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The Survival Podcast

EPISODE:      939
DATE:         July 11, 2012



Steven Harris returns to TSP for his 9th visit. Today he joins us to discuss how to deal with  a large scale black out like the North Eastern United States is currently dealing with.

Steven Harris is a consultant and expert in the field of energy. He is the founder and CEO of Knowledge Publications, the largest energy only publishing company in the USA.

Mr. Harris came to his current position to do full time work on the development and implementation of hydrogen, biomass and solar related energy systems after spending 10 years in the Aero-Thermal Dynamics department of the Scientific Labs of Chrysler Corporation.

Steve is always full of great ideas, knowledge and projects we can use to improve our personal energy independence and today is no exception. Once again we ate up the entire hour with out covering Steve’s entire outline so he will be back for Part 3 in this series soon.

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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Steven’s Websites – Get info on all Steven’s Sites – This is for the small still, currently sold out.
Steve on Facebook -

“Revolution is You” by Gregg Yows


<intro/housekeeping 0:00 –>
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 07:56:36 AM by Hootie »

Offline Hootie

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<intro/housekeeping 0:00 –6:13>

Jack Spirko: With that I got it all wrapped up. Returning now for his 9th episode of The Survival Podcast. Again here today talk to us about all kinds of stuff to do with keeping our house in order in the middle of long term blackout one of my favorite people, Steven Harris. Hey Steve welcome back to The Survival Podcast.


Steven Harris: Woo hoo! Jack, I am happy and thrilled to be back at what I call, "The Church of Jack." This is my ninth time on the show. I am really going to rock the world of your listeners. I am all pissed off at the stupidity I have seen on the news and everything else. I have been on the show eight times previously. I have always talked about energy and energy from this and that. I always talk about energy, but most of your people don't know that I teach preparedness. I have had over a 108,000 downloads of my family preparedness class. I am going to talk to you tonight about energy preparedness, just like for those 2 million people that lost power in the mid-Atlantic states last week for that derecho <>. I am going to tell you what it is, what I use, how long I have used it, and how good it works. Then I am going to give you the links on on where to buy the thing on Amazon with free shipping and/or where to get it at Walmart or Home Depot. It is going to awesome. Jack, didn't you hear of me before I was on the show the first time?


Jack Spirko: Yeah. It was so far back that when I first had you on I didn't even connect the dots and realize it was you. I had been going on for about three or four months and had a couple thousand listeners, if that. Somebody sent me a link to the class you are talking about and said, "You got to listen to this guy. He sounds a lot like you." <Steve Harris laughs> I was working 15 to 16 hours a day back then. It was one of those things where I listened to it while I was dealing with excel reports on one of my companies. As usual it was riding the knife edge of being profitable and having to cut employees. I didn't remember a lot of it but there was one thing that I remember really well. You said it was easier to feed your neighbors than to shoot them. <Steve Harris laughs> Then when I met you and we were talking, I was thinking, "I know I have heard this guy before." That what it was, but it took two interviews with you before I realized it. I went back and listened to it again and went "Oh, that where it is!"


Steven Harris: Yep, it is easier to feed your neighbors than to shoot them. All you do is get great big bags of corn and wheat. You through it in hot oil, about 350 degrees (Fahrenheit), with a metal strainer. That perches them in about 30 seconds.


Jack Spirko: You might not want to eat deer corn, but you can feed it to your neighbors.


Steven Harris: Yeah. These are corn nuts, is what they are. They are delicious. You put some salt and some powders on them. Believe me after two days of your neighbors being hungry, they will scarf this stuff down like popcorn. Even though it is not popcorn, it is parch corn. I always kept a bunch of that stuff just to feed my neighbors. Like I said later on in that show, "You never know when you feed your neighbors. They might just bring the booze over."


Jack Spirko: I think it is a big part of community building. It should be something that people should be doing in advance. You are right about this problem. I had you booked as usual, where we will figure out what we are going to talk about when we get closer to it. Then we had this major event and a lot of people have been asking about it. It is very fortuitous, but it is a big problem. I covered this earlier this week, I talked about that there was a report that about 300,000 households were without power in West Virginia alone.


Steven Harris: Yeah, in West Virginia alone.


Jack Spirko: I looked up the population of West Virginia. It is about 1.8 million people. If you figure an average household is 4. That means about mean about 450,000 households. That means 300,000 out of 450,000 were without power for at least more than 48 hours. Some of them close to a week. The first hour is not that big a deal. Then the first day is not that big a deal, but it starts to whine on you after a while. Doesn't it?


Steven Harris: Yeah. I say, "The first day you are looking for gas and finding out what is going on. The second day you are out looking for water. The third day you are out looking for food. The four day you are fighting for everything."


Jack Spirko: We had some report come in of people selling bags of ice for $25 a bag on the side of the road. selling gallons of gasoline for $20 to $30 a gallon, because even if the gas stations had gas in many instances they couldn't pump it because they didn't have power either. King of all loud mouths Rush Limbaugh was on the radio. I heard him yesterday when I was going home. He was talking about "We still have power out in these areas around our nation's capital. You mean we can't this up?" I was thinking, you don't really understand how it works. It is amazing to see how much abuse there is in that area in such a short period of time.


