Realities of living underground

A lot of preppers fantasize about underground shelters, whether as an emergency-only bunker or a daily home that is both safe and more eco friendly. But it seems that, like most things, fantasy is different from reality.

Found this interesting post where a family moved into their dream underground home, but turned out not to like it. Here’s their reasons why:



  • Comments (7)

    • 8

      And I thought WE had drainage problems!

    • 4

      Really good reality check

    • 6

      I’ve read the above article before too and agree it shows some good examples of what not to do.  Structural strength and moisture mitigation are really important underground.  It can be done but isn’t cheap.  This isn’t something you want to buy that’s been done by a non professional.  I was a general contractor for years and even I would consult on the design before attempting any project.  I put in a 8×10 concrete root cellar cut into a hill on the property here and even with no leaks the moisture buildup is substantial.  Passive airflow is a must to move that moisture out.  The rewards of a constant temperature is really nice if done right though.

    • 3

      Sounds like the nightmares that everyone seems to face after spending way too much on a fallout or bomb shelter.  And why I dont think I would ever want to drop more than 20 or 30k on something like that… even then hoping that you’ll never have to use it.

    • 1

      I’m not a gopher !!, in an emergency I dont want to be hiding underground, I want to be above ground and seeing what is going on that way I can take avoiding action.

    • 3

      Very interesting! Have read similar stories. I think the relevant point here is that they are not advisable in a humid/damp climate. The West has lots of appropriate areas for a well constructed hillside built underground house. A good indicator would also be if houses in the area commonly have basements, and what issues do they have? In our current area, we’re bone dry all summer, but basements leak & flood in wet winters, and so, few homes have them. Therefore, no underground houses or root cellars here! We built a little root cellar/bunker mostly for fun and it’s been known to have up to 4’ of water in it during a wet winter. The kids had a blast with it tho, in summer when dry (with fake battles, etc.) Soil composition would be a huge factor too, for example hard pan layers stop drainage & promote lateral movement of rainwater underground. Lots of local research is needed for such a project. 

      • 1

        If you can figure out the drainage and leaking issues with proper soil composition, an underground house can have many benefits such as an incredibly low heating and cooling utility bill and may be worth the investment. This is something that should be created by a talented contractor though and not your neighbor Joe.

        Also, consider having ways to get outside often for your daily dose of vitamin D. Staying cooped up in a house with low sunlight will lead to issues such as calcium not absorbing into your bones and depression.