Restoration professionals know that water damage is a difficult and often expensive problem to deal with. Sometimes it can be insidious, such as a hidden leak that has caused critical damage to an external or internal wall over many months. Other times, it may be more obvious, such as a burst pipe or a wind-damaged roof that’s letting rain or snow in. Whatever the cause of the water damage, one of the most important tools in a restoration professional’s arsenal is an effective moisture meter. Understanding how to choose the right moisture meter for the job at hand can help make your water damage restoration project go faster, be more effective, and possibly even cost less to complete.
Here are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right moisture meter for the job
Type of Material
When dealing with water damage restoration, it’s important to know what types of materials have become damp or wet. These might be different types of wood, drywall, concrete, or other materials. Choosing the right moisture meter means picking one that covers the materials you’ll be working on or, in some cases, buying multiple meters.
Thankfully, there are now moisture meters that come with a variety of materials and species of wood pre-programmed. The Navigator™ range of moisture meters provides the option to download up to 37 different materials so you can understand the range of moisture content levels for each material. This allows restoration experts to work through a whole building with one device for better efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Extent of Damage
Large-scale water damage occurs for many reasons, including flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood insurance claims average over $3 billion per year, --even an inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 worth of damage. However, not all water damage is a case of completely ruined homes or businesses. Some water damage is far more localized, such as from roof leaks, dripping taps or pipes, or faulty waste-water equipment (e.g., clogged gutters).
Understanding the extent of the damage can help you choose the right moisture meter for your water damage restoration project. If you’re drying out a large area, the HT-4000 thermo-hygrometer helps you monitor the relative humidity of the area, ready for more specific monitoring once restoration starts.
Location of Damage
Not all water damage happens to floors and walls, and not all of it is easily hidden under other materials such as carpets and wood panels. Some water damage will occur on a surface that you simply can’t afford to have damaged further. A pinless moisture meter comes in handy when having to map out an area for the presence of moisture and also to pinpoint high moisture areas that may require further investigation.
A pinless moisture meter uses capacitance to measure moisture levels by emitting and receiving low-level electromagnetic signals. These types of meters usually have a sensor plate that rests on the surface, so any readings given are an average across the area of the plate. The user can simply move the meter across the material in question to check for higher or lower moisture content levels. Users must take into account the possibility of other materials under the surface being measured, such as studs in drywall. Most restoration experts will be aware of these potential discrepancies, making pinless meters like the TechScan model a useful and non-destructive way to keep track of moisture levels during water damage restoration.
Source of Water Intrusion
Finding out how the water is getting into the building is often the first step in figuring out how to begin effective restoration. In flooded buildings, the source of the water damage is often very obvious. However, if one building has become badly damaged in a flood where others in the same block or area have fared better, there could be another cause for the extensive water damage.
Effective moisture meters can pinpoint moisture hotspots, helping track down the exact source of water intrusion. This can help restoration professionals liaise with building owners and other professionals like plumbers to come up with a preventative, long-lasting solution, rather than just focusing on restoring the current damage.
Things to consider include porous materials, which lead to moisture movement in a capillary action, migrating upward into the home or business. Restoration professionals may also consider the airflow within a damp area — is it sufficient to prevent dampness continuing, even under normal conditions? A multi-function meter, like the combined pin and pinless moisture meter TechCheck PLUS, can allow professionals to assess an entire building and examine different materials. This helps them find out more about the moisture levels and create a much more thorough damage assessment.
If you’re embarking on a water damage restoration project, the team here at Delmhorst Instrument Co. can give you the right advice and support to choose the moisture meter that’s perfect for your needs. Call us or leave your details for one of our specialists, and we’ll gladly get back in touch with more information.
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