Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

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Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:48 pm

So, I posted a number of years ago about getting a piece of land that my grandparents own. Well, that is getting sold and not to me, so I've decided to buy the house I'm currently living in. I'm about 75% of the way to getting it.

I don't want to get into a lot of detail quite yet because I haven't signed the paperwork and something could happen. However I'm looking for ideas of what are some things to start saving for or doing pretty quickly to make this a better for bugging in. Once I own it and I no longer have to worry about moving I'm going to start out getting water preps. I have some but right now its only a week or so for the 4 of us (we currently have 2 roommates). I want to get that up to a month, which will be easy because one roommate has 100 gallon barrels of bleach that are food grade (he runs an industrial laundry). Food right now is good, I've got lots of food for everyone.

I'm trying to think of things for the house it's self. What are some things to look into that'll make life easier. I'm mostly prepping for large Cascadia earthquake event. But of course securing the house in case of roving gangs of zombie bikers with assless chaps is a priority too.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by woodsghost » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:02 pm

Well I have seen some cool stuff with reinforcing the doors and locks. Might be moot if you have large ground level windows.

Fire extinguishers are always useful.

A camera system would be useful, but I don't know if I would put one on any house I eventually buy. I honestly just don't know.

Motion activated lights.

Alternative electricity.

Maybe a fence?

I have this fantasy of putting a 8 foot shipping container on a property some day and calling that my secure storage shed. My wife says I"m only allowed if I make it look like a real shed with walls, doors, and roof. Just food for thought.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by ManInBlack316 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:57 pm

I'd still opt for reinforcing doors and locks even if you have large windows, you can at least make them crawl through broken glass :awesome: But there is film to make windows a little stronger, it might buy time at least.
Depending on yard space/area/time of year, I'd start prepping your soil if you want to start a garden to help with preps and knowledge.
Redo the fire alarms to better quality with CO2 detectors.
Make more effort to know the neighbors, lots of renters don't know their neighbors and lots of neighbors don't want to bother getting to know renters, so now might be a good time to start.
How's the fence? Think about putting one up or repairing/improving the current one.
How old is the water heater? When was the AC system last serviced? Looking in to these now so you're prepared for later might help.
If you're not required to, consider hiring a home inspector to inspect the home. You might be surprised at what they can find, mine even listed everything and provided pictures through email. Getting the home better prepared so you have more time/money for preps.
Oh, and you're gonna need one of these
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We have one week till we move into our first house. So I've been thinking/wondering about the same things.

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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 1:21 am

So only one window at ground level, and a sliding door (there are two in the house, which I want to replace). The windows are all 2 layer, but are the originals from when the Jude was built in the 70s.

The fences are good all around except the back one it fell in a wind storm. But the neighbors are selling it and will be replacing it. The neighbors all around we are on good terms with, the guy across the street we sold a car to, and exchanged ammo. I generally make sure I know the immediate neighbors, i do a lot of shushing and crabbing and will offer a couple dungeness or a filet of salmon if I get a good haul.

Water heater might need to be replaced in the next 5 years, it leaks a little more than normal but that's what happens when it's over worked. It's in the garage and leaks outside so it's not doing any harm. And we live in WA almost no one has AC. But the heater was serviced while we lived here and was in good shape.

I definitely like the camera idea that might be one I look at. Though I left for 2 weeks (before roommates) and had packages sitting on the porch when we got back. Hadn't been bothered.

Co, co2 and smoke detectors will be going in definitely.

Thanks guys! Great ideas!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Mon May 01, 2017 5:54 am

Halfapint wrote:So, I posted a number of years ago about getting a piece of land that my grandparents own. Well, that is getting sold and not to me...
That sucks, I'm sorry.
...But of course securing the house in case of roving gangs of zombie bikers with assless chaps is a priority too.
Thanks for that mental image, first thing in the morning before I have even finished my coffee! :clap:

I would encourage you to look beyond 'supplies on hand' and start asking 'what happens if these supplies run out before things return to status quo'.

Are you on a well or do you have a rain collection system?

Do you have a still- they ain't just for moonshine.

Are you on a septic tank, or can you add one as a backup? You want to keep the poop out of the house!

Do you have space for a high tunnel or green house- you can also look at gray water reclamation in conjunction with this which will help keep your septic tank empty and last longer.

Have you considered hydroponics? It not just for cannabis!

Alternative power has already been mentioned, so I'm just repeating that. Solar, wind, and even hydroelectric pipe fittings.

Do you have a place you can keep live stock? Even a backyard chicken flock could make the difference.

Most of this is probably pretty elementary for you, Halfapint- but sometimes we post stuff not for each other but for new preppers.

And now I feel like a damn dirty hippie! Thanks, asshole! :mrgreen:
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by DarkAxel » Mon May 01, 2017 8:26 am

Sucks about the property you were looking at.

Before you sign anything, I highly suggest you get an inspector to come out and go over the house. They look for structural deficiencies and any other issues that can cause trouble down the line, and IMHO are well worth the money. You can use their report to get the seller to fix things before you buy, or you can use it as a negotiating tool to get the price down some. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your landlord, but buying a house is a bit different than renting, and seeing as you are already renting from them it is their responsibility to make sure the home is safe and within code. You would be well within your rights to insist that your landlord fix any problems even if you don't buy.

