Aquapol has been described as a space-age technology for drying out buildings. For more than 30 years the Aquapol device has been used in buildings in Europe, and for the past four years has been available for installation in the United States. The system solves the most stubborn of moisture problems afflicting buildings (specifically the building envelope) — that of rising moisture, which is a key reason for masonry and plaster decay, as well as mold and the accompanying smells. Rising moisture has been found by a World Health Organization study to be a major contributor to “Sick Building Syndrome”.
Approximately the size of a lamp fitting, the Aquapol device has no moving or electrical parts, no batteries, and is warranteed for 20 years. The drying out period of building walls may range from a few months to a couple of years —while requiring no disruptive and aggressive masonry work in a facility. The word Aquapol is derived from Aqua, Latin for water, and “pol” which is short for polarization. It works by reversing the electrical polarity of water molecules in a building’s walls and driving them back into the ground.
Warren Bruckmann, chief executive of Aquapol USA, says Aquapol, which has more than 50,000 installations in 22 countries, provides a new understanding of hitherto “unseen energies” that cause water to rise five to six feet up the walls of buildings. “Facilities managers often underestimate the costs associated with wet buildings. Quite apart from the health hazards in the form of mold-related illnesses for occupants, a wet building is costly to maintain,” he says.
A test conducted by college lecturer Jim Gains, from Springfield, IL, yielded a 65% reduction in energy bills a year after installing the device in his home. It also eliminated mold and mildew smells. Facilities managers have long known that a dry building is cheaper to power in both summer and winter. Bruckmann points out that energy savings can be expected once Aquapol has started drying out the building, though the extent of savings is variable.
In April 2016, a test was conducted at the University of Minnesota, where half the building was covered by the Aquapol device, leaving the other half unaffected. After five months the Aquapol-covered area demonstrated a 37% reduction in internal wall moisture, while the uncovered portion of the building showed a slight increase in moisture. For this, the DARR (Darroch Analysis with Rank Reduction) method of moisture analysis was utilized. (This is the method used by Aquapol to determine installation results.)
With DARR, moisture measurements are done by taking core samples from walls (before and after drying out at various intervals) and then tested in a Sartorious Moisture Analyzer. Samples of the material (e.g. concrete, soil) to be analyzed are packed in an airtight container and delivered to a laboratory. They are accurately weighed and then dried at 105°C (221°F) to a constant weight. The moisture content is calculated based on the difference between the wet weight before the “oven dry” weight.
Conventional treatments for rising moisture involve the injection of chemical-based vapor barriers into the walls to arrest the upward flow of water. While these are oftentimes effective, they will eventually fail once the vapor barrier becomes punctured, which is an inevitable result of movement in the building, however slight.
Aquapol’s inventor is an Austrian engineer by the name of Willy Mohorn, who adapted a technological discovery of another inventor, Nikola Tesla (developer of alternating current, fluorescent lighting, radio, and dozens of other technologies now in common use). Mohorn has received numerous awards for his Aquapol invention, including Austria’s prestigious Kaplan award for scientific innovation.
Aquapol sites include the Vatican, the Budapest parliament building, the Joseph Haydn Museum in Austria, Schlatt Castle in Germany, and Celebrity Center in Nashville, TN.