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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just melt snow



My home town had a major water break. The Water Department crew worked hard to repair the break during extremely trying winter conditions.

Now some folks would think that it'd be easy to just melt snow for water. Yes, melting snow for water is possible in an emergency. Unless you've had to do it you don't realize how tough that can be.

Melting snow takes a lot of energy so you'd better have plenty of fuel to spare. It takes a lot of snow to yield a small amount of water. Of course the water content of snow varies, but it's not uncommon to start with a big pot of snow and end up with just a couple inches of water.

You might think the snow you've started with was pretty clean. Once it's melted down you might be surprised by the sticks, tree needles, snow fleas, and dirt in the melt water. Never mind the things like bacteria and dog pee that you don't see. Best bring that water to a good boil before you drink it.

Even clean snow can produce some bad tasting water. For some reason regularly stirring the melting snow seems to improve the flavor. If just left to melt on its own the water acquires a burnt taste.

I have melted snow for water, but it's a last resort. Going through the trouble of cutting a hole in a frozen pond or stream is usually a better use of one's energy.

Even if you are buried in snow, it's still a good idea to have a backup source of liquid water.

-Sixbears

8 comments:

  1. I made snow last week with the foam on our firetruck! 35C+ (90-100) down under here, thunder & lightning every night, spot fires every few days but lashings of fresh sweet rainwater in the tanks. Taking the good with the bad...

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    1. It sure is hot your way. Foam "snow" doesn't make very good coffee. :)

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  2. just don't eat that yellow snow

    one foot of snow equals one inch of rain

    everything comes down with the snow including bacteria

    Wildflower

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    1. When you go where the huskies go, don't you eat no yellow snow.

      I used to boil, then if I could I'd run it though a good filter.

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  3. Anonymous beat me. I also don't think it is a good idea to eat the yellow snow.

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    1. Nope Nope Nope.

      Problem is, the yellow snow can be under the nice white stuff . . . it all goes in the pot.

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  4. Luckily, the town has a secondary water source that they quickly put into service. We were without water overnight, then it was restored for all but the ones nearest the break. Some houses that need to leave the tap on to avoid freeze ups had issues, though. No sign of this deep freeze letting up any time soon.

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    1. Let me know when it's safe to go home. :) Glad the city had a backup plan.

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