Aquapol - does it work?

Aquapol - the latest damp scam..

We are getting a lot of enquiries from people who are being scammed by the latest rubbish drying system called Aquapol.  It's being flogged by a bunch of Europeans - who seem to be based loosely in Austria, Hungary, and Poland.  It's a wonderful invention apparently - you hang a magnet from the roof, and all of a sudden all the moisture in your house vanishes.  Its a very expensive magnet - usually about £5,000 worth of magnet plus vat.  It's actually very ugly - looks like a plastic wasps nest, and they hang it from your ceiling.  These people are exhibiting at shows all over the place - including the Period Home shows.  Its a flashy presentation, and of course, like all damp scams, the surveys are free.  

We've recently seen them advertising in the SPAB newsletter - as you can imagine SPAB are being put firmly in their place..

We thought we'd put them to the test, so a client got them to survey a house.  A big house.  With known problems and simple solutions.  In short, he has high ground levels causing penetrating damp, and lack of ventilation, causing interstitial condensation within the walls in some areas of the house.  All very simple issues - easily fixed by sorting the ground levels and roof drainage, and improving overall ventilation.  

In come Aquapol.  The first problem is their flashy Aquapol brochure says 'rising damp specialists since 1985'.  Well deary me - if they really had the solution to rising damp, which has so blighted our homes since the damp industry invented it in the 1960's, you'd have thought they'd have eliminated it by now - they've only had 32 years to get it sorted out!  Their brochure says they've dried out 'several residential properties' and several castles.. WOW!  There must be some seriously deluded people out there to believe in this crap - including a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation - the IHBC - who apparently think they know something about old buildings in this country - who claims to have overseen a test installation by them.  I've seen the survey and figures - and there are so many holes in the IHBC idiots supervision that you could drive a bus through them.  Clearly the bloke knows little about damp, moisture, its causes, and methods of transport.  A bloody magnet - what planet are you on IHBC?  

So back to the test survey.  Well - first we get a load of pretty pictures of a porch.  Its a cold porch with gypsum plaster showing typical condensation damage.  And high ground levels which are creating penetrating damp issues as well.  Then we get a load of pictures of spalling stone externally, with cement mortar jointing. All that's needed here is to drop the ground levels a bit, and rake out the cement and replace it with hot lime mortar jointing.  And take out the bushes growing against the wall, dropping that ground level too.  Cheap and cheerful stuff.  In the porch, we introduce a bit of ventilation, and replace the gypsum with lime.  Total cost - about £1k for a bloke to take a few barrow loads of soil away from the wall, and do a bit of plastering.

So what's Aquapol up to at this point in the quote?  Well - by now we're into convincing the client that we are REALLY technical.  You know how we talk about using thermal imaging, and thermo hygrometers to understand temperature and total moisture in the air.... well these guys want you to know that they use REALLY REALLY special crap.. Its a TROTEC state of the art digital microwave moisture meter / digital wall scanner - and its made in Germany, so it MUST be really good.  Apparently it can find moisture up to 30 cm deep.  There's only one problem with this garbage... it doesnt measure moisture.  It measures conductivity.  So what they now do is to blind you with science.  The quote now shows beautiful images of 'damp' in the wall, recorded by these conductivity meters (they are just fancy German damp meters) that convince you that you have a major 'rising damp' issue - and that the red bits of the image mean your house is about to fall down. Apparently Red / Orange areas of the picture mean the wall is VERY DAMP while DARK BLUE means its dry.  Oh God - the bottom of our test walls were so red, it was so scarey.

They then quote BS 7913 - knowing full well that IHBC are going to want a non-invasive system and they need to have some form of British Standard to hang their hat off.  OK - so we've mentioned 7913 - which, by the way, our idiot from IHBC will like, because they published a special version of it.  (Don't get me wrong here - I fully endorse 7913 - the author, Prof. John Edwards is a champion of conservation, and I helped review the standard when it came out.  What I don't like is people using it to their own crooked aims, or IHBC sticking their incompetent paws in subjects they know nothing about - they are, in reality, a bunch of overstuffed town planners and have no knowledge of technical stuff like damp in buildings.)

OK - so moving on in the 'quote' - out comes the carbide testing kit.  Now they've quoted already that their 'damp meters' are giving them 65 to 150 readings. God knows what the numbers mean - but they look impressive.  The word Bullshit comes to mind.  Then they do a carbide test, and tell us that actually, despite all this horror damp stuff, numbers in the 150 range, and red pictures of the wall, the total moisture content of the wall is about 5%.  

Oh... so its dry then.  Thank heaven for that... 

But the quote goes on - You know those American videos: "Great idea this - you have to watch RIGHT TO THE END... just another ten minutes of bullshit, then we'll give you the magic recipe - BUT THERES MORE - keep listening folks....." and you never do get to the end because you get sick of the bollocks. 

Its about the same with Aquapol really - pictures designed to scare you into thinking you have a problem when you don't, then trying to introduce a convincing scientific method that makes them look vaguely professional despite the fact that they have spent the early part of the quote talking about rising damp - that's never been shown to exist in a laboratory anyway!