And I wouldn't wait 5 years to replace that hot water heater. Even if the water is running outside (from the drain pan?) a lot of that moisture is still hanging around. It can lead to mildew, dangerous black mold, and rot. A leaking water heater can also mean high water bills (if its on a municipal water system), and high electric or gas bills. If your current water heater is getting overworked, you might consider getting a bigger one installed. Hot water heaters are also a good source of potable water in an emergency, so the bigger the better.

You might also consider using the empty space in the interior walls to make hiding spots for some of your preps. The studs should be on 16" centers, so that equates to a space that is 14.5" wide, 3.5" deep, and as tall as you want it (beware of wiring and plumbing). You can cram a lot of canned goods in that space, or make a hidey hole for a rifle and some magazines.

Something else you should look into is insurance. Renters insurance for now, homeowners after you buy. It won't help your preps if Cascadia lets loose and flattens your home, but if your policy covers earthquakes it can lessen the financial impact.

Smoke detectors are a must, of course. A CO detector if you heat with anything but electric (keep this in mind for backup heating sources, too). Tapco screens for those ground-level windows and sliding glass doors. Later on down the road you should consider replacing the windows with newer low E windows. Look into door jamb armor, too.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by JayceSlayn » Mon May 01, 2017 10:25 am

The only thing I'd add that hasn't already been said, would be to secure all of the large/heavy objects in the house (including the water heater, etc.) to the wall if they haven't already been. A roll of perforated steel strapping and a handful of screws can probably get your whole house done. In an earthquake-prone area, it is especially good to have, though it probably won't be doing you any favors in a 8.0+ situation...
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Mon May 01, 2017 12:09 pm

I would go with the cheaper amazon security system that you can wire to your cell phone. Maybe a motion detector one that turns on when it senses motion. Kinda like a baby monitor. That's what was suggested to me in a thread I started when I needed help burglar-proofing my apartment.

Also, I know it's cynical, but what's gonna happen to your roommates if you buy the house? Isn't the point of buying so you don't have to have roommates? I've had good and bad roommates, but I would never want them living in my own personal house unless I really needed the rent money from them.

Lastly, I always wanted to build a vault/locker/cabinet style storage container out of an old water heater. They are basically free, and I feel like if you put one in an oen closet or basement, an intruder would never think about looking for a secret door. If wouldn't need to be bank vault tough because no one would ever try... who breaks into a water heater?
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 12:10 pm

Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:
Halfapint wrote:So, I posted a number of years ago about getting a piece of land that my grandparents own. Well, that is getting sold and not to me...
That sucks, I'm sorry.
...But of course securing the house in case of roving gangs of zombie bikers with assless chaps is a priority too.
Thanks for that mental image, first thing in the morning before I have even finished my coffee! :clap:

I would encourage you to look beyond 'supplies on hand' and start asking 'what happens if these supplies run out before things return to status quo'.

Are you on a well or do you have a rain collection system?

No water collection as of yet but it will be added over time. It's something I'll put in once I get the garden set up.

Do you have a still- they ain't just for moonshine.

funny thing you say this, once I get the house I was thinking of applying for the ethanol license to make fuel

Are you on a septic tank, or can you add one as a backup? You want to keep the poop out of the house!

not on septic, and cant put it in.

Do you have space for a high tunnel or green house- you can also look at gray water reclamation in conjunction with this which will help keep your septic tank empty and last longer.

technically have a green house. One of those cheap dome type that's made out of corrugated plastic. There's a spot on the side of the house I was thinking of actually building a proper one that you can walk into and have some things we may not normally be able to grow here in the pacific northwet

Have you considered hydroponics? It not just for cannabis!

I was actually thinking more along the lines of a aquaponics system. there's currently a small decorative stream/pond I was thinking of enlarging the pond and adding trout or something to it. Though that's a few years in the future. For now I will stick with just standard agriculture for the short to medium term.

Alternative power has already been mentioned, so I'm just repeating that. Solar, wind, and even hydroelectric pipe fittings.

Yes, alternative power is something I'm looking at, though this will be a while down the road. If I do it, I want to do it properly with a good batteries and the like. It'll probably be solar, Possibly a micro wind turbine or two depending on wind speeds on top of the house.

Do you have a place you can keep live stock? Even a backyard chicken flock could make the difference.

chickens and rabbits I believe will be on the menu. Chickens will be both meat and egg, rabbits for meat

Most of this is probably pretty elementary for you, Halfapint- but sometimes we post stuff not for each other but for new preppers.

There's a reason why I asked for ideas. I want some input and ideas even if I've thought of them it I can come back and check this thread for things I may have forgotten. I'm also going to sit down with the gf and figure out what we can budget for and how fast we can get things done!

And now I feel like a damn dirty hippie! Thanks, asshole! :mrgreen:

yhou are a dirty hippy, now shut up ad eat your kale!!!
======================
DarkAxel wrote:Sucks about the property you were looking at.

