A reliable moisture meter can be one of the most important tools on the belt of a professional who works with wood or other building materials on a regular basis. From the building inspector checking for mold risks, to the flooring contractor making sure that a new installation will be trouble-free, moisture meters are a critical tool of the trade, giving moisture content readings for wood and other materials for which the meters have been calibrated.
To get the best results from the use of any given moisture meter, it has to be properly maintained and calibrated. When a moisture meter loses calibration, its readings become less reliable, at which point the meter should be sent in to the manufacturer for recalibration, repair, or replacement.
But, how do you know if a moisture meter is out of calibration or in need of repair? To help you answer this question, we’ve assembled a short list of common warning signs that your moisture meter is in need of recalibration or repair.
Warning Sign #1: Inconsistent Readings
One of the first things most people will notice is that their pin or pinless moisture meter will not return a consistent reading, even when checking the same spot twice in a row quickly. Assuming that surface moisture on the material is not to blame, this can be a strong indication of a problem with the meter.
For pin-type meters, check the pins for signs of rust or damage, and replace them. If readings continue to fluctuate, it may be necessary to send in the meter for recalibration.
For pinless meters, check the scanning plate for scratches, pits, or other signs of damage. If the scanning plate is undamaged, make sure the surface being scanned is flat and large enough to accommodate the entirety of the scanning plate. If the scanning plate is damaged and/or the meter continues to give you inconsistent readings, it may be necessary to send the meter in for servicing.
Warning Sign #2: Display Malfunctions
When a meter’s display starts malfunctioning, it may be time to send in the meter for repairs. What are common malfunctions that you may notice?
For digital display meters, particularly ones with LCD screens, you may notice that parts of the screen do not display properly, causing segments of numbers to not appear. For example, the upper right bar of an 8 might not display, causing the 8 to look like a 6 instead.
Sometimes, this is simply because of a low battery, and replacing the old battery with a fresh one is all that it takes to fix the problem. If the screen is still malfunctioning after putting in a fresh battery, the meter may need servicing.
On analog displays, the needle on the meter may not move. This can be the result of a low battery, a mechanical fault in the needle, or some other problem. As with digital displays, if a fresh battery doesn’t solve the problem it may be time to send the meter in for servicing.
Warning Sign #3: The Meter Doesn’t Activate
Another common indication that a moisture meter may need repair is that it does not activate. As with the above problem of display malfunctions, this issue could be the result of a low battery. However, if a fresh battery doesn’t solve the problem, then it is time to check with your manufacturer about repairing or replacing the meter, as the internal components of the meter may be damaged.
Sending Your Meter in for Service
When your moisture meter is in need of recalibration or repair, it is important that the issue is taken care of as quickly as possible. Your moisture meter is your best tool for accurately assessing the %MC of wood and other building materials in a timely fashion on the job. Here at Delmhorst Instrument Co., we understand this, so we work to make sure that the turnaround time is as short as possible. In fact, most moisture meters spend fewer than ten days in our repair facility before being sent back to the owner (or being replaced entirely if the damage is irreparable).
Check with your moisture meter manufacturer’s warranty policy concerning what kinds of events are covered under warranty, and for how long after purchase.
With Delmhorst, all you need to do to get started is fill out our online service request, then send the meter via your courier of choice. The faster the shipping service, the sooner your meter can be processed. If your meter is not eligible for warranty service, you can get a repair estimate sent to you so that you will know how much the service will cost, and decide if you’re better off repairing your meter or simply replacing it. If we find that the cost of repairs would exceed the price of a new meter, we’ll notify you before starting repairs.
To learn more about common moisture meter issues, contact Delmhorst today, or check out our free guide about moisture meters at the link below: