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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:eek:) 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?
:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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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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The wanderer
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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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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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The wanderer
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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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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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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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Allen Idaho, THAT is too cool. Thanks for posting it.
 

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"Jerry D Young;

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."


The bakery buckets (2-gal., 5-gal., etc.) don't work. They crack when the water freezes in them. I found that out when water got left in a couple in my garden.

The farm supply store here has rubber buckets and waterers, that's one possibility. I'm sure one of us will think of something even better.
 

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Yesterday I posted a link to a site with a passive loop ice freezing system but the antispam thing (I guess) decided that I couldn't post links yet, if anyone is interested I will try again later after I have some more posts
 

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Yesterday I posted a link to a site with a passive loop ice freezing system but the antispam thing (I guess) decided that I couldn't post links yet, if anyone is interested I will try again later after I have some more posts
Sorry - I didn't see it waiting for approval ... :gaah:
 

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We had an ice company, with an old building, insulated. Layers of sawdust between the blocks of ice. Each year the town would come out to watch the guys cut ice, and have venison burgers my dad made, along with some beer.

The local armory would donate trucks and service guys to haul it back to the ice house, and when the day was done, the wives had cooked a meal for everyone at the town hall.

My dad made the ice cutter from an old Model A, with a giant saw blade on one side of the rear axle, and skis where the other 3 wheels were. A long bar with handles on the front let 4-6 guys pull it along the ice. After rows were cut and the first couple blocks pulled out, an old hay elevator was lowered in the slot, and the ice blocks floated to it, and up into the waiting trucks.

It always seemed liked the coldest day of the year when we did this....but the ice supplied all the neighboring town parks through out the summer, all the special events, and 1 order for a car show of 20-30 tons every year.

I miss those days.
 

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Hello,
The concept is the brainchild of Lance Winslow; stating that the ice is a source of water and can be separated out for oxygen, water could be used for mini-hydroelectric motors.
I am newbie in this forum.
Thanks.
 

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I like my IceHouse one bottle at a time. :beercheer:
 

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I have been thinking about burying a 1500 gallon poly water tank (about $1500) on slightly higher ground, piping it by gravity flow into a insulated box (refrigerator) with a small radiator with maybe a solar powered fan to move air in the refrigerator. The poly water tank and piping would need to be insulated quite well with your choice of insulation. A person could then use 5 gal buckets to freeze ice about 3 gal at a time during cold snaps. If you had, say 20 buckets with loose fit lids, fill about half full, cover, let freeze when the temp drops, when frozen, dip outside bucket in warm water briefly to loosen the ice and throw block into poly tank through man hole. You would want to be careful dropping the first few blocks as they could damage the poly tank on the bottom. The summer melt water from the ice should keep the refrigerator quite cool. Done with a little care, if you used clean fresh water, the discharge from the refrigerator could be recycled for other uses. You would want to make sure your radiator was lead free if using for cooking or drinking. Instead of a radiator and fan, you could have a pool pan in the top of the refrigerator with an overflow for discharge. Probably be about as good.

The big question is, I am not sure at this point how much melt I would get in a day, but thinking along the lines of 10 gallons of ice cold water. This is a basic idea of a spring box using ice melt. This much ice cold water should go along ways towards the needs of refrigeration and should take care of most of the summer. If cared for buckets would last a long time.
Only drawback with this is that you would not have access to the ice in the tank easily. Guess you could build a side hatch that you could get to to get at some ice.
I have a solar powered water well very close and would be easy to use for filling buckets, etc. If melt was not occurring fast enough, all you would have to do is remove some insulation off the hatch during summer heat or just spray a little water on top of the ice during the summer.

Another idea is to bury a old decommissioned chest freezer (generally free for the asking). Insulate around the outside sides and bottom with good insulation. Fiberglass the interior for purpose of water tightness, plumb in a drain line to use the melt water for same idea as above if you want. If you live in cold enough climate, start by putting ice blocks in and then leaving door open during the extreme cold. Add a couple of inches of water at a time. With door open during cold weather, water will freeze fast. Continue till full, then close lid and cover with some type of insulation. With this, you could chip out what you need or you could also use sawdust to keep blocks separate. Where I live, cold is expected and should be used for our advantage. I do have a backhoe so my digging holes right now is no problem.

I have my own ideas how to do these things, scratch your head and you can probably improve on this greatly. I am thinking many days with no power, no gas, just solar power for pumping water and a few other basic needs. Just basic survival skills. Course, then again, I could be all wet.
 

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The wanderer
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Wyoming, you've got some good plans here, but I'd be concerned the 5-gallon buckets would crack as the water freezes. We've had that happen when buckets accidently didn't get dumped. Also cracked a 50-gallon plastic barrel that got missed when we drained them one year.

The idea of making ice blocks is a good one. What to freeze them in, though...? We have a couple of rubber buckets for the livestock, but that would take a while. We DO have a long winter up here, so plenty of time to work on it, I guess.

I see you're new. Welcome to the forum!
 
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