Moisture and humidity can only be properly detected and measured by the right equipment, notably the right meters. Meters offer a true picture of the source and extent to which moisture has impacted a structure.
All restoration professionals who handle water damage jobs MUST have a complete set of moisture meters and accessories in their arsenal to make sure they’re getting the job done right.
Types of Meters and Accessories
• Non-Penetrating Meters
Non-penetrating meters are non-invasive and don’t cause any damage to a structure. They have a series of flat sensors on the bottom that measure the moisture levels between them. They’re an excellent tool for comparing the affected area to either a non-affected area or a dry standard.
• Penetrating Meters
Penetrating meters have a series of pins that probe into a surface and give you a visual display of moisture content. They tend to be more accurate than non-penetrating meters. Most come with deep wall probes for finding trapped moisture. Some also have data logging capability.
Hydrosensors are invasive meters that are great for mapping out how far moisture has migrated from the source (Ex: a sump-pump backs up, so you need to know if the water has migrated to the far corner of the room.) Most will give you an audible signal letting you know where the moisture has migrated in the carpeting and carpet padding. Hydrosensors are not designed for drywall or other building materials.
Thermo-hygrometers help you determine whether the environment is set up to dry by examining environmental conditions of affected and non-affected outside and inside conditions. Thermo-hygrometers measure both the temperature and relative humidity in the air. These are excellent tools to help you determine if your dehumidifier is working properly. Some meters also offer dew point calculation along with GPP (Grains Per Pound).
• Slide Hammers
This is an accessory that is used in conjunction with a penetrating meter to determine if moisture has migrated to the wood sub-flooring. The slide hammer has Teflon-coated pins that can be driven into the sub-flooring. The pins on the slide hammer will only detect moisture at the tips and not on the side—this lets you be sure you’re reading the moisture content of the sub-flooring and not the carpet or padding along the sides of the pins. This tool is great for determining how deep water has penetrated into the sub-floor, sill plates and hard wood.
Using Moisture Meters on the Job
Special Precaution: If the water damage you’re assessing is 72 hours or older, it’s quite likely that mold and/or bacteria may have begun to develop. Mold remediation is a serious job, so make sure that you have the right training personal protective gear, equipment and chemicals. If mold is not properly removed, it can cause severe, even fatal, illnesses in building occupants and result in devastating lawsuits against your company.
Tip for New Restoration Contractors
Most inexperienced restoration contractors will focus on the drywall, carpet, and padding when on a job site and forget to pay attention to the subfloor, sill plates, and plaster. Remember, even though the drywall and carpeting feel dry to the touch, there is most likely a great deal of moisture still hiding within the structure.If the hidden is not removed quickly, it can cause structural instability and promote the growth of mold and mildew. These are the most dangerous consequences of flood damage, and should be at the forefront of your mind at all times.
You should use moisture meters to help determine how much equipment is required, disclose hidden pockets of moisture, ensure you are drying the structure effectively, and validate that the structure is dry.
Check Out our Complete Selection of Meters and Sampling Equipment