Keeping bugs snakes and critters out of a earthen floor house or building?
I'm planning to build a Rocket Mass Heater soon. My problem is I have a trailer house I do not expect the floors to be good for such heavy mass or maybe not safe for such heat at the source. No worries about fires as I been heating for many years with a wood burner anyway and the trailer was built with a factory fireplace installed also.
I do not need to worry about any codes or junk where I will be building, I can freely build anything I want.
So, my thought is to add a heat room as I would call it. Build an addition to the trailer house with an earth floor and fire resistant walls etc....
That room would be also used maybe as a living room or den etc... or maybe even for sleeping in depending how I build it and how large.
Questions are though, how do I build the earth floor so that it is insulated to not loose much heat to the ground, and keep out things I don't want crawling into the house.
In the woods here we have copper head snakes, tarantulas ( I found a large one in this trailer once years ago not long after we set it up ), black widows, Brown Recluse, and all the other typical things like mice, squirrels, armadillos, etc.. etc.. and ground dwelling insects, none of which I want burrowing up through my earth floor into the house of course. Snakes would be my main concern I think.
As for the earth, there is allot of clay here. I'd probably just have a back hoe/ front loader dig up the old pond area I was starting to put in years ago that never got finished do to incompetent equipment operators that could not understand I want the work done as I wanted not the way they normally did things elsewhere!
I think even they could perhaps get the concept of dig here and dump over there, but I am not totally sure of that LOL
I think I might make the floor about 2' high above the ground.
Although the ground was supposed to be graded level, those incompetent equipment operators I mentioned did not level the ground, only basically cleared it of top soil! 70' trailer is about 1' off ground at rear and about 5' at tongue!
So depending where I will build on the room and how far down I want to step going into the room it will be about 2' - 4' above ground level.
I am thinking for a heat room and convection heat that if the room floor is about 1-2' lower than the trailer floor then the cold air should naturally flow into the heat room seeking the lower level and the hot air rise and flow into the trailer house at the higher level.
Of course I also intend to install 12V fans to force hot air as needed through the house.
I built a heat room such as this once for an old temporary trailer we lived in, it was a normal wood burner heat source though, and normal wood frame room, the the room worked quite well just leaving the rear trailer door open to the heat room built on.
I would probably tie the existing duct work for the furnace we have never used into the heat room also to draw cold air from all the rooms into the heat RMH area.
This should avoid most cold drafts across the house floor going to heat room and help pull heat into the other rooms as well, and no fans needed for that hopefully.
If I used the duct work to push heat into the rooms as normal I would need a large fan, but I think my way since the duct would be the lowest area and cold air wants to drop I'd have a natural convection as well as the RMH heating that duct air would cause it to want to rise which should put a small suction on the duct work also to help it flow.
I must admit I did not have the time to really go through your post in detail. Critters (including snakes which we bring into many structure to control rodents) is not as much an issue with earthen floors and many novice think. If you could give me questions in the 1. 2. 3. etc format I could more effectively answer them possibly for you.
You can use a layer of vapor barrier and rigid foam insulation beneath an earthen floor, if you like. A solid earthen floor (not just a dirt one, but mixed and applied nicely over gravel) probably won't let critters in very easily so I doubt that is an issue.