Steven Harris: One of the things I am going to show you during this session we are going to have is how to make your own ice, off an inverter, off of your car. You will have your own ice. I am going to show you where to get everything. We are going to talk a great deal about refrigerator and freezers. Which leads me into my first subject. For those of you who, if you wanted the class that Jack and I were talking about online. It is at If you can't remember that I will put a link to that at I have had over a 108,000 downloads of it. It is good stuff. This time we are going to cover power and preparedness. We are going to talk about how to power all the little things in your life, that become useless when the power fails. What fails Jack? Your cellphone is going to die, you radio is gone, your TV is gone, your satellite dish is gone, your refrigerator is gone, your freezer is gone, your well pump is gone, your septic or sewage might be gone, your air conditioning is gone, your fans are gone, your electric dog water fountain had die so Fido can't get his oxygenated water...


Jack Spirko: I am not buying one of those. My dogs seem to be content if I forget to close the lid to the toilet. <Steven laughs> They drink out of there. I am thinking they don't need an electric dog water purifying machine. You are right about all the other stuff.


Steven Harris: It is what I call, "Everything in your life that was useful, became useless." We are going to talk about how to take those useless things and how to make them useful again. Speaking of animals my cat just hopped up on my platform as I was trying to talk to you. They always do it at the right time, don't they Jack?


Jack Spirko: Yep.


Steven Harris: We are first going to talk about refrigerator and freezers, about making ice, powering your house from your car with an inverter, and how to have an unlimited amount of AA batteries. You are going to have all the do AA batteries you could possibly want from your inverter in your car, for your radios and flashlights. You are not going to have to worry about it. We are going to talk about keeping your iPhone and your Android phone powered forever, because there are a lot of great little apps on these phones. Even your insurance app! You can take a pictures of your house and file an insurance report right from your darn phone! which is great if a tornado came by. We got a lot of hands on stuff that you can get right now at either Walmart  or Amazon. These are all normal items. They are not expensive survival things that you have to figure out and read the directions and spend a lot of money on. These are all common household things. This is stuff you use in your daily life, not just in a disaster. In fact that is the best survival stuff to have is the stuff that you use every day. What was it that you said on the Glenn Beck show when they asked you what is the most important thing have for a survival, Jack?


Jack Spirko: Yeah. I was kind of funny because you had the food guy that was from the food company, so he said food. They you had the Ham guy and he said Ham radio communications. I was saying it was not stuff. Stuff is just a piece of it. It is a skill set and it is a mind set. It is what you put in your mind and in your abilities and in your heart so you are prepared to deal with it. If you do that then you can make use of what you have.


Steven Harris: Yeah. I am going to add to that. The stuff that you have, you really need to know your stuff. Lets say I pick you up and throw you in California and there is a big earthquake and you are away from your stuff. You are going to go, "Oh no. What am I going to do? I am not with my stuff." If you know the first thing you want to find is a good kitchen knife, then you can start making your stuff. You can cut plastic bags to water proof yourself. Plastic bags for holding and storing water and carrying it. With rope and wire, you can cut it with a knife to make things to carry things, to wrap up the hole in your shoe. Like you said it is all your mind set stuff. It is not what you have it is what you know. If you do have stuff the only way you are going to know how to use it is if you have used it on a daily basis for one reason or another. Think of this, you need to see yourself, it is cool and raining. Your roof is missing from your house. Half the back wall is gone. Your kids are crying, they are missing their favorite teddy bear. Your wife is trying to find a tampon. Your arm is sprained. One shoe is missing. You are bleeding. You are thirsty.You have to go to toilet and the toilet doesn't work, if the toilet is even there. And you are holding this box for this fancy survival widget and trying to read the instructions in small print on the back. You can't find your reading glasses. You are trying to figure out how to use this. This is not the time to figure out how to use this.


Jack Spirko: No Absolutely not. It is the something I tell people. I am big on your first 90 days of self sufficiency with food. It should be built out of the things you eat everyday. Eat what you store and store what you eat. Then we can start looking at MREs, freeze dried, and long term storable because some of us are preparing not just to be without power for a couple weeks. We are preparing for much bigger global events, but we gotta start somewhere. Starting with the ability to make it through a couple weeks, which is much more likely to happen, is important. But even with those people, "If you bought a mountain house freeze dried pork chops. One day you might want to swaddle your little ass in your bunker or whatever, pull out a can of it, open them the hell up, and figure out how to cook them. So you know how to use what you have." I am with you on the short term scenarios. We need to look at using the things that we use everyday.


Steven Harris: Yep. You are really better at having 3 days of food you know how to use, than you are of having 30 days of food you never used. You can change that to 3 months than 1 month, you can change that anytime you want. I had some special operations guys teach me a few things that I will never forget. I just love this. Two is one and one is none. If you have two, one will end up getting broke or lost and you will have one left. If you have one of something it will end up biting the dust and you will have none. Heck, for this interview, my main condenser microphone started to have a hum like crazy. I couldn't figure it out and couldn't fix it. So out comes my Sennheiser headset. Two is one and one is none. My third level backup to do this show is I have 2 cordless phones charged up on a hard line ready to go. I have three things backed up ready to go, just for this interview. I am practicing two is one and one is none in my daily life, just as a matter of fact. All this stuff that I am going to talk about with you is dual purpose. If one fails, its cousin that you got that does something else will be able take care of what the first one died from. Most stuff will do more than one thing. In reference to you and your house with no roof that, I was talking about, and it is raining and you trying to figure out what to do. There are three things that all your preparedness stuff must pass. Everything must pass this test. One, will it work? Does whatever you are going to buy or going to get, does it actually work? If it doesn't work forget it. Is it necessary? Do you really need it? Is it really necessary for what you are going to do? Is it a core item? If not then, no you do not need it. Here is the big one, in reference to the house with the rain coming in and you are bleeding and hurt and everything. Can I duplicate it under stress? Can I repeat what I am going to do, here in my house in the comfort of my cat sitting next to my feet? Can I repeat that in that scenario with the house is gone, I am in my bunker opening up my stuff, and my wife and kids are crying? Can I repeat and do it under stress? The answer is going to have to be yes. The only way you are going to be able duplicate it under stress is if you are using it on a regular basis.