Before you sign anything, I highly suggest you get an inspector to come out and go over the house. They look for structural deficiencies and any other issues that can cause trouble down the line, and IMHO are well worth the money. You can use their report to get the seller to fix things before you buy, or you can use it as a negotiating tool to get the price down some. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your landlord, but buying a house is a bit different than renting, and seeing as you are already renting from them it is their responsibility to make sure the home is safe and within code. You would be well within your rights to insist that your landlord fix any problems even if you don't buy.

It was actually inspected right before we moved in. the roof was the only issue, and it has another 15+ years on it but it needs to be cleaned because there is some moss growing on it.

And I wouldn't wait 5 years to replace that hot water heater. Even if the water is running outside (from the drain pan?) a lot of that moisture is still hanging around. It can lead to mildew, dangerous black mold, and rot. A leaking water heater can also mean high water bills (if its on a municipal water system), and high electric or gas bills. If your current water heater is getting overworked, you might consider getting a bigger one installed. Hot water heaters are also a good source of potable water in an emergency, so the bigger the better.

The water heater will be getting replaced, however probably not until next year at the earliest. It only leaks (over flows) in the morning when 4 people are taking showers and its trying to keep up with the hot water. There's no issue with it getting moldy or anything thing else because it's all concrete, and it drains about 3 feet outside, but good concerns.

You might also consider using the empty space in the interior walls to make hiding spots for some of your preps. The studs should be on 16" centers, so that equates to a space that is 14.5" wide, 3.5" deep, and as tall as you want it (beware of wiring and plumbing). You can cram a lot of canned goods in that space, or make a hidey hole for a rifle and some magazines.

That might be an option in the future, right now there's a closet under the stairs (it'll actually be turned into my gun safe), and a crawl space behind it that has quite a bit of room for hidden preps like long terms storage food.

Something else you should look into is insurance. Renters insurance for now, homeowners after you buy. It won't help your preps if Cascadia lets loose and flattens your home, but if your policy covers earthquakes it can lessen the financial impact.

home owners insurance is a definite (actually I believe required here in WA)

Smoke detectors are a must, of course. A CO detector if you heat with anything but electric (keep this in mind for backup heating sources, too). Tapco screens for those ground-level windows and sliding glass doors. Later on down the road you should consider replacing the windows with newer low E windows. Look into door jamb armor, too.
JayceSlayn wrote:The only thing I'd add that hasn't already been said, would be to secure all of the large/heavy objects in the house (including the water heater, etc.) to the wall if they haven't already been. A roll of perforated steel strapping and a handful of screws can probably get your whole house done. In an earthquake-prone area, it is especially good to have, though it probably won't be doing you any favors in a 8.0+ situation...

per WA law all water heaters have to be strapped. but I'll be going through and adding anchors to other items. really not much else to strap down in the house though. I don't have any large furniture. but some of the books shelves will be anchored once I figure out what's being kept and what's getting replaced.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 12:14 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote:I would go with the cheaper amazon security system that you can wire to your cell phone. Maybe a motion detector one that turns on when it senses motion. Kinda like a baby monitor. That's what was suggested to me in a thread I started when I needed help burglar-proofing my apartment.

Also, I know it's cynical, but what's gonna happen to your roommates if you buy the house? Isn't the point of buying so you don't have to have roommates? I've had good and bad roommates, but I would never want them living in my own personal house unless I really needed the rent money from them.

Lastly, I always wanted to build a vault/locker/cabinet style storage container out of an old water heater. They are basically free, and I feel like if you put one in an oen closet or basement, an intruder would never think about looking for a secret door. If wouldn't need to be bank vault tough because no one would ever try... who breaks into a water heater?
Neither me nor the gf mind either of the roommates. I've known them for going on 10 years and it's nice having people around. One is looking at moving, the other will probably stick around. Doesn't bother us, plus the 2 of them will almost cover the cost of the mortgage. Sooooooo that's nice.

Good idea on the old water heater. there's actually space where the water heater is currently at to place a second one. that might be something I think about. running some fake pipes into the ceiling and using it as a stash. Cool idea!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Cowgirl » Mon May 01, 2017 12:32 pm

So, I don't know what you have done, or not, already. I'm just going to toss out some thoughts as I've moved and started over again on several different homesteads.

Shelter:

Check your weather sealing, caulking, etc. In a blackout in chilly weather, you'll appreciate not having uncomfortable drafts, and your heating bills will be lower during normal times.

Check your insulation levels too, for similar reasons.

Is the roof in good repair? Gutters? Siding? Foundation? Mechanicals? If not, make sure they are all doing well or upgrade.

Heating:

Of course, make sure your primary heat source is in good repair. And assure that you have an appropriate fuel supply (if applicable). Then consider what your back-up heating will be in a disaster. A wood stove? Or?

Water:

How safe is your primary supply of water? Test it. Add appropriate filtration or treatment as necessary. I live in the country on well water, but remember that while municipalities are supposed to supply safe potable water, they don't always do so. Once you have the primary dealt with, what is your secondary water supply in a disaster? Water catchment? Or?

Sewer:

If you are on a septic, remember to keep it healthy. If you are on a city sewer, make sure your line to the sewer is kept free of tree roots and be sure you have a valve to prevent backwash from sewer backing up. Do you have a backup plan in case of failure? Consider what to do with gray water. Possibly go ahead and set up a gray water system in your yard. And what about human waste? Have an ability to set up a composting toilet in place, with a supply of sawdust at the ready?

Trash:

In any disaster, trash pick-up stops. What is your back-up plan for trash disposal? How much or little trash will your preps generate?

Consider setting up a composter now, so that you can reduce your waste now, and more importantly during a disaster when you can't get rid of it any other way.

Security:

Consider giving your home a security check-up: Deadbolt locks, hardened entries, window locks, window films, fencing, landscaping.

Do you want a safe room? If so, consider where it might go in your home. These can be useful in the event of a home invasion, times of civil unrest, or as a storm shelter. They can also be useful places for securing firearms and prep items.

Food:

What do you have stored, and for how long can it sustain you, your household, and any expected team members, family, friends, etc. that you expect may show up during a disaster? Consider your own personal worst case scenario and plan accordingly. Now, do you have a safe, secure place to store it?

Cooking:

What is your back-up plan for cooking? Grill? Wood burner? Solar? Do you have the appropriate fuel stocked and stored?

Power:

Is your power up to code? Does it need to be upgraded? How is the grounding? Once basic power is addressed, what is your back-up power in case of disaster? A generator? If so, do you have the home wired to accept its power? And, do you have sufficient fuel? Or, how about solar? A solar set-up could cost more, particularly with a battery back-up and off grid capability for disasters (grid tied solar without that goes down with the grid), but it could also free you from grid dependence and costs, in whole or in part.

Lighting:

What emergency lighting do you have? Do you have any off-grid (battery or solar) motion activated lights? These are great for emergencies and can also be nice for security.

Earthquake Prepping:

Depending on how and when your home was constructed, it may not be as earthquake resistant as you'd like. Have it inspected for just such issues, and then consider how you can improve it. Strapping is useful for all things that could fall over, such as furnaces, water heaters, water softeners, etc. Fasten tall furniture to the walls (bookcases, armoires, etc.). Also, if you do anything which opens up a wall, for remodeling, etc., consider running ties from foundation to roof sill. And, if you were to, for example, re-side your house, remember that horizontal strapping has also been shown to improve a structure's earthquake survival.

Best wishes for your home owning future!

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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 1:21 pm

Some stuff I've already covered, but I will respond to the ones I haven't.
Cowgirl wrote:So, I don't know what you have done, or not, already. I'm just going to toss out some thoughts as I've moved and started over again on several different homesteads.

Shelter:

Check your weather sealing, caulking, etc. In a blackout in chilly weather, you'll appreciate not having uncomfortable drafts, and your heating bills will be lower during normal times.

Check your insulation levels too, for similar reasons.

Is the roof in good repair? Gutters? Siding? Foundation? Mechanicals? If not, make sure they are all doing well or upgrade.

Heating:

Of course, make sure your primary heat source is in good repair. And assure that you have an appropriate fuel supply (if applicable). Then consider what your back-up heating will be in a disaster. A wood stove? Or?

calking and everything good, the only draft is the door from the downstairs to the garage. I'll be adding a strip to the bottom to seal it better asap. The main heat is electric, there is a fireplace in the house, it doesn't get used much by the previous owner, however I prefer wood heat because it's cheaper. So I'll be using it in the winter instead of the heater.

Water:

How safe is your primary supply of water? Test it. Add appropriate filtration or treatment as necessary. I live in the country on well water, but remember that while municipalities are supposed to supply safe potable water, they don't always do so. Once you have the primary dealt with, what is your secondary water supply in a disaster? Water catchment? Or?

water is fantastic, it's been tested and is low on all levels. Back up will be water storage inside, and I'll be adding water catchment relatively soon

Sewer:

If you are on a septic, remember to keep it healthy. If you are on a city sewer, make sure your line to the sewer is kept free of tree roots and be sure you have a valve to prevent backwash from sewer backing up. Do you have a backup plan in case of failure? Consider what to do with gray water. Possibly go ahead and set up a gray water system in your yard. And what about human waste? Have an ability to set up a composting toilet in place, with a supply of sawdust at the ready?

on sewer, not exactly what I wanted I prefer septic but.... oh well. The previous owner actually installed a one way valve so it cant get backed up. We are in the highland so everything flows down backup shouldn't occur but it does have the back up valve.

Trash:

In any disaster, trash pick-up stops. What is your back-up plan for trash disposal? How much or little trash will your preps generate?

Consider setting up a composter now, so that you can reduce your waste now, and more importantly during a disaster when you can't get rid of it any other way.

we don't generate much garbage. most of what we do generate is recycleable, we have the smallest garbage can we can get. Most everything else can be burned in the fireplace.

Security:

Consider giving your home a security check-up: Deadbolt locks, hardened entries, window locks, window films, fencing, landscaping.

Do you want a safe room? If so, consider where it might go in your home. These can be useful in the event of a home invasion, times of civil unrest, or as a storm shelter. They can also be useful places for securing firearms and prep items.

