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Old 02-27-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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How do I choose a moisture meter?

I once saw a water damage contractor use a meter to detect moisture in the walls. I do not believe he actually touched the surface of the walls with the meter, he only held it close to the walls. When it detected moisture it would beep rapidly.

What model and price range should I look at? I want to detect moisture from window leaks, roof leaks, plumbing leaks, etc.



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Old 02-27-2010, 06:04 PM   #2
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There are two types of moisture meters available, the pin and pinless style. The pin type uses a pair of pins that are pressed into the material. A voltage is applied to the pins via a battery, and the resistance between the pins is measured. You tell the meter what type of material you are measuring (i.e. plaster, wood, etc.), and the meter converts the resistance into moisture content in percent.

The pinless style uses a capacitance measuring device, so the device is held above the surface of the material, and the effective capacitance is converted to moisture content. I understand that the pinless style is quicker, and can be used to rapidly located suspect areas. The pin style is then typically used in specific areas since it is more accurate.

Costs range from $50 to several thousand dollars, depending on the required accuracy, the types of materials to be tested, and the ability to interface with a laptop to store results.


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Old 02-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
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I have two moisture meters for moisture investigations.

One is a GE that is compact and very convenient. It will do a quick surface scan and has the the short (1/2" + or -) pins to measue the moisture in a wall surfacing material.

The other is a Delmhorst(?) with the short pins, but you can also use the long (4"-6") pins for real moisture investigation that is common with EFIS and the much more common problem with improper window installation. The long probes give you a better idea of the moisture deep in the wall that does the big, costly damage.

The insurance companies love the long probes because it is more definitive regarding the problem and is much cheaper than tearing off the wall surface just to see what you know is there. Usually, 2 probes will tell you everything unless the moisture source is from above (second floor or roof) and/or laterally.

The cost is much more than a DIYer can justify, since they start at $500 plus accessories each.


Last edited by concretemasonry; 02-27-2010 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info

So for $500 you can get a moisture meter that is reliable, that you can count on the results? Can you get them at a plumbing supply store or do you need to order them online?
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