Jack Spirko: Let me say something on that, Steve. I think it is a perfect example of how the military prepares you for that same situation. A lot of guys have seen these movies where the guys are taking apart and putting back together the M16 or the 45 or the M9, over and over and over. A lot of people if they have never been in the military think that is just bravado and whatever. It is not. What that means, if I can strip a weapon down and put it back together then I can handle and malfunction in a fraction of the time that I can completely strip the weapon down. By doing it over and over and over again, if I am in a stressful situation I can do it anyway. Not because I am some bad ass and I am not afraid. But because my hands, my mind, everything about it, the muscle memory has gotten to the point where I can do it. It is just like people... I don't think you should. But there are people haul ass down the highway 75 miles per hour with the Starbucks coffee in one hand, text one handed on a cell phone and do it. If you take a person that has never seen a cellphone before, they are going to end up dead. They are not going to pull it off once. Again, I am not saying you should do it. I am just saying that it demonstrates that when we do things over and over and over again, they simply become second nature.


Steven Harris: I agree 100%. That is why they even do it in the military blindfolded.


Jack Spirko: It is not as much as they tell you, but it is done on some level. It is not like it is every body and everyday. It is kind of more theatrical than anything else. Unless you are an SF (Special Forces) guy or something like that.


Steven Harris: I have seen guys doing this. They actually had them do jumping jacks and running rabbits and mountain climbs. They were doing a competition.


Jack Spirko: While blindfolded?


Steven Harris: No. It was a machine gun class. The four finalist had run up to the machine gun range and shoot their targets. They took them out in the woods and they had them do all these things that basically make your legs into rubber. Then they had to run to the machine guns and put them together. They were tripping over each other and running into trees because they had these exercises that rubberized your legs and disoriented you. Then when they showed up to their guns and their guns were all apart. They had to put them back together. Then load them up and shoot them. It was called a culmination exercise. That is what the military is doing. What we are going to talk about is, does it work and is it necessary? This is going to keep you from going back into the age of Fred Flintstone with communications. We are going to get your kids involved. We are going to do this especially when we are talking about AA battery chargers. I want you and your kids to use AA rechargeable batteries in your remote controls, in your kid toys, in your flashlights, and stuff you are always grabbing and using. That way in a disaster you are going to go to your kid and say, "Hey these batteries are dead. Go get me two new ones and charge up these other ones." He is going to be saying, "Ok dad." It will be second nature to him, going  over and putting them in and charging them because he does this for his toys. A disaster is going to be second nature.


Jack Spirko: Awesome. Let's talk about that, but lets start out with something that just pisses you off. This is the big one that everyone is worried about when the power goes off especially in the summer in a heat wave. I am going to loose all my food. Everything in my refrigerator and freezer is going to be dead. I have no problem with the person that has the money and the means, having a small generator setting it up to run off and on here and there and extend the life of it. That is kind of down the path. There is a lot of things we can do without any really big expense at all. In a lot of power outages, two or three days, we just have to be smart. We don't need anything. We just need a plan. Can you talk about that a little bit?


Steven Harris: Oh yeah, refrigerators and freezers does this ever get me pissed. I heard some of these great comments from idiots on the TV and radio over the last week with the 2 million people out of power in the mid Atlantic area. My favorite is one that I recorded, wrote down, and everything. "Over the last two days we lost everything in our refrigerators and freezers. Now we are out driving around and trying to buy a generator so we might be able to save the little bit of what we might be able to salvage." Oh my god, I am going to have a conniption fit. First of all, get out of the mentality that I have to save my refrigerator I got to save my freezer. Even if you got a generator. You don't let if set there and run all the time. You run it for a couple hours a day. The refrigerator is not your mother in law, it does not need constant life support. <Jack laughs> For one thing your refrigerator and freezer are insulated. They will stay cold for days. Even when it is 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. I have done this, both in a blackout and in trial situations. It will keep the stuff in there cool for at least two days. You only have about two days in the thing anyways. It is going to last two days and you got two days worth of food. Start eating it. As I tell everyone, "Start with the ice cream." You like that?


Jack Spirko: <laughs> It will make the kids happy. "You can have all the ice cream you want right now, Johnny. Get eating."


Steven Harris: Exactly! You are going to get to the point that if the power fails your kids are going to go, "Yay!! Ice cream!" If it happens on a regular basis. This is so easy. Bang, the power fails. You are stuck in your house, your power is gone, you open up your freezer, you take out the ice cream, and give everyone spoons. They you move your milk, butter, and other dairy products that wants to be colder; you move them from the refrigerator to the freezer section. The freezer is at -5 degrees (Fahrenheit) and it it warming up. Your refrigerator is at 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) and it is going to start warming up. In case you didn't know freezer is at 0 to -5 degrees (Fahrenheit), your refrigerator is about 35 to 40 degrees (Fahrenheit). You move the cold stuff, that want to be the coldest, to coldest section. It is 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) or hotter outside, like it was last week. I guess you don't really need your winter blankets, you are not going to use them. Why don't you go get your winter blankets and your sleeping bags and put them around your freezer and refrigerator to keep them cool. It is an insulated box. You want it to stay colder for longer? Put more insulation over it, it works. People come to me and ask me, "I need to power my refrigerator and my freezer." You should not be asking Steve Harris how to cool your refrigerator and freezer. Ask me how to keep the coldness inside of them, that you already have. Even with that said, just for some people, we will talk about power for your refrigerator and freezer in a bit. This makes sense, doesn't it Jack? Start eating what might spoil of melt and then put blankets over the refrigerator and freezer, to keep it cool.


Jack Spirko: It is what we always did. I grew up in Pennsylvania. We always had generators because we lived in a place where power would frequently go out and stay out, so you had one. It was never a priority. Let me go plug in the chest freezer in the shanty, right? It was never a priority unless it was a long term outage. Then, like you are saying, we would go plug in the deep freezer and run it for an hour or two. Then shut it off because it would stay cold. Like you said, we used to through all the blankets and shit on top of it. We made it through some week long power outages, probably running a generator on it maybe twice. It also makes me think about this, it wasn't that long ago... People have this vision that of time that is unrealistic. It wasn't that long ago that your grandparents and great grandparents didn't know what the hell a refrigerator was. The concept that if your food held at the refrigerators temperature for 13.5 seconds that if you eat it you will die, just seems to be one the things that we have been lied to about and people over react because they don't know the truth.


Steven Harris: Yeah. I mean what the heck is aged meat or aged cheese? <Jack laughs> I am really tired of the news and the government saying, "If it gets above 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) throw it out. It could grow bacteria." What the hell temperature do you think a steak gets when you thaw it out before you put it on the grill? It gets to room temperature. It doesn't instantly grow bacteria.


Jack Spirko: A good cook, like Keith Snow when we have him on, will tell you absolutely let that steak come to room temperature before you throw it on the grill and sear it. That way it won't stick and it will cook better. Standard practice.


Steven Harris: You cook it to 160 degrees (Fahrenheit) and it kills the bacteria anyways. What temperature does milk come out of cow at?


Jack Spirko: Pretty warm.


Steven Harris: Yeah, pretty warm.


Jack Spirko: It is called body temperature. Actually I think a cow's body temperature is a little highers than a humans so it is pretty warm (Wiki Answers: around 101.5 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit). If it is inside the cow... I don't know the word for it, I am thinking osmosis but that is the wrong word. But you know what I am saying. It has to be the same temperature of the body it is held in.


Steven Harris: Right. You pull your milk out of your refrigerator and you put it in your freezer. Two days go by and you pull out your milk and you are going to drink it and you go <sniff sniff>. You sniff it first. If you go, "Eww!!" Then it is bad. Give it to the dog to drink before you throw it out. The dogs and cats will drink it just happily so don't even throw it out then. Same thing with a can of peaches. You open a can of peaches and you go "Oh god, it smell horrible." Don't eat it. You can open up a can of peaches and it is a little discolored, it is just a little oxidized and it tastes ok, you can go ahead and eat it. Your nose is your natural instinct that tells you whether things are good or spoiled or not, whether you can eat it or not. What about eggs, Jack?


Jack Spirko: It depends to me. Eggs have that massive self life even without the refrigeration. A lot of the eggs we get in the store are 30 to 60 days old before we get them.


Steven Harris: Oh really, I did not know that.


Steven Harris: Oh really, I did not know that.


Jack Spirko: Yeah, it is sad. It is true. Eggs have a great shelf life because eggs sit under chickens and slowly turn into a baby chicken. Much of the eggs in the store are much older then you would think. That also gives you an idea of how long their shelf life is because look at the date on the carton.


Steven Harris: Yeah. Our grand parents used to have eggs sitting in a basket on the table all the time. Of course they grabbed them fresh out of the rear end of the chicken. The one caveat I am going to throw in there about stuff going bad, is stuff like egg salad and mayonnaise. Things that are opened up with raw eggs. Raw eggs are a heavy growth medium for bacteria and viruses. In fact that is what we grow for when you get a flu shot. That flu shot was grown as an antivirus in an egg. They grow them in eggs. Any open eggs give them to the dog and let the dog get diarrhea and eat it. Other than that if it is regular food use your sniffer and if it warms up to room temperature and smells good, go and eat it. If not throw it out. Let's see, there is another thing in your refrigerator called thermal mass. Jack, like you said, if you got a big freezer and you got a big cow in your freezer. That is a lot of thermal mass. That is a lot of frozen energy. That means you got a lot of cold storage. So pile on the blankets on the freezer. I mean a good six inches to a foot of blankets on top of the thing. Hang it around the sides, put it on the top. This can keep beef good for 3 to 5 days, maybe more. It all depends on how much thermal mass is in there. If it really starts getting warm out and you can tell the beef has already really warmed up to ambiant, you know it is going to get warmer over the next couple days. Get out the grill and get the neighbors over. Have a huge cookout. Feed everyone because it might spoil. Remember it is easier to feed your neighbors than it is to shoot them. If you are feeding your neighbors you are making good friends, you are really bonding. It could turn out to be a friendship of a lifetime from someone you never met. Who knows, it just might bring the booze.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 03:07:29 PM by Hootie »

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Jack Spirko: Yeah. I would. <laughs> Of course if you have even more meat, if you got some salt, pepper, and vinegar you can start making biltong. Even if you have more than you can cook all at one. There is always something you can do to prolong its shelf life. A lot of people would jerk it, but biltong is easier and takes less energy and it takes less materials and it is faster.


Steven Harris: If you have a small chest freezer or even your freezer above or below, and there is not much in it. Fill up a 2 liter soda bottle or any size pop bottle or milk carton with 80% of tap water and let it freeze. That way when the power fails you got a lot more thermal mass in there because the ice is melting. It is going to go through what is called a phase change. That is why Ice cools so good because it take 1 BTU to move 1 pound of water 1 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes 140 BTUs 1 pound of water, from 32 (degrees Fahrenheit) solid to 32 (degrees Fahrenheit) liquid. Ice stores a lot of energy. When the water does melt, they you got cool water to drink.


Jack Spirko: I got a good one even for you, Steve. When you used to come up on and off. We would be gone for four months at a time. It is possible that the power went out, for a week or more, and the food in the freezer might have gone bad. It would be really hard to know that if your neighbors didn't tell you. The little system I came up with, is I took a soda bottle and filled it up halfway with water and froze it. Then set it upside down. If all the water had melted and refrozen at the bottom. Then I knew it had completely defrosted. That doesn't mean it was necessarily bad, but discretion the better part of valor. At least I knew to go up and ask the neighbors, "When did the power go out and for how long?" If the water was still frozen in place or it had fallen down but not completely melted and refrozen I knew the food was going to be good.


Steven Harris: Yeah, that is fabulous.


Jack Spirko: That is redneck engineering, baby.


Steven Harris: Here is another little secret for you, regarding ice from my thermal dynamics background when I worked at Chrysler. If you have frozen bottles of ice in the freezer or even a bucket of ice or Ziploc bags filled with little ice cubes or anything with ice in it. As long as there is ice.. As long as there is one cube or one piece of ice still in that bottle or bucket, in the freezer. Then that freezer has not yet gone above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, because the ice will sit there and always from 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) solid to 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) liquid. There is no way that ice can exist if it warmed up hotter than that. If you the freezer and you see ice cubes, it is at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and it is fine. If you don't see any ice, you need to put your hand on the meat because you know it is warming up. Will all the water in the world... Your freeze will stay 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) as long as there is ice melting in it. That is the temperature that ice melts. When the ice has fully 100% melted in the freezer, then you know it is going to start warming up. You might have to have a cookout in the next 24 to 48 hours. Feed your neighbors steak. Let me back up a minute. If you have space in your freezer, put soda bottles 80% fill with water in it or well washed out milk jugs 80% full. You could even put a bucket of water, just a plastic bucket of water in the freezer and let it freeze. Or a five gallon pail about 80% full because ice is going to expand 10%. You can even take a trash bag and fill full, about five gallons of water, tie it off and drop it bottom of the freezer. That will work for thermal mass. You can put multiple of these in, you can fill the freezer up. If you see a hurricane coming and you live in Louisiana, hurricane magnet of the world, start filling the freezer with water so you can freeze the water in a day or two before it hits. That way you got a lot of thermal mass, you got a lot of cooling, you got a lot of extra water which you are going to need anyways, and you got a lot of cold water. I promised you I was going to talk about powering your refrigerator and freezer from your car in a disaster. If you really have to this is what you can do. First of all, you need an inverter. If you don't know what an inverter is, it converts DC voltage of your car into a AC voltage. It clamp onto your car battery or it plugs into cigarette lighter. It make a AC voltage almost like what comes out of your outlets right now. Here are some rules of thumb. If you get an inverter and you plug it into your cigarette lighter or your power outlet inside the car, you can only draw or output 150 watts. That doesn't matter if its a 400 watt or a 800 watt or a 1 gigawatts inverter. You can only suck about a 150 watts out of the cigarette lighter. That is because the size of cable and the fuse that is in it. Stop by AutoZone and get some extra 15 or 20 amp fuses in your car, just in case you do blow a fuse. You need to find out if you take mini fuses or maxi fuses. The newer cars take mini fuses. The older ones take maxi fuses that you and I are both thinking of more of the car fuses. Get a fuse puller as well, to save your fingers. If you can't buy fuses I put a whole bunch of them on They are on Amazon, you can get 140 fuses for $10. It is cheaper than buying 3 fuses at AutoZone.


Jack Spirko: It is also some of the cheapest insurance you will ever buy. I just sold my RV. I had a huge box fuses in the RV. The guy said, "Will I get these with it?" I said, "Yeah." He goes, "How often does this thing blow a fuse, that you have this many fuses?" I said, "It blew a fuse once." He said, "Then why do you have so many fuses?" I said, "Because it blew a fuse once." <both Steven and Jack laugh> There you go.


Steven Harris: You have now had a sermon from the church of Jack. I love that. If you want to power something that powers more than 150 watts, this would be your refrigerator or your freezer, you are going to need an inverter of the right size. Lets say you need a 750 or 800 inverter. It will have to clamp onto the battery or your car to get its full power. You can't do it through a cigarette lighter because it is more than 150 (watts). You got to get the clamps out that came with the inverter and clamp the red on the positive and the black on the negative. Don't cross the streams. The inverter will come with the thick cables for this. I have one of my favorite brand name Duracell 800 watt inverter. It is only $80 from Amazon. I use it. I have used it for year. I use it when I travel. I use it for backup. I use it for testing. I use it for charging. I use it in the videos and demonstration and classes. It is on Amazon. I got a link to it at with a description. If you don't want to buy it from Amazon online, you can go to Walmart and you can get about a 750 watt inverter for about $45. I guess you had a whole show on Walmart the other day, Jack. I like Walmart. They sell cheap stuff. Buy your cheap things and do your politics elsewhere. What you are going to do to power your fridge or TV OR AA battery charger or cell phone or iPad and everything else that is going to run. You are going to run an extension cord from the inverter in your car, whether it is plugged into the cigarette lighter or clamped on the battery. You are going to run a power cord, a big thick one like an orange one, into your house and you are going to plug into that. You are going to make your own little mini power grid from your car. Don't try to plug it into your house. That is a whole other Survival Podcast show that I could do on generators and back feeding your house and everything else.


