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Old 07-07-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default Best way to build an Icehouse?

If you could stay where you are and live in a cold area after SHTF how hard would it be to build an Ice house like the ones seen on the old "Little House on the Prairie" series?
Just something I have been thinking about, I have read all the books and know that on the series they had an ice house and many of the (ok no laughing here) historical romance books reference ice houses and even Thomas Jefferson stored ice and snow for summer eating and cooling of drinks and such.
Say that you end up in a nice place or your own home after the big poo hits and want some cold in the summer, as a community it might be feasible to build one for storing ice cut from the ponds or rivers around here(or near you lol).

And I was thinking that it could be built in stages like the ice going in the deepest area with a couple of little rooms/doorways to go thru like airlocks where stuff could be kept cold like milk and meats etc. Any one here have any idea how to go about something like that or have seen plans from old ones, or would this be just another pipe dream?


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Old 07-07-2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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You need to be near a lake or river that will make the ice blocks. It also helps if you have a lot of sawdust available.



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Old 07-07-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sourdough View Post
You need to be near a lake or river that will make the ice blocks. It also helps if you have a lot of sawdust available.
Less than a mile from a pond and a river. But as to sawdust, would packing it with straw or hay or even leaves work? Gotta think that no power would kinda kill the local sawmill.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:05 PM   #4
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Less than a mile from a pond and a river. But as to sawdust, would packing it with straw or hay or even leaves work? Gotta think that no power would kinda kill the local sawmill.

Yes, it will work; However the sawdust is re-useable for several years, and is somewhat more sanitary. As a general rule the Icehouse is next to the lake or river, as cutting and hauling 2'X2'X3' blocks of ice on a sled is kind'a work.

Note that some tool will be needed to extract the block of ice, after it is cut "By Handsaw". One way is when the lake is first safe to walk, you hand drill 0ne inch holes every 3' and insert a 3/4" stick, to use for lifting in the spring.
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:29 PM   #5
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My Dad talked about an ice saw and tongs for cutting and lifting the blocks. They had a cellar under their barn where they stored the ice. I remember as a child seeing the wooden steps leading down to the cellar when my Dad lifted the trap door to show me.

I'd guess that some kind of ice cleats (like removable "yax trax") on one's boots would make it safer to be standing out there lifting blocks of ice out. I wouldn't want to slide into the open water.

A person could use an ice fishing sled (or other sled) to move the blocks off the lake/river/pond.

2'X2'X3' blocks would be pretty heavy. I suppose smaller ones would melt too fast?

We used to make a snow cave before we had a refrigerator. We'd lay a plastic 50-gallon barrel on it's side, facing north with a board laying under each side to keep it from rocking. Over winter we'd keep packing snow against and over it as tight as we could.

By spring it would have about 4' of tightly packed snow that had hardened almost to ice. Then we'd break open bales of old hay or straw and spread that a foot or so thick over the whole thing. One year we put a tarp over that with the shiny foil-like side facing the sun. That actually melted the snow faster than just using the straw.

The end that opened had a screw on lid. We laid a board inside the barrel, cut to make a level "floor", to set food on. We took two pieces of 1" thick styrofoam, glued them together and fitted it against the outside of the lid. To get into the barrel you set the styrofoam aside, unscrewed the lid, and put food in or took it out.

The last of the snow would melt some time in July. Then there was no more milk, etc., other than powdered milk, but we kept butter, cheese, condiments, etc. in the root cellar the rest of the summer. It was cool enough in there for pitchers of water for making ice tea or lemonade. On a 90 degree day, that 50 degree water from the root cellar was pretty refreshing.

We got a refrigerator 3 years ago. We run it off our solar panel set-up 6 months of the year and use the cold winter air the rest of the year.

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Old 07-07-2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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I think if I was going to make a modern ice house I would build it with a "quad" wall and roof.

An outer layer of filled blocks or concrete. 6" to 12" of high R-factor foam board, three feet of earth fill, and another layer of filled blocks or concrete. Make the roof the same with poured concrete or timbers. Inside have slatted wood shelves for the ice blocks to rest on, with curtains of some type to isolate a section of storage. Add collection trays underneath to catch any melt.

A set of small, heavily insulated doors with an airlock the thickness of the wall between them for the entrance.

I'd also use some type of slightly tapered rubber or heavy plastic container, (or even silicone sealed wood) to make blocks of ice of a size easy to handle. Fill the containers whenever it is below freezing, set them on racks outside the ice house, and then unmold the ice blocks and stack them in the ice house, ready for use.

It would take a bit of time, at least several days of subfreezing weather, to generate enough ice that could be collected from a frozen river or pond in just one day of collection. But using fresh water from the tap, the ice would be suitable for food use where the river or pond ice likely would be contaminated.

It would also take some time intially to cool the earth and block inner walls to near freezing, but once it was done, the large mass would help hold the cold.

And the ice house could have cooling coils added to the ceiling and even the walls with a compressor unit piped outside to use during normal times when power was available to keep the ice hard frozen for use when there was no power.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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Old 07-07-2010, 06:01 PM   #7
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Jerry, that's a great plan.

I especially like the idea of using a container as a form to make blocks instead of cutting them out of a lake/river/pond. It would have to be something that wouldn't crack or break as the ice froze. Hmmm...

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:24 PM   #8
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I also think that it is a great Idea! As long as we still have a pump to pump water with, I have been seriously thinking about buy a deep well hand pump for our capped off back well. Need to raise cash for that tho, can be kinda expensive, but it would be so worth it.. We lose power several times a year for any length of time from a few minutes to days, and a hand pump on the property would be really handy.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:06 AM   #9
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The mold for the ice blocks would need to be tapered to allow for expansion and to make it easier to un-mold. Rubber would be great, if you can find something of a suitable size. Farm and ranch stores might carry stock feeders or something similar in rubber.

Wooden ones could be built and silicone sealed and treated for easy block removal, plus by putting handles on them (much easier than rubber ones) you can make them a bit bigger because they can be handled so much easier.

Could also use the buckets you can often get for free from bakeries and such. They wouldn't last more than a season or two, I think, but if you can get them free, it wouldn't be so bad.


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Old 07-09-2010, 09:17 PM   #10
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The easiest way would be the proven way which requires no transportation of ice. Only a supply of water and cold winters. Here, read this:




underground-refrigerator.jpg  

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