Tag Archives: Backdoor Survival

Survival Basics: 16 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home

With the recent proliferation of water shortages caused by wonky weather patterns, finding ways to maximize the water we do have has become a focus of preppers near and far.  That said, in addition to knowing how to find, harvest, purify, and store water, it is important to develop a lifelong habit of conserving water.

The bottom line is that careful water conservation methods will allow you to make the most of limited supplies not only following a disruptive event but also day to day as you learn to make do with what you have during a drought.

Today I share 16 ways to conserve water in in your home.  We’ll begin in the bathroom since interestingly enough, that is where 75% of all household water is used.

16 Tips to Help You Conserve Water

1.  Do not keep the bathroom faucet running.

The faucet at the bathroom sink does not need to be running continuously while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave.  You will save between three and five gallons of water each minute your faucet is turned off.  That is a lot of water! Instead, use the stopper on the sink and drain the basin when you are done.

2.  Only flush when needed.

The toilet is not a wastepaper basket for tissues, cotton balls, or other bits of trash.  Even better, flush the solids every single time but alternate flushing the liquids.

The prepper’s motto is ‘yellow, let it mellow’, ‘brown, flush it down’.

3.  Flush using less water.

Most toilets installed before 1980 use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets installed since 1994 use 1.6 gallons.

If you happen to have an older toilet, consider filling a used soda bottle or jar with water and small pebbles or marbles and place it upright in the tank.  This will cut down on the amount of water that flows through the tank with each flush.  Just be careful not to place the bottle where it will jam the flushing mechanism.  Also, make sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush.

Double flushing wastes more water than you would save.

4.  Check for leaky faucets and toilets.

It is easy to replace worn washers and since a small leak can waste many gallons of water a day, it is well worth the effort to test for leaks now.

The way to test for toilet leaks is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the colored water appears in the bowl.  This takes about 10 minutes.  If the water color changes, you have a leak.  Not to worry, though.  Most leaks can be repaired with a kit that you can pick up at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

You can find a lot of information on toilets and toilet repairs at the Toiletology 101 website, including a free course on toilet repairs.

Keep in mind that little leaks can add up quickly.  A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

Are you wondering how long the parts in your toilet tank should last?  The answer is: it depends.  Replaceable parts such as flappers and washers or seals inside the refill valve may last several years. However factors such as water treatment processes, toilet bowl cleaners, and high water pressure can cause parts to disintegrate much sooner. If you touch the flapper and get black “goo” on your hands, the flapper needs to be replaced.

5.  Check for hidden water leaks.

Check for hidden water leaks elsewhere in your home by reading your water meter.  What you do is read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed here:

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/survival-basics-16-ways-to-conserve-water-in-your-home/

 

30 Items Every Prepper Should Carry When Traveling

This is the time of year when families travel to visit friends and relatives near and far.  When taking a road trip, it is easy to throw a bug-out-bag and extra food and clothing into the trunk of your car but what if you are traveling by air?  Not only do you have those pesky baggage weight limits to deal with, but you also have the scrutiny and probing eyes (and sometimes hands) of the TSA to avoid.

Can you imagine what might happen if you showed up at the airport with a fully stocked survival kit?  I am being just a wee bit facetious but these days, you can never be too sure what will happen if someone decides to label you as a prepper.

TSA notwithstanding, today I would like to share a reminder that no matter where you go, you should include some basic preps in your carry-on or in your check-through luggage so that no matter what, you will be prepared to deal with bumps along your journey.

Here in list form, and in no particular order, is a list of 30 items every prepper should carry when traveling.

Survival Items You Should Carry When Traveling

1. A wise traveler not only carries a passport, but also a photocopy of the passport and a scanned version on a laptop, CD, or flash drive.

2. Your health insurance or Medicare card.

3. Your driver’s license, proof of car insurance, and the 24 hour claims number for your insurance company.

4. Two credits cards housed in two different places (in case one gets lost or is stolen) along with the customer service numbers for the credit card companies written down and stored someplace other than your wallet.  You might want to consider RFID sleeves for your credit cards.

5. A list of emergency contacts, including telephone numbers and email addresses.

6. A prepaid long distance card for making calls when there is no cell phone service or when the calls will be too expensive due to roaming charges.

7. A few blank checks or traveler’s checks plus some funds in the local currency (if you are traveling out of the country).

8. Prescription medications with at least 3 days over and above the number of days you plan to be gone.

9. An emergency first aid kit including bandages, pain medication, instant hot/cold packs, antibiotic ointment, lavender essential oil, an anti-diarrheal, allergy medication, heartburn medication, and anything else that you commonly use.

10. Insect repellent or essential oil alternative.

11. Sunscreen.

12. Protein or snack bars.

13. Travel tissues and a travel sized roll of TP (you would be surprised at how often this “essential” will come in handy.)

14. Baby wipes or my favorite, No Rinse Bathing Wipes.  You can wash up pretty well with these in the event you can’t take an actual shower.

15. Hand sanitizer plus sanitizer wipes (Those tray tables on planes are horrifyingly filthy – this article says they very frequently are the home for fecal matter.)