Jack Spirko: I know for 99% people I do not have to say this. For the 1% of you I am going to say this. If you run your car with an inverter and an extensions cord into your house to do what Steve is saying to you. If you have a garage and your car is in your garage, then open the freakin' door. I know I shouldn't have to say that but if it saves one numskull it is worth saying.


Steven Harris: Please. In fact back the car out of the garage. Don't even leave it idling in the garage. Just back the car idling in the garage. I will give you one tip that I learned at Chrysler Corporation because I used to do stuff with the legal department. I did all of there instrumentation for their tests because people sued the company. If you take a modern car, back then is was a 2002 car, if you put a hose in your tailpipe and you run it into the interior of the car and roll the window up.


Jack Spirko: Yeah...


Steven Harris: The emission are so good on the car, you probably won't kill yourself. You might get a headache from the carbon monoxide.

Jack Spirko: You know what you are making me think of. Have you even seen the show South Park?


Steven Harris: Yeah.


Jack Spirko: One kid, I don't remember which one it was, says "I am going home to kill myself." I think it was Cartman...


Steven Harris: Kenny!


Jack Spirko: He goes and comes back the next day. They say, "I thought you were going to go kill yourself." He goes, "I left my mom's running in the garage with the windows open. Freakin' hybrids just won't do it anymore."


Steven Harris: <laughs> That's so funny.


Jack Spirko: Or it was "Freakin' hybrids just don't get the job done anymore." Or something like that. It  was pretty funny. Lets get back to what we were talking about.


Steven Harris: Ok. The thing that will surprise most people today is your good modern refrigerator... Jack you remember our old refrigerators? they had power cords as thick as your thumb or wrists on them? You had to have 20 amp sockets and everything to plug them into?


Jack Spirko: Yeah. We still have one in the shanty up in Pennsylvania, at my dads place. It is probably 80 years old and still working.


Steven Harris: You are not going to power that off your inverter. New refrigerators, I am talking like the last 10 years. Especially the ones that say ENERGY STAR compliant on it. They got really smart. They increased the insulation. Instead of saying we are going to have a compressor that runs and draws 1500 Watts and it is going to run once every five minutes. They said we are going to have a smaller compressor, it is going to run more of the time and it is more efficient. I have a kilowatt meter. Whenever I get a chance I measure my refrigerators and freezers, my friends refrigerators and freezers when they are running. It is a weird things. They all draw about 120 to 200 watts when they are running. That is not a lot of power. Your 150 watt inverter could power your refrigerator, except there is this thing called an inductive kick. When you try to start the motor it wants to draw about 750 watts for about three seconds when the motor is starting. That is why you have to have the 800 watt inverter to run these refrigerators. Like I said, the older refrigerators that have 20 amp plugs, forget it. You are not going to run them. That is over 2000 watts. The new refrigerators you can power. The reason you need 800 watts because when the thing kicks on, the little 150 water inverter will go <awww>. A 800 watt inverter it can even take a surge to 1200 watts for about 12 seconds. They have a rating on it. That is why you need a 800 watt inverter, even though it is only going to draw less than 200 watts from your car. Again it has to be clamped on the battery. Jack, something good. It will run off the battery of your car. Idling the car, here is the thing. If you are drawing that much power, you are clamped on the battery, and you are powering refrigerator then you are going to have to idle the car. The battery in your car or pickup truck is generally pretty small in comparison to the amount of energy. If you took the amount of energy that was in a good deep cycle lead acid battery and you compared it it the amount of energy you get grom a generator and gasoline, it would be about 2 ounces of gasoline. It is big and heavy, but there is not a lot of energy in it


Jack Spirko: Sure.


Steven Harris: The rule of thumb is, if you are drawing this much power you are going to have to have your car at idle. The question is how long will your car idle on gasoline. When I was Chrysler I let a minivan idle 18 hours overnight for a test. It took about 12 gallons worth of gasoline. The rule of thumb is when you are car is idling it will take between 0.5 to 1 gallon of gasoline an hour. That is why you are not running your car to run your freezer and your refrigerator all the time. You are only running it for an hour to cool it down a little bit, put your blankets back over it, and then go turn off your car.


Jack Spirko: You know Steve, this is the same thing I am trying to teach people about food storage. I say 90 days and people go, "Well isn't it better to be a year?" Well sure, if you have the space the time and the money. Even in a long term breakdown there will still be the ability to get some food from the economy, to do some barters, and some exchanges. If you have to deal with 25% less of something than 90 days becomes a year of suitability as long as you are dealing with a 25% deficit. We have to look at refrigerators and freezers the same way. Yes it would be great if there was a magical unicorn that farts angeles that would make your house run on free energy and you could run things the same way without power all the time. We are using far more energy daily than we really need to get the job done. In these situations we have to scale back to compensate. Like you said we can run an hour here and an hour there, and extend the life expectancy of something that already has a much better life expectancy than people think it does.


Steven Harris: Your car is a great generator. It is a $30,000 machine, with a 200 horsepower engine. It make a great low power generator. It is spars, you might as well use it. Note: when you are powering your refrigerator or freezer, please remove the blankets that is insulating them! Refrigerator and freezers are heat pumps. They move heat from inside of the box to one side of the box to let it out.


Jack Spirko: I remember I saw a propane refrigerator. I was 18 or 19 years old in Honduras in the army. It blew my mind. I thought how the hell is that thing cold? The lady pulled the thing off the bottom and there was fire at the bottom of it.


Steven Harris: Yep, it is called an ammonia absorption process. There are a lot of refrigerator and freezers out there that you can buy right now what run on propane, natural gas, and kerosene. We can do a whole another show on that, if you want. Remember you used to see the network of tubes on the outside of your refrigerator in the old days? That is called the condenser.