So now they proudly tell you that "The Aquapol system also performs a horizontal DPC function and will protect the building from rising damp for many years to come (25 years guaranteed, about 100 years estimated operational lifespan). No other horizontal DPC is needed" - and "The AQUAPOL masonry dehydration system is the latest development in wall drying technology. The heart of the system is a small, lampshade-like device, which is professionally installed onto the ceiling of the ground floor or basement. The device uses some of Earth’s naturally occurring energy to power itself and to dry out the building. The system works for both rising damp as well as laterally penetrating damp (e.g. for rooms or cellars situated underground)."

The AQUAPOL system has received many awards worldwide, such as the Honorary Award of the Austrian Ministry of Science, the prestigious Kaplan medal (the highest distinction in Austria for a scientific invention) and the Architecture Award of the City of Prague, just to name a few.

The last people to claim all sorts of weird European medals and dorky awards were the Holland and Schjriver damp proofing systems - totally discredited, with no scientific basis for their existence either. 

Aha!

Now we get to the crunch:

Please see below the pricing for dehydrating the building using the Aquapol system:

Full building dehydration services with the Aquapol building dehydration system
Full building survey and moisture diagnosis Professional installation of the Aquapol system Long-term monitoring of the dehydration with regular follow-up moisture checks (up to 3-years or until the building is free of rising damp)

£ 5,426
Show discount
Customer receives a special discount in exchange for reference purposes and/or pictures/video documentation of the dehydration process.
-£ 813 Total £ 4,613 Payment 1: After installation £ 2,306
Payment 2: Six months later
£ 2,307
Prices exclude VAT.
This includes the medium sized system which can cover the whole building.


The outcome of the Aquapol system is a building permanently free of rising damp.

Now where is the catch?

Ah - well - as with the other damp wallies, there's always a few little hidden phrases:

Freestanding walls: Aquapol UK guarantees that all freestanding (above ground level) walls within the active range of the device will dry out and reach air-dry state within the specified time period, assuming all other moisture sources (e.g. leaks) interfering with the dehydration process, have been rectified.

.... so we got to rectify all the problems first folks - and that includes high ground levels, leaks, penetrating damp, and lack of ventilation...

So.. WHY THE HELL ARE WE BUYING A BLOODY MAGNET?

There's more:

The following cases are excluded from the money-back guarantee:
- Damp patches on the surface of plaster/walls as a result of using incorrect plaster or building materials, or incorrect renovation procedures (e.g. skimming, dot & dab etc.)
- Damp patches on the surface due to the presence of hygroscopic salts
- The client has changed its mind
Once the wall fabric has reached air-dry state and the building became dry, the money-back guarantee stops and it will be replaced by the 25-year functional warranty.

Ah - so impervious materials like gypsum plaster and cement are excluded then - so if we have cement, gypsum, dot and dab, skim walls it doesn't apply - so that means we need to rectify those first and lime plaster - which is what we need to do anyway to get the walls dry, 

So.. WHY THE HELL ARE WE BUYING A BLOODY MAGNET?

Oh my God - they do a what?  An ELECTROSMOG survey..... Yup folks, pick yerselves off the floor - they check there's nothing that will interfere with their Bloody Magnet.

And right at the end, they proudly claim to be a Trustmark registered company - erm... you mean Trustmark that's got the head of the damp industry Property Care Association on its board of Directors, and is just another scam organisation trying to give a thin veil of credibility to all these scammers out there.  

So - to summarise - Aquapol will survey your house for a phenomenon that doesn't exist, flog you a very expensive 'system' - thats just a bloody magnet,  and won't guarantee its working unless you remove all the things that cause moisture retention in your home, like gypsum, cement, plastic paint, high ground levels, leaky gutters, etc etc - you know - all these things we talk about on the rest of the site that cost you nothing to fix, and will avoid your having to spend £5,000 PLUS vat on a BLOODY MAGNET!

Aquapol - bullshit alert!

There's some serious scientists out there who have looked at this rubbish and if you want to see some videos of the crackpot that 'invented' this, have a look at this forum.  Interestingly there are some great videos, which absolutely flatten the concept.  The inventor is some sort of crackpot religious fanatic too - scientologist... !

Bullshit Alert!

I hope you have a really good laugh at this stuff - it would be funny if these fraudsters werent actually selling many thousands of pounds worth of this crap to unsuspecting home owners.

AND - I CANNOT believe that the IHBC - the Institute of Historic Building Conservation has actually got a senior Member to review and support this garbage - just goes to show how low the IHBC has sunk - they are hardly a viable Conservation movement any more.

More Aquapol sales scams

Scooting around on the internet finds sites like this one:

risingdamptreatment.co.uk - which a cursory look will soon reveal has that many holes in it a London bus could drive through.  

They make this totally stupid comment:

"Rising damp is a common problem in Scotland. Old stone buildings have no damp proof course and they can become damp and cold"

What planet are these morons on?  

..and to follow on down the page these comments:

The following symptoms observed in the cellar or ground floor mean you have rising damp.

  • Wallpaper peeling off
  • Paint damage
  • Plaster brittle or flaking off
  • White salty patches on the wall
  • Blisters appearing under the (emulsion)paint
  • Visible moisture border
  • Musty smell

All we can say to this is BOLLOCKS! These symptoms could be from a leaky gutter, blocked drain, or just the wrong plaster - and nothing to do with the mythical rising damp.

 

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