Ongoing Aquapol Research
Research is ongoing. Although the core technology has been in existence since 1985 and it has been tried-and-tested after 30+ years and over 50,000 installations worldwide, continuous improvements are still made to the system to improve its performance and the speed of dehydration.
The image gallery below shows some of the research, as well as highlights some of the very early Aquapol models.
As an interesting reading, please read below an interview with eng. Mohorn the inventor of the Aquapol systems, who recalls some of the early days of the company, the relentless research and resulting technical breakthroughs, as well as some of the challenges the company faced during its early days.
How it all started?
An interview with the Inventor of Aquapol eng. Mohorn
Mr. Mohorn, Aquapol has grown into a reputable company in just two decades and has successfully introduced a unique product onto the European marketplace. Of course we would like to know how it all started.
It all started with a wet cellar in which I had stored my drums. One day I have noticed rust spots on the chrome metal parts. I was so upset that I started to look for a solution.
The only alternative at this time were air dehumidifiers that work with electricity or a device that functions on the basis of geological interference fields. Both of these were location dependent. I had already dealt with alternative energy and had applied for two patents in this field. I started to contemplate a new solution in terms of energy. The idea of a global Earth field which is omnipresent - similar to the ideas of the brilliant scientist Nikola Tesla - started to grow in my mind.
Did you then build your first prototype?
That's right. The first prototype was put together. I built a cylindrical air coil which passed the initial tests with a substantial degree of success. The ends of the coil were made to protrude like an antenna. This first prototype had to be oriented to the north in order to function. I realized only later that this coil had been discovered by Nikola Tesla at the end of the 18th century.
You then performed the first test runs in Vienna.
That's right. My first testing field was in Vienna - the house in Webgasse 45. Of course in my own wet cellar of this building. While descending the cellar stairs I could already smell the typical musty odour - even when the cellar door was closed. The relative humidity was about 80-90%, which is quite high. The recently renovated plaster at the cellar entrance was already becoming damaged. The paint seemed darker in the wet area than in the dry one. You could hardly store anything in the cellar because it was too moist despite ventilation. So it was actually an ideal test area. Besides measuring humidity with the hygrometer I also measured moisture in the masonry in order to obtain objective data.
As an engineer one uses just one criterion to establish whether something is true: does it work? Then something unexpected happened. It took about one or two weeks. I noticed that the musty smell in the cellar entrance started to disappear. Obviously the device was working. I carried out several test series to optimise the device. I was glad to observe some other indicators of dehydration, when former damp, dark walls became brighter, the relative humidity decreased after a few months, and the wall moisture was reduced in the upper portion of the wall. These were promising results after just a few months.
Would you say that this was the birth of the solution for rising damp - a problem affecting so many old buildings?
It was a test - a start. We all know that one can get hooked on to the wrong track pretty fast. At the time I was not even close to what Aquapol offers today as a standard procedure for drying out walls. More tests were needed at the time.
In my quest for further "guinea pigs" I came across three houses of my family and friends, which were suitable for performing further tests. I remember a very moist vaulted cellar with a musty smell in the town of Essling near Vienna. The cellar floor was so muddy and wet that one's shoes practically sank into it. Mosquitoes were thriving here because of the moist climate, which was most conducive to their growth and survival.
After a few months this building had changed markedly. The musty smell had almost disappeared, but what was even more surprising - the muddy cellar floor was completely dry. The owner of the house also noted the fact with great surprise. The lady of the house noticed that the bed linen smelled differently. The bedroom was about 10 metres away from my device. This gave me even greater certainty that my solution worked.
Did you conduct tests in your parents' house too?
That's right. In my parents' house in Vienna we had masonry moisture in a small portion of the house. The musty smell was noticeable here and was very unpleasant. After the installation of the device my father noticed that the musty smell had disappeared. The affected wall looked brighter and seemed dry after a few months.
In short, after about two years of observation I was satisfied with the device and submitted an application for the first patent. The Aquapol Company was founded as a sole proprietorship in Vienna.
And that marked the beginning of Aquapol's meteoric rise to fame?
Meteoric rises to fame only happen in fairy tales. True, I did experience consistent growth during the first few years but it was slow.
In the first few months I was basically a one-man-business. I did almost everything myself: producing, selling, installing the devices, and performing moisture measurements. At this time the electrical function test was used to measure a reaction in masonry immediately after installation. The moisture measurement system was developed further because it was not sufficiently reliable when using probes fixed in masonry. The first policy letters were written and the Aquapol manual came into existence.
And then the quiet years followed?
(laughs) I don't want to sound sarcastic but what followed were real setbacks as well as significant improvements.