Jack Spirko: That is the part you never wanted to push it too far back and smash it up against the wall when you are sliding it into it's slot.


Steven Harris: What they did now is they have built that into one wall of the refrigerator, so it looks a lot better. That is the hot side. If you actually knew what side was hot, you could keep blankets over everything else except leave the hot side exposed when you are running it. If you don't know, pull all your blankets off. Then cool it down and put all your blankets on. Jack, people ask me about small refrigerators all the time.


Jack Spirko: I get the same thing. Won't it take less energy to keep the small refrigerator cold? My response is generally no. You want to tell people why?


Steven Harris: Yeah. This will surprise you. A small refrigerator often has the same size compressor as the big one. It takes the same amount of energy to cool the small one as it does to cool the full size one. The difference is that the full size one is going to run longer and it has a lot more insulation around it, even though you don't see it. The small one has very little insulation. What it does to compensate it is it runs the compressor more. I am talking about these little under the counter refrigerators that you buy for $100 at Walmart, Home Depot, or you local hardware store that is owned by locals.


Jack Spirko: Or the little ones that truck drivers use. I have had someone ask me, "Why do they use those?" I said "Because you can't fit your giant two door Frigidaire in your freakin back of your sleeper cab of your truck, that is why."


Steven Harris: Yeah. These things draw about the same amount of power as the big ones.


Jack Spirko:  Like you said they have less insulation. They have to do more work to do the same results.


Steven Harris: If you look at a refrigerator, this is a little technical stuff but that is what you got me here for, the refrigeration cycle is kind of inefficient. You are using electricity to run a compressor that moves refrigeration to the cold wall of the refrigerator, this is called the evaporator. That cold wall makes cold air. That cold air then makes your food cold. What is air. It is an insulator. It doesn't really want to cool things very well or heat things very well. Here is one of my favorite Harris tricks. We talked about making ice, now I am going to tell you how to make ice. If you really want to buy something, if you just have to buy a thing that is going to keep your stuff cool, you are going to buy a ice maker. This is going to be a little table top ice maker, that sits on top of your table. It is the size of two toaster ovens put together. I have been using a table top ice maker since about 2007, on a daily basis at work. It is for ice for my soda drinks that I drink during the day. <phone rings> Anyways, the phone is ringing... I have run the thing in the back of my pickup truck off an inverter when I drove through the country. I went around country a few times in my younger life, with a camper and a pickup truck and everything. I had this thing in the back of the pickup truck running off the inverter as I was driving making ice. Every two hours I would pull over and pull the ice out of the thing and put it into my cooler. I am used them mobile. I have used them stationary. I used them for my own soda drinks. They work very well. They will make about 25 pounds of ice a day, about a pound of ice in an hour. They hold about two hours worth of ice, so about every two hours you need to empty them. Here is the technical thing, with an ice maker you got electricity moving a compressor making your refrigerant cold. That goes to the condenser, with is a piece of cold metal. This cold metal is directly sitting in a pool of water. That directly freezes round ice cubes around it. The ice cubes then drop into a storage area. If they melt they melt into the water that is making more ice cubes. It is saving the energy so the coldness is preserved. You then take this ice out of the ice make and you put it into your ice chest or a five day cooler. Then you put what you want to keep cold, your food or your milk, directly on ice in contact with it. Or you put it in the water at the bottom of the cooler that has the ice floating in it. That is the fastest and best way to keep stuff cold. Have a bit of cold water in ice that is floating in the bottom. The stuff that needs to stay very cold, you put it in a Ziploc bag and put it in the ice water. The stuff that doesn't need to be so cool, you have it on top of the stuff that is sitting in ice water. Your containers of yogurt go in the water. The bottom of your milk cartons sits in the little bit of water. Your hot dogs are sitting on top of the milk jug, just keeping cool because it will be about 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) in there.


Jack Spirko: One time I was a construction worker. There is nothing that keeps your guys motivated like know they can have a cold beer at the end of the day when they are done. If you take a warm six pack, because that is all you can get your hands on, and you put it in a refrigerator it takes a daggon long time to get cold. It was just a joke and nobody ever technically measured it. I know you are the technical guy, but we has a joke that beer dumped ice water gets cold in 6.2 minutes and it was pretty damn close to accurate.


Steven Harris: It is.


Jack Spirko: It got cold really really fast. Much faster than sitting in the refrigerator.


Steven Harris: In fact if you take your beer can and you spin it in the ice and move it around and shake it around in the ice water, it will get cold in about three minutes. There are actually little things out there to cool your can of Coke in about two minutes. If you want to do it really good, it is the way you make ice cream, you take ice and salt and water. Then you spin your Coke can in the mixer of ice and salt and water. What you are doing is the ice lowers the freezing point of the water mixture to 0 (degrees Fahrenheit). That is how we got 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The definition is ice in a solution of salt water. That is how Mr. Fahrenheit defined 0 degrees Fahrenheit. That work very well. Salt water and ice is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.


Jack Spirko: That is how we make ice cream. Ice cream makers use rock salt.


Steven Harris: That is how you make ice cream, that is exactly right. There is a little point.


Jack Spirko: Let me ask you a question on the little ice maker. How long can you run that off your inverter setup? You say it works well, but...


Steven Harris: I will tell you exactly. I measured this last night just for the show to confirm it. It is drawing a 120 watts. again your car is going to have to be idle. A 120 watts is about 10 amps of DC current from the car battery. 12 volts times 10 amps is 120 watts. 10 amps off the car battery would suck down your car battery to nothing dead in about two to three hours. That is why keep your car idling. If you just had the ice maker running, you might be able to idle your about half hour and turn it off for a half hour and idle your car for a half hour and turn it off for an half hour. That will work pretty good.


