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survival trailer at -40F Options
Pat Miketinac
#1 Posted : Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:09:21 AM
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I would build an earth shelter like mine, but you are running out of time with the cold coming. How about a habitable root cellar for the worst weather? Here in FL, they sell hurricane shelters that look like big septic tanks and are put in the ground, or earth is bermed around them. The ground temp. here stays around 72 degrees, check your well water temp. to find yours. Big gas guzzling motor homes are cheap now too, and are loaded with things you can use because they are self contained. Mine only has about 2" of insulation, though, good enough for the south.

John Stiles
#2 Posted : Friday, October 30, 2009 1:15:59 PM
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I'm sad to hear of your plight. It is getting cold quickly.

I don't know your resources but instead of vacuum unfilled panels maybe you could inflate some sealed plastic sheeting, like those horrible lawn decorations. As long as you have power small leaks wouldn't be that bad.

I don't like the idea as collapse of the panels could place you at risk and plastics have outgassing but it's better than freezing.

Hope this helps.

then, John

#3 Posted : Saturday, October 31, 2009 9:51:46 AM
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I'm actually thinking of something I can move and reuse in the spring since I am planing on moving for other reasons.

I already have a place to stay in that I am still living in the 400sq part of the house that did not get badly damaged. It just seems like a shame to do anything more to this house.

Vacuum insulated panels would be intresting to play with and there is no chance of collapse since they are actually filled with a silica based foam that supports the enormous forces. (15 PSI adds up fast) I would use a cheaper fill material and that would reduce the R value from 250 to only 100 per inch

FYI: Ground Water temps around here are around 60F



#4 Posted : Thursday, November 05, 2009 9:47:34 PM
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I picked up a nice trailer for $700.


Next my mind is wandering to what to do with grey water. I am trying to figure out how much surface area I would need for a vacuum solar distiller. A vacuum type uses a small vacuum pump to remove the Voc fraction along with any desolved liquids. Since it does not allow air to contact the water and the vacuum pulls all the O2 from the water there is very little bateriea growth.

 I think I'll make a small 1 foot square vacuum distiller and measure how much threwput I get.

#5 Posted : Saturday, November 14, 2009 11:25:05 AM
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Posts: 134,494

Hm.... I found a 3 acre lot with a 9,000 Square foot insulated tin building for sale for $75,000. It needs a lot of TLC and repairs, but the foundation and structure is good.

Planing and zoning also says I can re-zone it and live there.

So I have to decide between living in a mess of a place or being back in dept.


There is also the question of location since it's farther out of town and thus I would have to drive 10 minutes longer to get to a store.

It would be interesting to live in a trailer house that is parked inside a huge building.

The building has east west orientation and it's out in the open for good solar gain. I would have to add south facing windows sine the entire building only has two small windows right now.

#6 Posted : Saturday, November 14, 2009 11:25:05 AM
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Posts: 134,494

I'm still sitting here in a doomed fire damaged house and pondering what other things I could build as the temperature outside drops to 33F. Winters coming...

One thought is making a heavily insulated 7x16 trailer.
I've seen some at auctions, however they don't seem to be very well insulated. Most ice fishing houses are not very well insulated either since the fishermen tend to just heat them up as needed.

This thought has expanded to what could be built that would last and be useful even at cold temperatures.

I used to have a vacuum pump that could reach the vacuum needed to make vacuum insulated panels, however they are quite tricky to keep from leaking over time. So I am currently just looking at 6 inches of foam for the walls and floor and then 8 inches for the ceiling.

I also am looking at a composting toilet and possibly freezable water tanks.

Completely closing the water cycle could be done using a fractional vacuum distillation unit, however there are so many risks and some people would never get over the yuck factor. So I'll probably just use insulated water hoses and electric heat tape.

any thoughts?

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