Luke, the reader who’s doing our Facebook fan page, sent me this amazing story. It’s all in Russian and I haven’t translated it yet. They built a mass heater/fireplace into the earthbag wall. The thick earthbag wall is the mass.
Rough translation of a few snippets:
Earthbag house with a brick oven in the suburbs. Architect Ilya Sibiryakov.
Practice has shown that adding water [to the soil/cement mix in the bags] is not needed – in a bag rammed mixture acquires the hardness of the stone (subjectively) a day. Tamped layer 4. It comes time to determine the final dimensions of the furnace and flues. Furnace – right tube – on the left, lying between the flue pipe. Before proceeding with the construction of the walls should be planned to test the oven. Dry stacked oven works just as it was planned – enough thrust to smoke escapes through the chimney. At the same time lying channel has a bias [slope], ie, it is not horizontal.
22 thoughts on “Earthbag.Ru Built-in Mass Heater”
I had an idea today regarding the use of the heat that is bound to escape through the external wall. In a cold and/or wet climate, it might be useful to have an enclosed space outside of the heater wall where you could hang clothes to dry in inclement weather.
The thought came to me as a result of thinking about an electric vertical clothes dryer that my grandpa used to use to store his tools in after it stopped drying clothes.
Using the heat from the furnace for drying would be far more efficient… and you could still keep your wood dry too.
Maybe there’s room for both.
It’s an interesting fireplace, but in this case I’d follow my grandparents lead, who lived off-grid not as a statement, but out of necessity in those times, and they had a brick stove with a cast iron stove top, in the middle of their relatively small house, 900 sq feet or so. That set up captured 100% of the heat and I remember how cozy and warm it was even on the coldest winter nights. I wonder if this fireplace, being built into the walls, loses heat. Perhaps the mass of the earth walls captures all of that heat, rather than allowing it to escape.
A centrally located stove is the most efficient. But this design is different. It’s a small house in an extremely cold environment. There may not be any central walls or space in the center of the dome for a stove. Also, there may be an adjoining woodshed next to the dome, not sure. Also note, most of the heat is trapped in the brick stove, which actually projects into the living space. Most of the heat would radiant into the home.
Thanks for posting my project and for your comments :)
Everyone is obviously very impressed, so I have to say thank YOU for the clever idea and posting your project on the web. We look forward to seeing the progress.
Can I ask what will go under the floor?
Ok, I still didn’t finally decide which of the two way to prefer. 1-st is to fill space between beams with furring and make a wooden floor. Or 2-nd is to fill all the space from top of the beams down to the waterproofing on the ground with expanded clay aggregate and cover it by brick-tile floor.
I assume you have plenty of wood available, so that’s what I would use. Maybe fill the space with expanded clay aggregates and build a wood floor. This would require framing between the beams. Maybe you could use pallets to span the difference between beams and build the wood floor on top. The pallets would all have to be the same size and in good condition. Maybe this will raise the floor height too much?
Ilya. Thank you for this great idea! Do you have drawings of the furnace so that DIY builders might be able to replicate it? It seems like a fairly simple construction.
Also, am I correct in thinking that the furnace is loaded from outside the building?
Thank you again
H-m-m. Good idea. Build a woodshed adjoining the home so all the mess is kept outside and so you don’t have to carry the wood so far. This keeps getting better and better. What about the cleanout to remove ashes? You could put that on the woodshed side to keep the house cleaner. And maybe add a door from the house to the woodshed so you don’t have to walk through snow/cold to fire the stove. Also note, stoves like this can burn for several days with no fire tending! I have a video coming up soon about this. It includes complete plans. In fact, maybe I’ll post it in a few minutes.
It is such an awesome concept for heating. I will need to do some more research on it, but it shouldn’t be THAT hard to do, surely?!? After all, once you say “ok. I’m going to build my own house” you are pretty much already certifiable, right? lol
You would need masonry skills and detailed knowledge of masonry heaters.
Nice one Owen! Thanks for that link.
The Masonry Heater Association has a fantastic photo gallery. They also have workshops.
Combining masonry heaters with earthbags is a great concept no else has done to my knowledge.
For the side-draft furnace, I notice that they don’t have the actual fire inside, but accessible from outside the building. Am I right on this? Why would this be?
Next question, would it be possible to have two chimneys with one running under the floor or, at least in part, through the house for the winter, and the other going directly outside for the summer to keep the temp down inside the dwelling? Could you have a slide door/shutter to open one flu and shut the other to change the direction of smoke flow?
I know underfloor heating systems have been used for many centuries. So yes, it sure seems one of these mass heaters could be modified for heating floors, as well as baking, water heating and space heating. The best link is Masonry Heater Association http://mha-net.org/
The ancient Romans used empty spaces under houses and wall flues to circulate hot air for heating and bath warming. The system was called hypocaust. More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocaust
Or you can view it through BabelFish… http://au.babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_url?doit=done&tt=url&intl=1&fr=bf-home&trurl=http%3A%2F%2Fearthbag.ru&lp=ru_en&btnTrUrl=Translate
This allows you to see the pics and the text together… and I don’t have Chrome. :-D
Here is the translation to English…
If you use Chrome it will translate most any web page to english or other language.
Earthbag.ru – home of the bags to the ground in Russia.
Design, construction, consulting, training.
House of the bags to the ground with a brick oven in the suburbs.
Photo stages of construction.
Architect Ilya Sibiryakov
The final type of structure. Ribbon foundation with the broadening of the furnace. After setting, the solution lay out the outlines of brick oven. To improve the adhesion between layers of bags under the bottom layer of bags enclose with expanded clay layers will now `waves’. furnace decided to enter between the concrete walls, as tamper with it is best to bag rested on a solid foundation. Before laying first layer of foundation waterproofing mastic processed. The first portions of soil were added to the cement and a significant amount of water, since was unknown, grab the cement of moist ground without adding water. The soil was so wet that the added water droplets delivered in bags during compaction. Practice has shown that adding water is not needed – in a bag rammed mixture acquires the hardness of the stone (subjectively) a day. Under the bottom layer made air vents. The first layer is completely stowed in bags. So it looks to compaction. On the 1st layer are stacked floor beams with bearing at least 15 cm All logs are stacked and aligned to standards. To prevent slipping bag over each other, are laid between layers of barbed wire. packed layer 4. It comes time to determine the final dimensions of the furnace and flues. Furnace – right tube – on the left, lying between the flue pipe. Before proceeding with the construction of the walls should be planned to test the oven. Dry stacked oven works just as it was planned – enough thrust to smoke escapes through the chimney. At the same time lying channel has a bias, ie, it is not horizontal. Almost google maps:) Over a 5-layer embedded blocks were made for mounting furring and insulation. Left – casing, brace contours of the future of the dome. Adjacency bags to the door frame.
I’ve been planning a earth oven (hasn’t everyone) and the other day I wondered if there might be a woven metal bag (fire resistant) that could be used on the inner parts of the oven, where the heat might melt normal bags.
When I saw this post I immediately wondered what the temperature on the closest bags would be. Great idea though, especially on an interior wall.
Yes, this would work even better on an interior wall.
There’s a mesh material made with fire resistant basalt that could be sewn into tubes or bags. http://www.basalt-mesh-fiber.com/
Steel mesh like expanded metal lath would likely rust too easily in direct contact with the earth and be hard to work with.
One option is biodegradable bags like burlap. The bag material would burn off and leave the tamped earth. But this is risky and unproven. The fired earthen wall might crack and cause a chimney fire or smoke in the home.
Thanks, That basalt fabric looks interesting