The Truth About Air Filters

The Truth About Air Filters

If you are like me, you are interested in the truth.  But when you go down the rabbit hole, things start to look very grey. Take furnace filters for example: I was at Home Depot and I was staring at wall-to-wall furnace filters. The prices were all over the place, from as low as $3.00 and going well over $50.00 for a single filter. And as a price, but also value-conscious consumer, I pulled up my phone and started Googling air filters. Then, in frustration, I bought a mid-level multi-pack. It is impossible to find a true answer, because everyone has stakes in the game. Home Depot employees would tell you, buy the HEPA-whatever because the store makes more money on it. An HVAC (Heating Venting Air Conditioning) specialist would tell you that all those filters are crap and what you need is an auxiliary system to scrub your air clean (for over $1000.00). Who is going to tell you the truth? I will tell you the truth. Well, as best as I can ascertain. How Your Filter Works Before I tell you what to buy, I would like to teach you what is happening in your HVAC system, assuming you have a forced air system. If you have a boiler system, then open a window. When your furnace turns on, air is drawn into the system (from an outside vent and also though large inside air-return vents) through the air-return ductwork. It is that large circular or rectangular box that runs along your basement ceiling. The air passes through the filter that is mounted between the air return... read more
The Bug-Out Paradigm

The Bug-Out Paradigm

In this short article I want to clarify my idea of what bugging-out and bugging-in really means.  I think there is a disconnect between reality and fiction in the preparedness world. The problem I see is that many people would have you believe that you need to go right off the deep end when you are preparing. I am sure that when you first get into prepping, you are inundated with images of camo clad survivalists with 80 lb. ruck sacks preparing to eek out a living in the woods or peppers with 10 years of supplies in their basement that run drills for evacuations from the zombie hordes. This is not reality.  Reality is boring. Everyday we all experience little emergencies. Our tank in our car is low on gas, we forget our lunch at home and have to go buy it, or we give ourselves a paper cut. These are tiny little emergencies. Once a week at least, I experience a subway shutdown. Someone is sick, there is a fire on the platform (apparently paper goes on the tracks and catches fire and everyone has to wait for a fire marshal to show up) or there is a jumper. It happens. Occasionally there is something wrong on the tracks and I have to walk from one stop to another. Not a big deal. If it is a particularly cold day (middle of January), then it becomes a bigger deal. If the power goes out in my house in early spring or early fall, whatever. If the power goes out in the winter or on the hottest days... read more
How To Make Dry Laundry Detergent

How To Make Dry Laundry Detergent

It took me a while to take the plunge into making my own laundry detergent. Reason #1 was because I watched a bunch of videos on how to make liquid concentrate. In this style of recipe, you have to boil the soap flakes and other ingredients in a giant pot until everything melts down, separate it out into other 5 gallon containers and then re-hydrate it with even more water. Basically it looked like a pain in the ass to make and from what I saw, took up a huge amount of room, and we are all tight on space. Reason #2 was if it is going to take up all this room and smell up the house while cooking the soapy mixture, my wife was going to be less than enthusiastic about doing something like this again. On a rather recent Survival Punk podcast episode, James (one of the hosts) talked about making a dry detergent mixture during a rainy day. I read his article over, checked out some other sources (as you should always do when embarking on a science experiment) and purchased the rather cheap ingredients at the local discount grocery store. All in all, I spent around $15.00 to $20.00 – the same price as a jug of detergent. Not bad. I have been using the recipe below for around 4 months and I doubt I will go back to the liquid concentrate. It is a huge difference in cost. The recipe below will make 50 mason jars of liquid detergent (100 large loads) in a single mason jar, and I still have most of the boxes of borax,... read more