When people think about fixing rising damp, they will usually consider chemical or physical damp proof courses. These are either injected or inserted in the walls of a property.
One lesser-known method is an electric damp proof course. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about electric damp proofing. Of course, the question you are likely to be asking is: Does electric damp proofing work? So here’s the verdict.
Electric damp proofing – or electro osmosis damp proofing – to give it its full name, is very effectdoive. In fact, electro osmosis damp proof courses have several advantages. Firstly, they can be used on very thick walls. Also, the installation is quite easy and mess free. Following the installation, less making good is required.
Electro Osmosis – The History
The principle of electro osmosis was first discovered by the physicist, F.F. Reus, in 1809. He worked out that applying electrical voltage would affect capillary action. Capillary action is when moisture rises from the earth. This explains the term ‘rising damp’.
The theory is simple. There is the potential for electricity between the wall of a building and the earth. If this electrical activity is interfered with it stops moisture rising. There is no need to blind you with any more science. But this is how an electro osmosis damp proof course works, in a nutshell.
The electro osmosis damp proof system
A basic description of an electro osmosis damp proof system is as follows. A control unit adapts to the dampness present in a wall. A constant electrical voltage is supplied. This guarantees consistent drying of the affected area.
The main conductor comes from anodes. Titanium coated wires provides excellent reliability and protection.
Finally, earth rods are installed into the ground.
How does an electro osmosis damp proof system work?
The titanium damp proof course is fitted. Next, a small voltage is applied from the power unit to the titanium. As soon as this occurs, the wire that is in contact with the wall and the anodes will start to conduct electricity. It is similar to the effect achieved by one continuous conducting anode. Because of this, it causes a rapid build-up.
This causes an insoluble layer of titanium dioxide to form. This occurs at the point where the titanium meets the wall. A protective film is created as a result. There is very little conduction from the titanium wire itself. But, as the anodes continue to conduct consistently, it maintains the wall potential. The system is such that it re-forms its protective skin, even if the titanium becomes damaged.
How does electric damp proofing work with rising damp?
Electric damp proofing will reverse the process of rising damp. A series of holes are drilled above ground level into the outer brickwork. Titanium anodes are then inserted into the holes at the specified intervals. The wire is very strong, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it with a nail or screw. The titanium will not break. A connecting wire links the anodes, and this is pointed to the wall.
One end of the wire connects to a metal stake. This is hammered into the ground to provide earth. The other end of the wire is then connected to the mains supply. As long as the titanium wire doesn’t come into contact with metal pipes (such as gas and water) the system will continue to work. Any wires near to the titanium wire should be protected with insulated sleeving. This will stop it earthing.
To summarise, the connecting wire links the anodes and is pointed to the wall. The small electrical current passes through the charge. It fights the rising moisture. This pushes the molecules back into the ground harmlessly. For as long as the positive charge is maintained, the walls will remain dry and free from damp.
Conclusion – Advantages of an electro osmosis damp proofing system
The system can be used on virtually all types of buildings. This includes period properties and those with thick walls. Installation is very quick and neat. In fact, as long has the plaster on the walls is in good condition there is no need to remove it before installation.
You can easily check the condition of the plaster. Simply tap on it with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, it’s a sign that the plaster has come away from the wall. This will need removing and re-plastering. Otherwise, there will be no need to do anything. An electro osmosis damp proof course can be concealed behind the skirting boards.
The ongoing cost of an electric damp proofing system is minimal. It costs only pennies a week and uses about as much electricity as an electric doorbell. The system will be long-lasting. The connecting wires do not corrode as pure titanium is used. The system is also completely chemical free. It is safe for the environment.
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