Food:

What do you have stored, and for how long can it sustain you, your household, and any expected team members, family, friends, etc. that you expect may show up during a disaster? Consider your own personal worst case scenario and plan accordingly. Now, do you have a safe, secure place to store it?

food isn't a real concern, I've got plenty of beans, rice, lentils, and tinned meats. I recently got a shipment of a dozen MREs and I've got lots of MH meals and #10 cans of MH stuff as well.

Cooking:

What is your back-up plan for cooking? Grill? Wood burner? Solar? Do you have the appropriate fuel stocked and stored?

I'm a stove hoarder, I have more ways to cook than I should probably admit. I've got 2 coleman dual burner stoves, 4 of the single burner type, 4 whisperlites, 3 pocket rocket type, alcohol stoves, gasifier stoves, I'm building my own rocket stove. On top of that I've got about 6 dutch ovens so if I need I can cook in the fireplace. plus a gas grill, with 5 spare tanks.

Power:

Is your power up to code? Does it need to be upgraded? How is the grounding? Once basic power is addressed, what is your back-up power in case of disaster? A generator? If so, do you have the home wired to accept its power? And, do you have sufficient fuel? Or, how about solar? A solar set-up could cost more, particularly with a battery back-up and off grid capability for disasters (grid tied solar without that goes down with the grid), but it could also free you from grid dependence and costs, in whole or in part.

have a generator, not hooked up to the house that is something that'll be long term. right now it powers the refrigerator and the stove. plus some lighting

Lighting:

What emergency lighting do you have? Do you have any off-grid (battery or solar) motion activated lights? These are great for emergencies and can also be nice for security.

I have a battery bank that is for small electronics and small lighting. I also have oil lamps 2 nice ones, and a couple homemade ones that work really darn well for being aluminum cans.

Earthquake Prepping:

Depending on how and when your home was constructed, it may not be as earthquake resistant as you'd like. Have it inspected for just such issues, and then consider how you can improve it. Strapping is useful for all things that could fall over, such as furnaces, water heaters, water softeners, etc. Fasten tall furniture to the walls (bookcases, armoires, etc.). Also, if you do anything which opens up a wall, for remodeling, etc., consider running ties from foundation to roof sill. And, if you were to, for example, re-side your house, remember that horizontal strapping has also been shown to improve a structure's earthquake survival.

this is something I want to check, and make sure the house is bolted to the foundation. Straps will be added later if I redo the sides, but that wont be for a very long time

Best wishes for your home owning future!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Mon May 01, 2017 3:31 pm

@ Halfapint:

Still: I was talking about for water purification. But once upon a time I had planned to get two stills, one for making methanol (as a base ingredient for Bio-Diesel) and one for water and other consumables. At this moment we have one still, Mrs. Morphine is trying to move our family away from dependency on combustion engines. (And I feel like a fucking hippie, again!)

Hydroponics vs. Aquaponics: honestly, I thought the terms were interchangeable. So thanks to you I learned something new today! AQUAPONICS is what I meant to suggest.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 5:21 pm

Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:@ Halfapint:

Still: I was talking about for water purification. But once upon a time I had planned to get two stills, one for making methanol (as a base ingredient for Bio-Diesel) and one for water and other consumables. At this moment we have one still, Mrs. Morphine is trying to move our family away from dependency on combustion engines. (And I feel like a fucking hippie, again!)

Hydroponics vs. Aquaponics: honestly, I thought the terms were interchangeable. So thanks to you I learned something new today! AQUAPONICS is what I meant to suggest.
OOOOH, honestly I didn't think of water purification when you said still! but yeah they do a great job of making drinkable water good point hiro!

Yes aquaponics are using a fish shit as fertilizer instead of manmade stuff. I've actually been doing research for years on this. I even started a VERY small scale one mostly a proof of concept at my parents a few years ago. used a kiddie pool threw in some tilapia (gag), and fed them chicken shit which worked well to grow some small scale vegies. Worked alright but definitely needed to be tweaked to work better.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by yossarian » Mon May 01, 2017 6:31 pm

A traditional open fireplace is a terrible way to heat a house. It will draw heat from distant rooms and send it straight out through the chimney. A freestanding wood stove or a fireplace insert would serve you much, much better. As would lining the old chimney if its brick or clay pipe. Better and safer burning.

I understand burning garbage if you have to, but its a terrible habit to get into. The extra soot and creosote is hard on your flue.

A little drafty doesn't hurt with wood heat. As long as its not excessive, you can usually use it to your advantage to move the heat through the house.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 01, 2017 7:42 pm

yossarian wrote:A traditional open fireplace is a terrible way to heat a house. It will draw heat from distant rooms and send it straight out through the chimney. A freestanding wood stove or a fireplace insert would serve you much, much better. As would lining the old chimney if its brick or clay pipe. Better and safer burning.

I understand burning garbage if you have to, but its a terrible habit to get into. The extra soot and creosote is hard on your flue.

A little drafty doesn't hurt with wood heat. As long as its not excessive, you can usually use it to your advantage to move the heat through the house.
Yes this is a traditional open face fireplace. I will be adding doors to it if I can. If I cannot it will be one of the first things I will want to add to the house is an actual fire insert. Unfortunately I cant have a free standing fireplace but a forced air insert will work well, my parents had one and it heated the rom well, and with a fan it would heat up the back of the house pretty well. Of course if the power is out a fan wont work unless a generator is running.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by woodsghost » Mon May 01, 2017 11:58 pm

I did some quick reading of the recent posts and responses.