Jack Spirko: I will also point out to people, what Steve is giving you... You got to start leveraging things for yourself in certain ways. If you are thinking to yourself, "I would like to have a 4500 watt decent generator." You can get them for a few $100 dollars. Think of how much gasoline you could store for half of that. Then use the other part to buy the inverter. I do have one big tip for people with gas cans. If you are buying the ones from the store because that is what you can get or afford, fine. Get yourself a daggon nozzle long enough so you can dump the fuel from the can into the car. The daggon nozzles they sell with the cans today, Steve, a lot of gas tanks it is almost impossible to pour the gas directly into a car gas tank. Because they have these little four inch nozzles.


Steven Harris: One of the things I should do for you in the future is a whole show just on generators and gasoline. I have photographs during the blackout of people wheeling around $800 generators and they only have 5 gallons of gas for the damn thing.


Jack Spirko: <laughs> Like you said they have a $30,000 to $40,000 car.


Steven Harris: Exactly


Jack Spirko: With a full tank


Steven Harris: This idiot that I quoted at the start of the show, is driving around looking for a generator. Well good luck. You got to find  a generator and you got to find gas. And you are burring gas as you try to find gas. It is just ridiculous.


Jack Spirko: I have actually seen something worse. I am almost afraid to tell you this. I am afraid the top of your head is going to come off. One guy on the news siphoning gas out of his car to put in his generator. <laughs>


Steven Harris: There we go... that is really intelligent <hint of sarcasm>...


Jack Spirko: I think it is just because people don't think about this stuff in advance. They don't walk through it before they are faced with the situation. So, I am sitting there out of gas for my generator. I think I am going to kill my family if I don't keep the food cold. Your car is sitting there. I think that is just how people think


Steven Harris: No, you wife is going to kill you if you don't keep the food cold.


Jack Spirko: Yeah


Steven Harris: The ice maker. Again, this whole show is about telling you about what I have used for years, telling you how to use it in your situation, how you might be able to use it, and how I have used it. I am also enabling you. Which mean I am not just saying, "Go find the ice maker on the winds." The ice maker used to be at Home Depot. It might be at the Home Depot in the south. They are about $169. I have the ice makers listed on right now. There is a white one and a black one. You click on it. You can go over to Amazon and you can buy it directly from Amazon if you want. Or you can go "Oh that is it. I have seen that at my hardware store." Then you can go down to your hardware store and you can buy it. I am enabling you. Anything we talked about during the last hour or so, regarding refrigerator or freezers is at If you want my free family preparedness class, I will put a link up there to that as well. Guess what? I have done it again. I have run out of time.


Jack Spirko: You have.


Steven Harris: What we are going to do, in the next stuff we are going to talk about in the next show the next day that you are going to listen to, is going to be about how to power your TV. Where it is a 34 inch, 42 inch, 12 inch, or 60 inch. How to power everything else off of your inverter; your cell phone, your satellite dish, and your radio. I am going to talk about recharging AA batteries. I am going to give you an infinite source of AA batteries. Stay tuned and listen for that. It is going to be the next show tomorrow.


Jack Spirko: Yep, I have talked him into it, guys. Let just go ahead and knock this out. This is so topical and spot on for a lot of people right now. A lot of people are focused on it. Lets face it, it is going to be hot for quite a few more months. There are going to be storms for a few months. We are going into hurricane season. We are not out of tornado season yet. We are out of the part where I hid once a week, at least. We are not out of that. We are going to stick with this. i want to point out one thing about the portable ice maker for people. It is not a 12 volt device. It uses the inverter, like you just told people how to set it up. If you buy one of these, you could set it in your house and start using it right now. When you have company over and you wipe out all the ice in the freezer it is a nice additional thing. It is a constant source of ice. I think I am going to pick one of these up.


Steven Harris: Jack, I tell you what, if you don't like it I will buy it off you.


Jack Spirko: <laughs> What I like is you have the tan one and the black one. I like black so I am going to get a black one.


Steven Harris: It is really a Harris best practice. I am not you. I am not telling you to buy it just to buy it. Look at the whole refrigeration cycle. It is a lot more efficient to make ice directly from a refrigerant and take the ice to put it on your food, than it is run a refrigerator. Get these coolers from igloo, they are called five-day coolers. Some of them are called seven-day coolers. They are thick as hell. Then if you want, you can go to Home Depot and get some two inch foam. Then you can get some liquid nail and you can glue the foam to the side of the cooler with liquid nail. You can then have a 14 day cooler. Or you can throw your sleeping bag on top of it and it will stay even colder. You get the priceable that I am talking about?


Jack Spirko: Definitely. It just comes down to what cools better, air or water and ice? We will just wrap up this this thought. If I give you a thin shirt and a thin pair of pants, and it is 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. You are not happy, but you are probably a long way from hypothermia. If I take a 55 gallon drum and fill it halfway with water and stack ice into like a big giant cold glass of ice water, and I submerge your ass in there. Unless you are a highly trained navy seal that has learned all these technique to wall off parts of our body and generate heat. You are probably not far from going to the emergency room for hypothermia or ending up dead. That tells us all we need to know about cooling with air and cooling with water and ice.


Steven Harris: Ok everyone, I'll be back at the church of Jack tomorrow. Listen for it.


Jack Spirko: Alright, with that folks this has been Jack Spirko today along with Steven Harris. Helping you figure out how to live life, if times get tough or even if they don't.


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