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Ice House ?

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The other night my wife asked me "how are we gonna keep things cold?"-got me to thinking. I'd like to build a small ice house for off the grid refridgeration,but I don't know much about them. What I'm thinking is sort of a dugout type thing,maybe 8"x12" with a roof made out of 2 thicknesses of metal roofing,covered by 3-4 feet of sawdust,and another foot or so of sand(it's what passes for dirt around here).Will I need to have insulated sidewalls or will just being underground be ok? I,m thinking of packing the back 8x8 or so solid with ice in the winter:will this last all summer? Ithits 100 pluss almost every day here all summer long. OH YA-I would plan on building this where it would always be shaded. Any input anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated!

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well there is always the remove a AC form a car and mount it on piece of I beam with a small motor vent it into a box.


there are thermoelectric cells that go into a vehicle cooler {portable 12 volt} but it only gives between 40 to 50 degrees

below ambient temperature so if it is 100 degrees your cold one will be 50 to 60 degrees does not sound cold but you get

used to it you could combine the clay {terracotta pot refer}and the 12 volt and get a combined effect.


and the well or spring is a good idea but it has to be deep enough to have a thermocline here that is about 9 to 14 foot deep

under shade it is a bit cooler if the water is still but streams need to be deep.

in the mountains run off is whatever it is from it could be hot if it is a hot spring or cold if it is ice runoff


if you have a lot of water you can build a cooling tower but that requires a pump or if your on a hill and can redirect it there is a lot of loss to evaporation but if your pulling off a stream it would not matter it would still be better to have a pump or water wheel to recirculate a closed system with an underground tank there are other considerations but you get the gist of it.


and then there is the canvass water bag {evaporation method} it sucks except in the desert or if your moving fast here

high humidity it does not work this is also like the swamp coolers water runs over a filter material fan blows air through it

the filter material slows the water down to maximize the effect a small pump siphons water from a sump up over the filter material it also needs a valve attached to a water source so as the water is evaporated it can be replaced this does not work in high humidity works great in low humidity.


if your luck enough to live where the frost line is deep you can have a root cellar and line it with hay and pack ice in it separated with hay it may last the summer but you would need a good size cellar and a french drain or sump and keep the water drawn

off because it melts the ice faster as it becomes the temp of the surrounding soil / stone walls.


and there is the anhydrous ammonia reverse thermal method closed system 2 tanks heat one and it flows to the other

and it is in a bucket it will freeze a bucket of water to ice then revers the process and it will condense back to the other tank

it works like a travel trailer liquid propane powered refrigerator but this can be used in a regular wood {whatever heat source} fire.


then there is the old put it in a bottle wrapped in a thick rag tie a rope to it and swing it around your head for 3 to 5 minutes

and wala you have a cold one well about 65 degrees give me a break this is off the top of my head.

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I just checked the google using "building ice storage house" and there is a bunch of places that address the matter.


I remember my dad telling us about cutting ice out of the Mississippi River and putting it up when he was young. The Amish still do it today in our neck of the woods. Most have ice houses and use the sawdust from their saw mills for insulation as many of them are in the wood business around here.


We are fortunate having a spring that runs into a lake on our place for summer cooling and old man winter takes care of that the rest of the year.


Good luck in you project.

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For those up north where winter is really winter and you get a two foot freeze on lakes, in a CME EMP event an ice house would be a cash cow for you if you could get to a river that runs south to people who would pay highly for ice or as I could see a few people will be able to get enough tech together to get something moving on the rail system and they would probably buy from you to sell south, the tech of ice houses as I understand them is very simple find and area where the permafrost is shallow dig a hole big and deep enough to keep the roof and all the structure as well as the ice below the permafrost line and fill the thing with ice blocks from local lakes and ponds you have to put the blocks on pallets and run the floor into a drain that you pump out ,this runoff will be enough for you to refrigerate for yourself and even run a locker service with a little ice, it would seem to me the larger the operation the more efficient it would be.think large family or a community. As for in the desert I would think finding enough ice in blocks large enough would be nearly impossible, also finding and moving them over level ground or down hill would be important to efficiency

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Here in st Louis and all along the Mississippi and Missouri there are large caves and caverns in the sides of the banks that were used and expanded for use as ice storage for barge traffic and they used the areas in and by them for meat and produce storage.

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