There is a focus on city vs. septic field sewage. Two things popped into mind. (or should I say...."pooped into mind'.....)




Also, raptor and others have talked about being aware of how many people are higher than you in the sewage pipe system. The more people there are on higher ground the more can come your way when things stop working or get backed up. I believe I remember reading there are valves that can be put in place to make sure it does not come up your bathroom pipes. But obviously I am short on details. Someone more expert in all that will have to chime in.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by LowKey » Tue May 02, 2017 2:36 am

Halfapint wrote:
yossarian wrote:A traditional open fireplace is a terrible way to heat a house. It will draw heat from distant rooms and send it straight out through the chimney. A freestanding wood stove or a fireplace insert would serve you much, much better. As would lining the old chimney if its brick or clay pipe. Better and safer burning.

I understand burning garbage if you have to, but its a terrible habit to get into. The extra soot and creosote is hard on your flue.

A little drafty doesn't hurt with wood heat. As long as its not excessive, you can usually use it to your advantage to move the heat through the house.
Yes this is a traditional open face fireplace. I will be adding doors to it if I can. If I cannot it will be one of the first things I will want to add to the house is an actual fire insert. Unfortunately I cant have a free standing fireplace but a forced air insert will work well, my parents had one and it heated the rom well, and with a fan it would heat up the back of the house pretty well. Of course if the power is out a fan wont work unless a generator is running.
Rebrick the fireplace into a Rumsford design. Not perfect, but better than the classic big open firebox.
If my guess as to your general location is correct you may benefit a bit if the fireplace can help reduce indoor humidity, and IIRC your state has some fairly draconian regulations of wood stoves and the building of any NEW fireplaces, so rebricking the old one's firebox rather than replacing it would probably be in your better interests. Rebricking shouldn't require permits, btw. It's just maintenance... not new construction. :awesome:
Last edited by LowKey on Tue May 02, 2017 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by LowKey » Tue May 02, 2017 3:05 am

1- Pay for your own home inspection. The one your landlord had done was for his benefit, not yours and you want to be sure that you have all the details of any potential problems.
2- Replace the water heater with an on demand. NG if you have gas lines running to the house, propane if you have a tank and other propane appliances, and electric if not. I'd switch any heat generating device (stove, oven, water heater, household heating, ect) over to those utilities in that order of preference (with the exception of a clothes dryer...leave that electric) as NG will keep coming even if the power is out for quite some time, and a properly sized residential propane tank will run your stuff for the better part of a year without a refill.
3- Upgrade doors and locks. Build some heavy duty window shutters with decorative veneers to hang outside. They should serve double duty for storm debris and security.
4- Make sure the ground around your house is properly graded to move water away from the house. Make sure gutter downspouts are not directing water to your foundations.
5- Water catchment.Speaking of gutters ^ , daisy chain some 55gal drums together to make a very large tank (use shutoffs between them in case you spring a leak) and direct your downspout to them. There is a special section of downspout you can install that is designed to dump the first bit of water from the gutters so that debris from the roof are flushed out before water starts being collected.
6- Plant food bearing trees and shrubs now. Those take some time to start bearing in quantity. Depending on lot size you may want semi-dwarf. Also edible landscaping as much as possible.
7- Build an in ground greenhouse if possible. If you're very slick, put a fish tank in there as well, aquaponics or not, to serve as a thermal flywheel. BTW, black soldier fly larvae are a good way to turn garbage into fish and chicken feed.

BTW, any of theses improvements that can be done without a permit or which are not currently regulated in some manner...do them now. At least get them started and as far along as possible so they would be grandfathered in if permits become required.
Anything that requires permits, get the permits and get the work started before some precious soul come along and makes the standards more onerous.
Also get to know your local codes; set backs, permits, noise ordinances, nuisance ordinances, noxious weed control requirements, ect. You don't want to be bitten on the ass by code enforcement.

Most importantly, get good homeowners insurance and keep it up to date. Also try to have 6 months worth of mortgage payments sitting in the bank just in case your regular source of income goes belly up. That's six months of payments, not six months of your share of the rent.....you're going to be the owner now and for the sake of caution you have to assume your tenants/roommates will flake out on you at some point.
You may also want to look into a formal rental agreement with those roommates.


