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Getting rid of humidity inside walls with electricity? Answered

A friend in Europe wants to get rid of the humidity that comes from the ground up into the walls of his old house because of the high hygroscopicity of the building materials (stone and raw bricks), humidity that then goes out to the sides, ruining the plaster and the paint of the walls inside the house. The house is built directly on the ground.
Apart from cutting the wall at the base and putting an insulating layer or making holes and pouring synthetic resins to isolate the section, all complicated and expensive procedures, he found an interesting system (called kalibradry, with some copycats around) that fights the capillary action of water by breaking up water dipoles through a magnetic field.
Here is a link to the company's explanations on how the thing works : http://http://www.skm-italia.eu/skm/DocumentiProfessionisti/14_ITA.pdf (it is in Italian, but it has lots of pictures plus a simple google translate should do most of the job)
and here is the link to the company website: http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skm-italia.eu%2Fskm%2Fit%2Fdefault.aspx&langpair=it|en
The system, to my surprise, seems to be quite effective, so much that it is being used all over Europe (mainly Germany, Austria, Italy), even in valuable historical buildings, such as the Unesco recognised Palazzo del Te in Mantua with frescoes of the Renaissance master Mantegna. I doubt they would allow anything dodgy or dangerous plus I called directly and the museum confirmed they are using the system succesfully and plan on expanding experimantation.
I was wondering if anyone could think of a DIY version of the system, since the price for one is around 5000 USD, way above my friend's budget.

As a secondary note, there is an even more astonishing system, although much more dodgy, called aquapol that seems to be using electrostatic electricity to deflect water, making it more difficult for water to "climb up" walls
this also seems quite effective and is being used in historical buildings as well, but I wonder how it could ever work without an energy source.

5 Replies

Kiteman (author)2011-02-26

The physical barrier method (called "damp course" in the UK) is the only method allowed under UK building regulations (whether it is built in, or injected), and the only method accepted by UK insurers.

If you are going to install an electromagnetic system, you have to bear in mind that you have;

> Permanent energy demands and subsequent bills

> Risk to the property in the event of power-loss

> Depending on how powerful it is, you may also find it interferes with wireless / radio signals.

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wilson14 (author)Kiteman2011-02-26

Thank you for the reply. My friend is not so much worried about the insurance but rather about the dryness of his home.
The company that produces the system (kalibradry) gives a lifetime warranty of dryness and the average annual cost per year is of 3-4 pounds a year in electricity.
I was wondering whether such a system can be done DIY without spending the 3000 pounds and more the company asks for, since the technology behind it shouldn't be too complicated, apart getting the right frequencies to break the dipoles apart.

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Kiteman (author)wilson142011-02-26

The wonky translation takes some picking apart, but I have deep doubts about its working operation - you switch it on, and a spherical magnetic field magically stops capillary action in any masonry up to 15m away?

(Your friend should be worried about the insurance - without a certifiable moisture barrier, he may not be able to get building insurance, and without building insurance he would have to pay for repairs (say, from damp) himself.)

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wilson14 (author)Kiteman2011-02-27

Thanks for the reply and the concern. My friend told me the house already has an insurance, but it doesn't cover moisture since the house originally doesn't have a physical barrier (it was built more than 50 years ago, in raw bricks and stone). Therefore he would like to find the best way to make it dry without spending a fortune (resins on rough and thick walls can become quite expensive) or weakening the structure (cutting through the walls to put the barrier). Among the options the one using the electromagnetic field to break the dipoles of water and thus inhibit water from coming up the walls.
I know it seems like a magic trick (even more so with the aquapol system that doesn't even use electricity), but what shocks me is that institutions in Europe are succesfully testing them on important buildings plus the companies who produce the systems guarantee full success or they give the money back.
I am not a scientist so I was wondering if the concept behind kalibradry was reasonable or not, and in case it was, after a bit of calculations, see if it can be reproduced.

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wilson14 (author)wilson142011-02-27

Surfing aound I finally found out that I understood the problem wrongly:

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