How to Make Chimneys in Earthbag Buildings
Questions answered by Kelly Hart

Q: I will be installing some type of fireplace, please can you give me some suggestions as to how to provide for the chimney!

A: When I put in the pipe for my wood stove, I used stainless steel "Metalbestos" pipe that is designed for zero clearance situations and is safe to imbed right in the earthbag wall. This same pipe can be used for a fireplace.

Q: Is it best to put the chimney out the top or side? Does the volley ball vent leak?

A: The stove pipes that I have installed were placed near the peak, but they could have gone at the very top. I have generally placed air vent pipes at the peak, and these pipes have a bonnet on the outside which keeps any rain from entering. The tether ball vents have not leaked. In the US you can buy insulated stove pipe that is safe to put right up against the bag material. If something like this is not available you could probably get by with placing cement-stabilized fill in the bags that will touch the pipe.

Q: I saw your information on building a small earthbag home, I couldn't help but wonder how you made the pipe for the stove fit straight up. I am planning on building a small cluster of domes, partially bermed and I want to include a wood stove but thought (until I saw your images) that I would have to make the pipe go out at an angle. Could you tell me how you did it?

A: I situated the stove right at the center of the dome so that the pipe exits at the apex. Otherwise it would likely be necessary to have the pipe exit on an inclined surface of the dome. In either case, you can use a zero-clearance stovepipe, like Metalbestos, that can be embedded right in the earthbag dome.

Q: I am having a wood stove in my house. Is it safe to have the bags in the ceiling with the pipe going through it? I know the actual insulation is fine with the heat, but I am concerned about the actual bags.

A: I used zero clearance Metalbestos stovepipe sections where the stove pipe comes in contact with the bags, just to be on the safe side. The scoria won't burn, but the bag material will.


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