There's lots more but those are some quick ones just off the top of my head.
Good Luck!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by KnifeStyle » Tue May 02, 2017 9:01 am

Tagging this, I'm in the exact same situation.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Tue May 02, 2017 11:26 am

LowKey wrote:1- Pay for your own home inspection. The one your landlord had done was for his benefit, not yours and you want to be sure that you have all the details of any potential problems.
The one he had was extensive when he got he refinanced his house and was converting it to a rental didn't want to have any issues. However my credit union is going to do one its part of the closing costs
2- Replace the water heater with an on demand. NG if you have gas lines running to the house, propane if you have a tank and other propane appliances, and electric if not. I'd switch any heat generating device (stove, oven, water heater, household heating, ect) over to those utilities in that order of preference (with the exception of a clothes dryer...leave that electric) as NG will keep coming even if the power is out for quite some time, and a properly sized residential propane tank will run your stuff for the better part of a year without a refill.
I was thinking about an ondemand water heater, however I really like the idea of having 50gallons of water stored in the water heater in case of emergency.
3- Upgrade doors and locks. Build some heavy duty window shutters with decorative veneers to hang outside. They should serve double duty for storm debris and security.
the doors will be done pretty quickly, windows will be upgraded in the 5-10year plan because they are old. the 2 sliding doors and the one window at ground level are going to have coverings put on them to protect them from being smashed in however. the rest of the windows are 15ft in the air and rather hard to get to.
4- Make sure the ground around your house is properly graded to move water away from the house. Make sure gutter downspouts are not directing water to your foundations.
this was actually done about 15 years ago. the house is on a bi level lot. the ground imedicately around the house is at one level and in the backyard it goes up about 12 feet. at the base of the hill around the house 10foot French trains were put in to keep water from pooling around the foundation. The down spouts have French drains all around them to divert the water down and away
5- Water catchment.Speaking of gutters ^ , daisy chain some 55gal drums together to make a very large tank (use shutoffs between them in case you spring a leak) and direct your downspout to them. There is a special section of downspout you can install that is designed to dump the first bit of water from the gutters so that debris from the roof are flushed out before water starts being collected.
I have a line with getting 100(or there about) drums, So I will be stacking 2 of those on the rear corners of the house and diverting the water from the front to them. with over flow which goes to the long trench French drain in the back due to the influx of water from the front. That is in the first/second year plan
6- Plant food bearing trees and shrubs now. Those take some time to start bearing in quantity. Depending on lot size you may want semi-dwarf. Also edible landscaping as much as possible.
I wrote this up about 4 times and decided to go with a short and sweet version of it because I haven't closed. But this is the first project for the summer, I want 4-8 fruit trees and 1-2 nut trees put in this summer. With blueberries, and gooseberries to follow shortly after. I've got 2 trees which are coming down on the property immediately, and some other stuff to be removed (suburban keeping up with the jones's bullshit beautification).
7- Build an in ground greenhouse if possible. If you're very slick, put a fish tank in there as well, aquaponics or not, to serve as a thermal flywheel. BTW, black soldier fly larvae are a good way to turn garbage into fish and chicken feed.
There's a spot on the western wall of the house that was used to store all the large rocks when the previous owner was grading and making the French drains. I'll be moving those rocks and putting in a about a 15' long 5-6' wide greenhouse in there. That's most likely a 2 year project unless I come up with the extra cash. That'll be the big thing I make with next years bonus.

BTW, any of theses improvements that can be done without a permit or which are not currently regulated in some manner...do them now. At least get them started and as far along as possible so they would be grandfathered in if permits become required.
Anything that requires permits, get the permits and get the work started before some precious soul come along and makes the standards more onerous.
Also get to know your local codes; set backs, permits, noise ordinances, nuisance ordinances, noxious weed control requirements, ect. You don't want to be bitten on the ass by code enforcement.

Most importantly, get good homeowners insurance and keep it up to date. Also try to have 6 months worth of mortgage payments sitting in the bank just in case your regular source of income goes belly up. That's six months of payments, not six months of your share of the rent.....you're going to be the owner now and for the sake of caution you have to assume your tenants/roommates will flake out on you at some point.
You may also want to look into a formal rental agreement with those roommates.
great advice, this is something that the gf and I have talked about, we were going to dump her savings and put it into a down payment but we instead opted to move it to the joint account for the mortgage payment. Right now it's sitting at about 10months, we may take a little out to do some interior redecorating and getting a new couch. but the rest will be in there for a rainy day fun. Great advice for everyone regardless of new homeowner or not!


There's lots more but those are some quick ones just off the top of my head.
Good Luck!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by LowKey » Tue May 02, 2017 12:04 pm

Halfapint wrote:I was thinking about an ondemand water heater, however I really like the idea of having 50gallons of water stored in the water heater in case of emergency.
Bear with me bringing this point up again, I promise you I'm not trying to bludgeon a dead equine here :lol:

Any conventional water heater (one that uses a tank) tries to keep the water inside...all 50 gallons in your case...at the set temperature 24/7. They have just enough insulation to get certified as "Energy Efficient", as more insulation would cost the manufacturer money that he won't see a profit on. Your water heaters heating element will be switching on and off repeatedly during the day and night to keep the water at set temperature even if you haven't used a drop of hot water all day. Or all week or all month if you've been on vacation. If you switch it off because you're being clever and trying to save that cost while you go away for a week or a month, it's going to take a bit to heat all that water back up...assuming that your heating element hasn't died.
Also, you may be unfamiliar with the joys of a water heater rupturing; the explosive sort fortunately being rare these days due to pressure relief valves...which will still flood the room where the water heater is located, and what I like to refer to as the "soft tsunami" as the bottom or side lets go due to internal rusting that you can not see.

