Many old and even new houses are affected by rising damp problems. The lower sections of walls and floors in basements and on groundfloors are often saturated with water, which has been sucked up from the wet earth underneath the house, resulting in paint and even plaster falling off the walls, with constant repairs having no effect. For as long as walls are wet, the problem keeps coming back.
Even new houses with dampcourses and drainage systems often can’t escape the rising damp problem due to inadequate positioning of the dampcourse (failing to put it under foundation walls) and damages during construction.
If you think about the yearly repairs, hassle, money wasted and the fact that humidity is bad for your health, a final solution to solve the problem once and for all becomes pressing.
How can we tackle this problem?
A system that was developed in Germany 18 years ago (available in Portugal for eight years) uses electro-osmosis to eliminate any rising damp. A small unit (20cm x 20cm) releases magnetic pulses that change the polarity of watermolecules in walls and floors and, together with the negative loaded earth, the watermolecules are pushed down until they are underneath the foundation.
This means that in 1.5-3 years, humidity in walls is less than 3% on the groundfloor and less than 6.5% in the basement (as stated in the money-back guarantee). Paint and plaster can then be repaired and the rising damp will not occur for at least 35 years.
Having already installed over 100 units in Portugal (80 in the Algarve), we have many references from people who have seen rising damp problems in their homes disappear once and for all. Those references are available upon request.
However, one of our best references is from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia (see picture). After suffering from a severe rising damp problem for over 200 years (increased by the fact that it is located near a river), a series of tests were carried out and the decision was taken to install 191 units that are now keeping the entire museum dry. All those countless paint and plaster restoration jobs in the past 200 years are now history! The museum stays dry as long as the units keep on working.
How to save energy
■ Many people try to tackle rising damp by using dehumidifiers. They are, in fact, counter-productive as they extract humidity from the air as well as from the walls and the floors, causing both to get a bit drier but only for them to suck up more humidity from the wet earth underneath the house … a vicious circle.
Dehumidifiers are big energy consumers and only increase the rising damp problem. But with the osmosis units installed, dehumidifiers are totally unnecessary.
■ When after 1.5-3 years your house is dry, you will save up to 25%-65% on your heating bills as dry walls and floors need much less energy to heat than houses with rising damp issues.
■ Instead of annually repairing paint and plaster, it is only necessary to do this once in a while as the house stays dry for at least 35 years.
■ The unit itself does not need any maintenance and represents a €10-yearly energy cost.
Although in the past units were mainly installed to solve rising damp problems, more and more people are now installing them as prevention.
The unit eliminates any rising damp and prevents also new rising damp from occuring.
We install in new-build and renovated properties where we can see repaired sections of walls that could likely lead to rising damp problems.
It is comforting to know that wall and floor repairs will not be needed and your house will stay dry for at least the next 35 years.
By Martin Verloop
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Martin Verloop has a background in architecture and civil engineering, and is founder of Drymat Portugal. He works as a partner in the Sustainable Superstore project. Free advice and in situ inspections are available.962 435 572 | www.drymatportugal.com