16. A mini, LED flashlight and possibly an LED headlamp as well.

17. Pocket knife or Swiss Army-style knife. (This will have to go in your checked luggage)

18. Chemical light sticks.

19. An emergency whistle. This Windstorm Safety Whistle is my favorite,.

20. Paracord in bracelet, keychain, or lanyard form for portability.

21. Water purification tabs for ensuring safe, drinkable water if supplies at your destination are compromised.

22. A portable water filter and pouch, like this Sawyer Mini kit.  The pouch takes up very little space when empty but would give you a clean container for your filtered drinking water in an emergency.

23. A small roll of duct tape and some tie wraps (also called cable wraps).

24. Mylar emergency blankets.

25. A pocket poncho for every member of your group.

26. Protective masks to wear when seated near obviously sick people (coughing and sneezing) while using public transportation.

27. Batteries (or rechargeables plus a battery charger).

28. Your cell phone charger or a USB cable to use as a charging cable.

29. Key passwords to access email accounts and online financial data.

30. Pre-printed labels with your home address, home phone number, and email address. Include one or more of these labels in each checked bag.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

How to Set-Up and Master Ham Radio Without Going Crazy, Part 1

On April 18th, I will be taking the test to get my Technician Class HAM radio license.  This is something I have been meaning to do for quite some time but honestly?  I got so wrapped up with getting my equipment, two Baofeng UV5 radios, to work that I lost sight of the goal.

To prepare for my test, I have been studying Dan Romanchik’s free guide “The Non-Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide” which is all good.  But still niggling me was the sense of failure at setting up my HAM radios.  The crazy thing is this: the license should come first because during the process of learning about amateur radio, comprehensive and understanding the gear becomes a whole lot easier.

Long story short, during on of our weekly SKYPE conference calls, I asked my friend George Ure (ham radio call sign AC7X) to help Shelly (aka the Survival Husband) and I to set up our 2-meter Baofeng ham radios which had been sitting on the shelf gathering dust. Just to be clear, it is not that I don’t think we don’t have the smartsto do the project; it’s just there weren’t any simple, easy-to-follow guides that would let us get the job done in minimum time, with minimum fuss.

So I asked George to contribute to the effort so that more preppers would have an easy-to-follow resource. Here is part 1 of How to Set Up a Ham Radio.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

16 Food Storage Tips for the Space Challenged Prepper

One of the more common prepper challenges is finding room for stored food and water. Lucky you if you have a large home with a basement or cellar – you have plenty of space at just the right temperature. But the rest of us? Not so much. Many people live in apartments, condos, mobile homes, RV’s or, in my case, a one bedroom cottage. This means we are cramped for normal pantry and closet space let alone space for our emergency food and water.

Couple the lack of storage space with the need to be mindful of the six enemies of food storage (temperature, moisture, oxygen, light, pests and time) and the storage problem compounds exponentially.

This does not have to be an impossible situation.  With a bit of creativity, almost everyone can find a bit of extra space for their emergency food storage.  So with that in mind, today I would like to offer some ideas for storing food for the space challenged.  I am going to do this by using my own home as an example.  In the photos below you will see the results of my walk-around assessment of usable storage space in my own home.

As embarrassing as it might seem to expose my messes and disorganization for the world to see, I think it will help give you some ideas where you too can find some extra space in your own home.

16 FOOD STORAGE TIPS FOR THE SPACE CHALLENGED PREPPER

1. Build some shelves under the stairwell

If you are like me, that awkward space under the stairwell is a big mess.  I actually cleaned this area out before taking the photo – that is how bad it was.  If you don’t want to build shelves, consider putting some buckets along the back wall then placing a board on top.  On top of this make-shift shelf you can store #10 tins or canned and packaged foods.  This is going to be the number one makeover in my home.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough

DIY-Antiviral-Sanitizing-SprayAlthough news of Ebola has been dominating the headlines, there is currently another nasty outbreak circulating the United States. Since August, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has caused clusters of respiratory disease in the US with over 690 people affected.  As of this writing, five children have died.

This is not something to take lightly and is reason enough to start doubling up on the frequency of hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers. This includes adults, of course, but also children who seem especially  at risk.

According to Wikipedia:

EV68 almost exclusively causes respiratory illness, and varies from mild to severe. Initial symptoms are similar to those for the common cold, including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever.

As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms may occur, including difficulty breathing as in pneumonia, reduced alertness, a reduction in urine production, and dehydration, and may lead to respiratory failure.

In addition to the copious use of hand sanitizers, there is something else you can do to potentially ward off a virus; you can create an easy to use anti-viral spray using readily available essential oils and witch hazel.  With assistance from contributing author Rebecca Schiffhauer, here is how to create your own DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray.

Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

One of the most valuable benefits of pure essential oils is their ability to kill a virus. Yes, you heard that right KILL a virus and, without side effects mind you!  This reason alone makes essential oils universally beneficial for all mankind because our bodies battle bacterial and viral infections daily. Additionally, more virulent strains of bacterial infection like MRSA are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics.  But here’s the kicker…

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.