Water damage ranges from localized water intrusion to widespread flooding and can cause serious structural and aesthetic damage. Water damage restoration specialists have to assess the extent of the damage prior to beginning any work on the building itself. That’s where moisture meters come in. An accurate, high-quality moisture meter can help restoration professionals understand exactly what the moisture content is in a particular area. These devices help users understand what needs to be dried out, what needs to be removed completely, and what is salvageable. Moisture meters can even pinpoint moisture “hotspots” and help track down leaks.
However, like any essential tool, choosing and using a moisture meter isn’t without its difficulties. Here are three potential pitfalls that can trip even the most experienced water damage restoration specialist when it comes to moisture meters -- and how to avoid them.
Using a Single Basic Moisture Meter for Everything
Ensuring moisture levels have dropped to a suitable level before beginning renovation or construction is essential. Not only can dampness cause structural weaknesses, but it also encourages the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungus, which can all have serious health and safety implications. That’s why it’s typical for restoration specialists to use a moisture meter to monitor moisture content, particularly during the drying out process or to assess water damage. So, what’s the problem with using a single moisture meter for everything?
Many standard moisture meters are calibrated for very few materials and possibly only one. That means that if your moisture meter is calibrated to measure the correct optimal moisture content level for drywall, it will be next to useless when you use it on hardwood or concrete.
Thankfully, more advanced moisture meters deal with this issue by providing the option to set them to various species of wood or different construction materials. This allows water damage restorers to take a single device with them onsite unless they need other specialized meters.
Understanding the Differences Between Moisture Meters
Many suppliers provide moisture meters to users without really explaining the pros and cons of the various types of meters available. Pinless moisture meters are available, which allow you to quickly map out and identify the moisture levels of a material. This can be the perfect option for water-damaged furniture or other trimmings that simply can’t be damaged further. Pinless moisture meters use electromagnetic signals to measure the moisture content of materials and in the case of wood, can usually be adjusted for specific gravity settings, which are determined by the wood species.
Pin moisture meters are more invasive but more common for use on floors, walls, structural lumber, and other areas where tiny pinholes won’t matter. Two small pins are inserted into the material, and a low electric current is produced. Because water conducts electricity well, the lower the resistance, the more moisture is present. Other factors in measurements that might not be obvious at first are the differences in wood temperature, plus how the seasonal ambient temperature and airflow all affect the expected versus the actual moisture content level.
Whatever type of moisture meter you’re using, it’s best to take multiple readings and record them to get a clear and detailed picture of the extent of the water damage. Innovations like the Navigator™ range of moisture meters and the EDGE™ app allow unlimited readings to be stored. You can then export these readings as one file for simple and efficient reporting and record keeping. All you need apart from the moisture meter is a smartphone with Bluetooth capability.
An experienced moisture meter manufacturer will happily take you through the different options available to you as a restoration expert. They’ll consider the types of materials you’ll be working with, the size of the area you’ll be restoring, and the location of water damage within the building.
Buying From an Unverified Supplier
If you purchase your moisture meters for water damage restoration projects from a third-party supplier or a supplier that doesn’t understand the products, you may be left without help if you come across any difficulties. It’s tricky to get support from a company that’s not invested in their products, and many third-party suppliers or suppliers that sell “cheap” moisture meters actually cost renovators more money as they have to seek professional help when things go wrong.
Purchasing a high-quality, industry-tested moisture meter from a reputable manufacturer and supplier like Delmhorst or one of its authorized resellers delivers more than peace of mind. Delmhorst provides a range of resources for users, including an eGuide dedicated to getting the best out of moisture meters for restoration projects. Plus, if you have any questions or concerns, you can simply pick up the phone and a Delmhorst specialist will be happy to help you.
Find out why Delmhorst Instrument Co. is trusted by a number of industries, including water restoration specialists, to provide the right moisture meter for the task at hand. Get in touch today for further information.
Image Credits: Unplash @Pawel_Czerwinski