The first seven years after the founding of the company were the worst for me as an inventor and a businessman. A number of problems required urgent attention. For instance, the orientation of the device has been changed repeatedly when housewives or cleaning personnel cleaned the rooms, which weakened the effect of the device or made it entirely ineffective. After hundreds of tests and numerous prototypes I developed a construction that made the device operate independent of its orientation.
The new unipolar effect (uni - from everywhere; polar - concerning the poles) was discovered and a patent has been applied for. The next generation was born. The basic component of cylindrical coils, however has been retained. Then further developments followed: a pyramidal shape produced a better depth effect. This meant that the device could be installed on the ground floor and the cellar underneith could benefit from it.
What marked the end of the crisis?
Actually this was the beginning of the crisis. 1990 marked the height of the crisis. I faced a problem that defied solution and seemed to destroy me and my company. Although we used the same style of construction and the same quality, we have encountered cases in which nothing happened or the building just dried out partially. My technicians reported an interference factor they were able to register but they were unable to determine.
In order to progress faster, in 1989-90 I outsourced my basic research to Hungary on a trial basis. And after two years I realized that I had even more questions than I had had at the beginning of my basic research. Many contradictions and inexplicable phenomena existed.
That sounds quite unsettling.
It was a fight like David against Goliath. Burning questions caused me sleepless nights. Were electromagnetic fields interfering with the operation of the device? What if the device was reacting to another type of energy that we were yet unaware of? I had a sneaking suspicion at the time.
For six months we have marked on a map hundreds of buildings in Lower Austria. The buildings that showed hardly any progress were marked with a red pin. The buildings where the moisture levels have reduced to about half and then the dehydration stagnated were marked with pink pins. Yellow pins, and these were the majority, were placed on those buildings where the dehydration could not be fully completed and the buildings were still a little bit damp. Austrian radio stations were also marked with a different coloured pins on the map.
Lo and behold: high susceptibility to interference has been found in the vicinity of radio stations. My original suspicions were confirmed: the so-called "electrosmog" exerts a negative impact onto the operation of the device.
What happened next?
That was a major challenge. In record time we have developed electromagnetic interference suppression modules for the 5 to 6 types of Aquapol devices we had, and installed them.
Hundreds test hours followed to obtain factual results about the interference suppression modules. It was a race against time because the refund claims were increasing. If I failed to devise a solution the only option would have been to provide costly technical service on site.
What did your clients say?
Those clients who have remained faithful, and to whom we owe our continued existence at the time, have mainly said that they saw I was really trying to find a solution to the problem.
In a few months hundreds of systems were upgraded with the electromagnetic interference suppression modules. Follow-up measurements were brought forward by 3 to 4 months to confirm the initial results. This was another financial commitment.
The device had to be protected from electrosmog, right?
Today this electrosmog protection is incorporated into the device. It is all integrated. But at the time, our future existence was hanging on a thread.
The preliminary follow-up measurements have confirmed the workabiity of the interference suppression modules. We had moved a little closer to the truth. We have learned the systems had to be protected from electrosmog. Some of the smallest devices had an aluminium casing and these were working well despite of the electrosmog.
We therefore have planned the next big step: the new series had to be built with aluminium casing. This meant a further investment of millions and additional costs for the company. All problematic cases had to be provided with this new shielded device. These were hard times for the company and its staff. It required great skill and tenacity to withstand the situation.
But you have survived it becuse you are here today.
Yes, we certainly did. But at the time I have realized that I had to concentrate fully on the fundmental research. While we were gradually regaining control other questions of great importance have cropped up. Some cases still remained unsolved.
One of the leading Aquapol technicians has observed that some of the systems work only temporarily. They work for about two minutes then do "nothing" for the next two minutes. He referred to these systems as "part-time workers". This was the next urgent problem that need to be solved.
This sounds more like running the gauntlet instead of a success story of an inventor.
It was almost like that.
Based on further investigation of the Earth field we have discovered places in which the Earth field was not rotating clockwise but instead anti-clockwise or was even alternating between the two. It was a phenomenon that should not exist.
According to the prevailing theory Earth fields in the northern hemisphere should be rotating only anticlockwise (looking at the whirl from above) because of the direction of the Earth's rotation. We are familiar with this phenomenon from the water whirls we observe when water runs off in a wash basin.
Nobody knew the mechanism. Nobody knew why this was happening. Apart from this we have observed several places in which the water whirl moved in the "wrong direction". What was going on here?
Again a contradiction?
Something was definitely missing. Some force was obviously stronger than the so-called Coriolis force, named after the French physician Coriolis. What next?
How could we devise a receiving antenna which can receive both types of energy - the clockwise one and the anti-clockwise one? According to some experts it was impossible.
