on hand. The igloo jug could be filled with either hot or cold water depending on need and the season and the 5 gallon bucket could be used for gathering in rain water or as a potty bucket. Add a good water filter and that would give you a great set up for your water preparation that could fit in a closet and take up very little floor space.

One last thing for water is I keep a two gallon Rubbermaid insulated jug of hot/warm water by the bathroom sink. This jug isn’t as well insulated as the igloo type jugs but it works great for hand washing or brushing teeth and that sort of thing.  Good sanitation and hygiene are critical in an emergency or disaster. Having people balk at hand washing because the water is cold is a very bad thing. It’s a little extra work to fill up the small jug but it can payoff big time in no one getting sick from a filth disease.

8 Responses to Five days for this water test

  1. Sorry if I missed it but where are you getting the water you are using from? Sounds like you got the amounts and work arounds all figured out to a good level of convenience.

    • Jamie says:

      Pioneer, I did a small 5 day no tap water test back in spring of 2012 as a challenge/test via Kellene’s preparednesspro website and I found out that a gallon a day might work for short term disaster but when you add bathing, cooking, washing and cleanup of your house a gallon a day is a sad joke. It might keep you alive but that’s it.
      I figured I needed more water on hand before any disaster and my home needed a water plan to keep it up and functioning. So I figured I would need at least 3 gallons a day for myself and my home would need about 2-3 gallons a day to flush toilets and other stuff. So though I am single I figured about 5 gallons per day was a more realistic plan for a long term disaster of any sort.
      So I set up some rain barrels (300 gallons total so far) and I got a all kinds of food grade water barrels and a few camp/ igloo type jugs ( another 300+ gallons of safe drinking water) so I could have some options on water collection and storage.

      I’m disabled and I am somewhat limited on strength and endurance but I don’t think many people realize just how heavy water is and running down to the local stream or creek is going to be a very bad thing and people tend to be very dumb in the disposal of waste water. So I expect they will dump “Black water” down a storm drain and then be surprised they have fouled the creeks and streams they thought would be a safe water supply in an emergency.

      Since I am in the city and can’t dig a well the next best option is rain barrels. Now in an average rain year I could collect over 3000 gallons of rain water that lands on the roof of my small 1200 Sq. ft. home. I live in high desert and the seasons can vary but even in a bad drought year I should be able to collect up to 1000 gallons if I have a way to store and sanitise it.

      At this time I have about 500 gallons of potable water, about 250 gallons frozen in rain barrels and with a bit of notice in a disater I can fill another 200 gallons worth of containers fairly quickly. I figure one thousand gallons should make me water rich and I can afford to give out a 5 gallon camp jug of water or an extra 15 gallon barrel to freinds and family.

      I hope either myself on city water or my parents on a well water will do okay. We do have quite few backups. Just speaking for myself on my two water tests I have done for no tap water I’m quite afraid that many folks underestimate the how much work is needed for safe drinking water or value of potable water.

  2. Marilyn says:

    So sorry you have to go through this but so grateful you are sharing your experience. It is making me take inventory of the things I have and what I might need to add.

  3. Jamie says:

    Marilyn, No worries, stuff happens! There is a quote “If you want hear God laugh, make a plan”. This year I wanted to do all those little maintenance things that go with being a homeowner so replacing the old water main pipe fits with that idea. The timing is less than optimal from my point of view but who knows this might work out to be a good monthly money saving thing.

    I’m a bit crazy optimistic in some ways. You show me a big pile of manure and I start looking for a pony.

    I figure on the basics of water without the tap most folks could do at least as well as I can on physical stamina. For myself there was a big difference between theory and practice. I learned in the Army to wash up in a quart or two of water and while doable you are not going get truly clean though you should stay somewhat healthy.

  4. Let your dad help. I backstop my kids all the time and it gives me greater pleasure to help them out than just about anything else in life. I did plenty of scrimping in my life and I don’t want them to have to do that if I can help it.

    I’m spoiled. I have different water sources here, but I want my well and my hot water and my washer, etc. etc. I’m gotten soft in my old age. I wonder how I would do it I had to go to a manual system? I hope I don’t find out but I guess I could do it.

    • Jamie says:

      Harry, I was very arrogant on my first water test and thought it would be a breeze even with my disability. Well I got a huge wake up call and I had to end my test on day 3 because of exhaustion. I was just plain worn out from all the work. I did learn a lot so I started getting equipment to make going without tap water a lot easier.

      I think the best physical energy savers are the insulated five gallon igloo jugs and large stock pots. Getting all your hot water ready at night for the next day is a huge help. On my first water test I always seemed to be running late when I was getting ready in the morning. With the igloos already filled with hot water I don’t have to rush around in the AM.

      The wood stove is great for the winter but I would use my big propane double burner and solar oven outside. I need to add a couple of those solar camp showers in the summer to help keep the house cool when heating the water.

      For doing your laundry you could add the recycled rinse water from your dishes to your washer and do a load when you have filled the machine. I have to say that this is one of the best ways to learn water conservation. When you have to move all your water by hand, you get really stingy about water and how you use it.

      Going into day three I am over the initial soreness and while I was very tired today I was able to get a good long nap and I seem to have recovered most of my strength and energy.

      I think I could keep this up long term. As we saw in West Virginia a no tap water disaster can happen very quickly. If I loss power along with losing tap water the only change would being doing the work by lantern light and adding my generator to power the washer and drying my clothes via racks next to the wood stove instead of using the dryer.

  5. Soffitrat says:

    Shouldn’t be near that much. How long a run is it? You won’t need but 1″ at most. Unless they have to lift the house up to get under. Is it inside your slab (foundation) or just up to? If the old line (galvanized or worse) was rotten, you probably needed it anyway. They get so bad that clamps quit being a solution.

    • Jamie says:

      rat, I’m thinking the worst on cost so hopefully any surprises should be pleasant ones. Running the new pipe is going to be a fairly easy job as the plumber will avoid all the concrete slabs and just drill one hole in foundation to run the line ito the house via the basement I guesstimate about 50 feet or a bit less for the pipe run. It will be a completly new water main pipe run and they will cut /cap the old pipe.

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