Plumbing and Electrical Summary for Earthbag Houses

Embed anchors for electrical boxes between courses of bags as you build.
Embed anchors for electrical boxes between courses of bags as you build.

These topics have already been covered in various posts on our blog, but I’m pulling everything together here for easy reference. Our blog now has 1,460 blog posts and it’s getting more difficult to find things. For those building an earthbag home, the bottom line is plumbing and electrical is 99% the same as conventional construction. The few differences are shown here. Everything else you need to know can be learned from library books or pocket guides. I prefer simple electrical and plumbing pocket guides because they show only what you need.

Run romex wire in the gap between courses of bags and pin in place with fencing staples or nails. Embed wood blocking (anchors) as you go wherever you want an electrical box. I like to use pieces of tree branches as anchors. Simply screw the box to the end of the branch. If you want to add additional electrical boxes, you can do so with 1/4″ rebar pins.
Installing Electrical Boxes
Installing Additional Electrical Boxes
Other Uses for ¼” Steel Rod

Run water lines and drains under the earthbag walls through a steel sleeve and up through an interior wood framed plumbing wall (often 2×6 studs). Since all the plumbing is typically within the plumbing wall, almost everything is conventional.
Common Plumbing Walls

My Earthbag Building Guide covers these subjects in slightly more detail, although the above information should be enough to get by. Check with code officials before building! The above methods are perfectly safe and can meet code, however, they may not be accepted in some areas.

11 thoughts on “Plumbing and Electrical Summary for Earthbag Houses”

  1. Hi, I am required to put a grey water system into an earth bag house. Walls were built with earth filled bags, chicken wire and mud plaster in a wooden framework. I need to make a hole through this wall for a 40 mm pvc pipe to fit through. Have you any ideas on how I can do this?
    Thanks for any help
    Johan Lombard (South Africa)
    Note: you can see the house of which I am talking if you google “Sandbag House Jeffreys Bay.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I felt confident in my skills building an earthbag structure, but really had no idea how to incorporate plumbing and electric. I appreciate your page! If anyone would care to support me in building my first earthbag home, visit to donate. I will be posting my progress along the way!

  3. I believe it’s true, you can save more with common plumbing wall. Also, I believe you will save much more with the regular shelling out of money for maintenance than what you will have to spend should the plumbing breaks down for good.

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  5. May we please get a complete copy of your Solar Pit House Plan we are really interested in using it on our property in Oklahoma. It luckily is outside of the town limits and has very little zoning and other troublesome government involvement issues. We plan on being as green as possible and solar as well. The land has a really nice rock ridge and slope that we plan to use to our advantage and we are excited to get started but we are planning long range as a retirement home. So there is at least 4 years to plan, adjust, and do steps slowly but surely and get things hopefully right. We have been throwing the idea around over 6 months already and have been looking at multiple plans but this one just seems right for us. I’ve done a lot of construction in the past but traditional and the only part that I am apprehensive about is the plumbing below surface levels. I know there are good books out there and I am sure its more a road block in my mind than in practice but, none the less, its my one fear. At any rate the plans and any other light you can shine our way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your help in advance and your work that we have enjoyed already so very much!
    Mari & Larry Freeman


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