On demand heaters only heat the water as you need it. The hot water is instant (give or take the time it needs to run through the pipe to the faucet). If electric, you can get smaller point of use ones that will fit under the counter in the kitchen and bathrooms. A great thing is that there is no water reservoir to burst. :awesome:

If you want 50 or so gallons of water as a buffer, use one of those 55 gallon plastic drums. They don't rust and they won't waste money by trying to keep the water hot.



In any case, if you've got a 50+ gallon container of water inside your home, make sure you secure it to solid framing with some heavy strapping so it wont shift or topple in an earthquake.


At a slight tangent to all this-
By a dozen or so shut off valves appropriate to whatever type of plumbing you have (pvc, PEX. copper pipe, ect) and install them in your supply lines just before any plumbing fixtures that don't already have them AND at any major branching. As a homeowner it can be quite handy to be able to shut off the water to the bathroom without shutting off the kitchen or vice versa. Economy of scale makes it too expensive for developers to do this, but you can spare the chump change and you'll be very glad of it when you can shut the water in a wall off at 2 AM to stop a mystery leak yet still be able to have running water in the other end of the home.
Last edited by LowKey on Tue May 02, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by Halfapint » Tue May 02, 2017 12:29 pm

LowKey wrote:
Halfapint wrote:I was thinking about an ondemand water heater, however I really like the idea of having 50gallons of water stored in the water heater in case of emergency.
Bear with me bringing this point up again, I promise you I'm not trying to bludgeon a dead equine here :lol:

Any conventional water heater (one that uses a tank) tries to keep the water inside...all 50 gallons in your case...at the set temperature 24/7. They have just enough insulation to get certified as "Energy Efficient", as more insulation would cost the manufacturer money that he won't see a profit on. Your water heaters heating element will be switching on and off repeatedly during the day and night to keep the water at set temperature even if you haven't used a drop of hot water all day. Or all week or all month if you've been on vacation. If you switch it off because you're being clever and trying to save that cost while you go away for a week or a month, it's going to take a bit to heat all that water back up...assuming that your heating element hasn't died.
Also, you may be unfamiliar with the joys of a water heater rupturing; the explosive sort fortunately being rare these days due to pressure relief valves...which will still flood the room where the water heater is located, and what I like to refer to as the "soft tsunami" as the bottom or side lets go due to internal rusting that you can not see.

On demand heaters only heat the water as you need it. The hot water is instant (give or take the time it needs to run through the pipe to the faucet). If electric, you can get smaller point of use ones that will fit under the counter in the kitchen and bathrooms. A great thing is that there is no water reservoir to burst. :awesome:

If you want 50 or so gallons of water as a buffer, use one of those 55 gallon plastic drums. They don't rust and they won't waste money by trying to keep the water hot.



In any case, if you've got a 50+ gallon container of water inside your home, make sure you secure it to solid framing with some heavy strapping so it wont shit or topple in an earthquake.


At a slight tangent to all this-
By a dozen or so shut off valves appropriate to whatever type of plumbing you have (pvc, PEX. copper pipe, ect) and install them in your supply lines just before any plumbing fixtures that don't already have them AND at any major branching. As a homeowner it can be quite handy to be able to shut off the water to the bathroom without shutting off the kitchen or vice versa. Economy of scale makes it too expensive for developers to do this, but you can spare the chump change and you'll be very glad of it when you can shut the water in a wall off at 2 AM to stop a mystery leak yet still be able to have running water in the other end of the home.
Good points on the on demand. I get exactly what you're saying. Just not sure I want to spend the money on them. However might be something I look into. I didn't really think about it, our water heater is in the Unheated garage. It is wrapped in a thick layer of insulation. But, yeah.... It takes a lot of power to heat that much water. I may have to look into the cost effectiveness and savings over time. If it will save me a good chunk of money in the long run, it may be worth it.

And actually all the pipes actually have the cut offs already. The owner actually remolded the bathrooms, he installed shut offs. Well a month in one of the shut off valves failed, and split along the seam. We all had a laugh when it was like wtf! what's the point of a shut off valve if it fails!
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Re: Buying a House: What Preps Should I Start Looking Into?

Post by 2now » Thu May 04, 2017 10:43 pm

So many good ideas...

You do not really need a greenhouse in the PNW. A little hoop house or window gardening will get you through the winter with the right choice of crops. Put your money into raised beds instead. If they are all the same size it will be easy to hoop them if you need to. You can also them make a portable chicken coop to fit over the raised bed. If you ever want to leave a bed fallow for a year, just park the chickens there.

My wife does raised bed gardening and learned how in the PNW. She says with hoops she could have a family of 4 eating vegetables year round out of 4 raised bed measuring 3'x8'. She does get and amazing amount of food gardening by the square foot.

Get your fruit trees in soon. But remember cane berries are great food producers in our part of the US and they take work to make sure they do not take over...they are hard to kill around here.
Kiwi is another perennial that does well at least in Portland.

Have you considered a small bamboo grove for building materials?

Get a key that fits in your front door lock but will not turn it. Most hardware stores will give you one for free. Then “hide” it under that mat. The longer a thief takes trying to make that key work the less time he spend checking the rest of the house.


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