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Water Storage Prepping: Getting Water From Fuels

You Can Improve Your Water Storage Prepping With Fuel

To start off, there's water in fuel. No, I'm not talking about any water that may be present as a contaminant in fuels such as gasoline, propane, etc. I'm also not talking about the moisture content of fuels like wood and other biomass. The water I'm talking about is of a more chemical nature. Some of you may be wondering what I'm smoking. But let me ask you something. Do you remember your high school chemistry on combustion reactions?

This bit of chemistry is quite important. To keep things simple, I'll use the reaction of natural gas. The short of it is that when you burn natural gas, you get carbon dioxide and... what's that class? Water vapor. Don't believe me? Well, check out this link from the Connecticut State website on the topic, which can be found here. The reaction looks something like this: 3CH4 + 6O2 = 3CO2 + 6H20. That should give us 3 Carbons (C), 12 Hydrogens (H), and 12 Oxygens (O) on both sides of the equation. A significant amount of water can be produced by combusting fuels like this. So, like I said, there's water in fuels. Well, kind of. It would probably be more accurate to say that you can get water from fuels when you burn them.

OK, So How Does This Apply To Water Storage Prepping

Well, as I see it, it's a good thing to know where to get water so that you can store it for when you need it. That's water storage prepping. There is no prepping if you don't have usable water, can't get it, and don't have a way to store it long-term. This method is more about increasing your knowledge on where you can get water.

Now, a noticeable problem with getting water from burning fuels, even clean fuels like natural gas, is that the water vapor is a vapor/gas. It's pretty hard to drink and store in that form. Well, have you ever noticed how your air conditioning unit in your car or home drips or drains water? Did you ever wonder where that water comes from? Well, it comes from the air. See, the air usually has some amount of water/moisture in it. An air conditioner in the cool setting cools air. If the moisture in that air gets cool enough, and their is enough of it present, it will turn back into a liquid. The liquid can be collected.

Starting to see where I'm going with this? In case your interested, you can find out a bit more about air conditioner condensate, and how it can affect your air conditioner unit, here. Now, it's all fine and good to realize that you can get water out of air and out of a fuel. But you are probably curious on how to take advantage of this such that you can store the water. Lucky for you, that's the next topic.

Collecting Water From Fire

In this scenario, we kind of are collecting water from fire. It's technically a bit more complicated than that, but there is truth to it. Now, here is a way that you could collect water from the fuel you have so that it is in a form you can use. For simplicity, I'm using natural gas for this set up.

I need to note that this set up is for informational and educational purposes only. While I do intend to do a test of a specific set up for efficiency and effectiveness, if you choose to look into doing this, you do so at your own risk. I will be giving some potential problems to consider, as well as some potential solutions later in the blog. With that out of the way, let's get back to the set up.

  1. You have to have something to collect the exhaust.

  2. You need to direct the exhaust through a pipe that doesn't leak.

  3. The pipe or tubes need to lead to a condenser capable of cooling the water.

    1. The condenser could be something simple like a bucket of ice water, a spiraling tube/pipe with enough turns to allow enough contact to cool the water vapor and condense it, and setting it up to let the exhaust come in from the top and go out near the bottom to drip out.

  4. You'll need another container to collect any liquid water you get.

That should be it, in general, for generating liquid water you need from the fuel you are already burning.

Why Would You Want To Consider This For Water Storage Prepping?

In a previous post, I showed how when water is abundant, but drinkable water isn't so abundant, you could use survival filters and rain barrels to collect water from the deluge and filter it such that you could drink it. The filters are made to use in just about any fresh water (not containing salt). They are capable of filtering out a good many contaminants.

But sometimes water isn't so abundant, in any form. So, what can you do about that? Well, that's where fuel can come in handy. Burning generates water vapor and carbon dioxide at a minimum. The tricky part is turning the vapor into a liquid, which we just covered. Sure, it can't cover every scenario, but it can cover one where you have one needed resource, but not another. It turns out, that if you have most kinds of fuel, you can use it to get water. So, it's another tool in your tool belt to help your survival prep efforts in general, and your water storage prepping efforts specifically.

Considerations for Using Any Collected Water

I used a pretty clean fuel for the example set up because it doesn't have a lot of the problems that other fuels, like biomass can have. But, if you were using a fuel like wood, you could still do this. But you would need additional steps. Burning wood will create soot. You would need some kind of exhaust filter to minimize any of that going into your condenser. Otherwise, you can get some nasty water on the other side.

I definitely recommend using a filter on the collection side of things too. The water still may have picked up germs and contaminants in your set up. So, a survival filter would be a good thing to use to treat your water before putting into storage. To add an additional level of safety, it would be a good idea that if you did make such a system, and I intend to try it myself, to test any collected, filtered water to make sure that it passes drinking water standards. It shouldn't have chlorine in it like most tap water does, but that should be expected.

I would like to see how clean the collected water is before being filtered, as well as comparing it to what it is after being filtered. It's a great thing to get verifiable evidence that the water you get from this is safe to drink. If it isn't, well its a case of having water that you can't use. Depending on how much you do yourself in terms of projects and crafts, you could also distill the collected water to help minimize the chances that the water has any unwanted, harmful contaminants in it.


I have been talking a lot about water storage prepping lately. It's a resource that's been fought over in history again and again. That's because it's very valuable, so long as you can use it. You need water at least every three days, approximately. That's not a very long time. Additionally, with hurricanes and torrential rains in some places, and longstanding droughts in others, water is a very important topic and resource.

I hope that I have given you some food for thought, arming you with useful knowledge that can help you expand your survival prepping efforts. Doing so makes your well being when crap hits the fan better secured. I hope you all stay safe out there, and I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment!

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