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Fireplaces within American Ingenuity Domes

Ai suggests that dome owners try to locate their fireplace toward the middle of the dome, rather than along the outside edge which would cause the flue to be very high on the outside. This puts more of the flue pipe inside the house where it can radiate the heat.

How is the fireplace flue installed in the Ai dome? Contact Ai for a document that explains how to cut a hole in the panel, affix bolts to the dome, etc.)

  • As long as the flue pipe is round, simply bust a hole in the thin concrete of the component panel. Do not cut within eight inches of a concrete seam center.
  • Enlarge the hole in the E.P.S. insulation so that you can replace the E.P.S. with 2” of fiberglass insulation. (Most times the flue pipes are double walled so you do not have to replace the E.P.S. with fiberglass insulation.)
  • Then concrete around the flue pipe, caulk and paint.
  • Use a nonsilicon caulk like urethane or latex or use a butyl rubber.

In the Ai Domes can I use a fireplace to heat them? Yes. Ai’s smaller sized domes (22’, 27’, 30’, 34’) have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater. A ventilating wood stove or fireplace may provide all the needed heat for even our larger domes located in cold climates. Bear in mind in some states, including Florida, a permanent heat source has to be shown in your building plans and installed within your dome. This means a space heater would not be acceptable. You would need baseboard heat installed or a furnace to comply with the permanent heat source requirement.  Ask your building department if they have a permanent heat source requirement.

Can even your 45’ dome be heated with a fireplace? Yes if the heat from your fireplace is blown through your duct system to heat each of your rooms.  The following Home Power magazine article discusses how the Collar's heat their dome with a fireplace.

What do you need when you are going to live in a high desert (7,500 ft. elev.) 40 miles from the nearest town with the winters reaching down 20 degrees below zero? That is where Jim and Mary Collar planned to build their solar retirement home. To extend electric power to their home site would cost $22,000.00 so the Collars decided to produce their power using photovoltaic solar cells with a back up generator. Their primary source of heat would be their fireplace.

In 1995 after researching many alternative-building methods, they found their home, an American Ingenuity 45'’Dome House and 30'’garage. The American Ingenuity dome kit was selected for its strength, energy efficiency and its affordability. They selected sub contractors for the construction of their two domes with Mary being the general contractor. Jim was commuting 40 miles to his job but on evenings and weekends they could work together. They were asked by the state of Utah to participate in “Utahs’1998 Tour of Innovative Homes” which is in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society’s National Tour of solar Homes.

Can a fireplace be added to any of Ai’s domes? Yes, a fireplace can be added to any of American Ingenuity’s domes. But it may affect the second floor framing, so the stock plan might need to be modified.

If the fireplace change does not affect the second floor framing, can I make the change on my building plans myself? Possibly, ask your building department. Most building departments will allow you to make simple non-structural changes to Stock Plans by noting them on the blueprints. This might include such minor changes as:

  • Adding, subtracting, or changing the location of solar tubes or a fireplace
  • Shifting the location of interior doors
  • Altering the size of the windows or doors located in the entryways if they do not effect your Energy Report.
  • Substituting a door for a window in an entryway
  • Substituting a wall for an open rail
  • Switching the placement of the kitchen sink and major appliances

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