So the impossible had to be made possible again?
It is a special challenge for a creative mind to make something impossible possible.
Intensive research brought about the first results in just a few months. The first flat coil antenna was developed. It could perceive both clock and anticlockwise earth fields. This was a sensation in science. It took months to become sufficiently mature and ready for use. During this time - between 1991 and 1992 - the fourth generation was developed. It could work fully independent of its location, regardless of the structure of the Earth field. This was the greatest technical breakthrough in the history of the company and possibly also in physics.
The essence my basic fundamental research was completed by 1992. We had discovered more than 100 new physical laws or derivations of them. This made the puzzle almost complete. At the beginning of our research we had just about 5 parts of the puzzle; at the end we had about 470. Possibly 30 were still missing, but the picture was now almost complete.
As a layman one gets the idea that certain difficulties had to be resolved first, but what about the purely scientific questions?
Those would exceed the scope of this interview. You can read more about it in my next book.
What were the next steps Mr. Mohorn?
Obviously, other areas had to be explored as well. It took about 10 years for the device to be fully developed. We were now looking at other related aspects.
Masonry diagnosis had to be redefined and developed for everyday use. We needed data about walls, plasters and other materials. Quick measurement methods and checklists were developed. This converted a well trained Aquapol technician into a true masonry diagnostician.
One had to be able to establish the types of moisture a specific building had, how the moisture was moving inside the masonry or plaster, and how the individual moisture sources interacted. Our measurement instrument toolkit became really extensive!
But this was not all?
No. The next goal was to perfect the installation. We have developed an installation checklist which covered all the relevant steps to keep the installation standard high and have the building dried out in the agreed time.
We have also developed a masonry diagnosis checklist. And of course written policies had to be issued.
After having handled all possible technical difficulties you have focused on providing information to the Aquapol technicians on one hand, and to clients on the other, right?
This was one of my major concerns. I think the client should be informed as thoroughly as possible in a way what he could understand easily. He should understand his problem as well as the holistic solution being offered by Aquapol.
In 1997 the accompanying renovations measures checklist was completed. It was 4 pages long and contained all possible actions to remedy any cause of moisture that would hinder the complete dehydration of the building. Twelve years of experience went into this checklist. This is now part of the Aquapol technician's toolkit, he fills in this checklist and hands it over to the customer at the time of installation. We were the first company who provided the client such a tool. The client could see at a glance the actions that need to be undertaken on his building and the ideal time to do them.
So Aquapol has created a kind of a partnership with the client?
A partnership, yes. But that was not all.
The next subject was the renovation technology. Almost all building materials could be purchased in the market, although valuable building materials like slaked lime were quite rare when our company has been founded. However, our persistent recommendations to clients gradually transformed the market. After all, demand determines supply. Slaked lime can now be purchased ready for use in containers. The cement industry caused it to nearly disappear from the market. I remember the lime pit in our old property which my parents and grandparents used for construction purposes in the 1950s.
We are already talking about renovation. What does this have to do with Aquapol?
A great deal. Let me explain.
A lot of things tend to go wrong when one renovates old buildings. In many cases our clients' complaints were clearly attributable to errors in renovation, which led to renewed moisture damage. We therefore have decided to do something about it.
For example during electrical work the flush mounted boxes were mounted with gypsum that could be easily penetrated by water which also contained salts. One could have used quick-setting cement instead. Weeks later the gypsum started to effloresce. The annoyed client thought it was the Aquapol system that had failed to do its job, which of course wasn't the case.
Similar mistakes were encountered daily by our technicians which had to be explained to frustrated clients. This meant annoyance and upset on both sides. Often it was simply a botched job or the ignorance of a building contractor trusted blindly by the client. Time and again, I am surprised by the lack of knowledge in this sector. I find the misinformation being provided to customers by some companies or their salesmen quite unforgivable.
And you show how renovation is done properly?
We have dealt with this topic very intensively. We had to do it and also let the client participate in it. It is an entirely new concept.
The era of renovation technology had started, so to speak. The first renovation checklist was issued around 1998. It told the customer exactly what and how he had to renovate. This was necessary because there was hardly anybody in the market who aligned the results of masonry diagnosis with renovation techniques. Many mistakes had been made in the past which caused renewed moisture damage that could have been avoided if the correct renovation technique had been used.
Renovation technology has been worked out in great detail. In 2004 our well illustrated pages were replaced by the new Aquapol Renovation Technique Series booklet, which explained about 20 renovation concepts. It was important for us to keep this information simple. For clients the booklet contains many colourful illustrations, while on the back side there is an exact description of the process for the builder or the building specialist.
Mr. Mohorn, thank you for the interview.
Interview conducted by Volker von Barkawitz