electronic detecting devices...

I am a new home inspector in western NC and am looking into getting a moisture meter, along with a combustible gas/carbon monoxide detector.
I have gone out to the many home inspector supply’s online and found many choices at all price ranges for these items.

Do you get what you pay for with these things?
Does it really matter if the more expensive ones are a little more accurate or sensitive?
Should I just buy the cheapest ones out there?

I am also developing my tool belt, and was wondering what you guys carry on your person while inspecting.
I have the basics like a screwdriver with both philips and regular head, receptacle tester, telescoping mirror, small flashlight (really powerful Surefire dealeo), voltmeter, camera…


Be careful when you declare that there is no gas/carbm. leak
problems based on your checking device. They do
not always catch a gas/carbm. leak every time. In Texas,
this type of testing is outside our standards of practice.
I always recommend a more exhaustive inspection for
gas leaks and carbm. leaks. by qualified Professionals.
What if there is a leak in an area that you have no
access to?

I use a little moisture meter that cost $29.
It works good for me. I am not required to use
a moisture meter… but it helps to determine if
stains have moisture in them or not, etc…

I don’t carry tools on me. I leave them on the
Kitchen counter. I carried tools around me for
too many years… I am glad to get them off of
me now… :wink:

Good luck.

Used to carry a lot of gizmos and tools too. Now just carry a Klein 10 in 1 screwdriver, small Mag light, an Ultra Stinger in police flashlight loop and a SureTest circuit tester (small) and a small Pentax camera. Most of it fits into a multi tool pouch from Duluth catalog on a pistol belt. Used to have to keep hitching my pants up due to all the crap in my tool belt. I do have a aluminum tool case that I leave in the Kitchen with specialty tools like Mac. I have moisture meters ranging from $27 to $1000. I use the el cheapo most of the time. It tells me if something is wet just like the more expensive ones do. Do I really care about the percentage of wetness? No! You spend a lot of money on useless tools that may come out to play once or twice a year. Looks real impressive but is just dead weight and not needed to do a good job of inspecting. The best tool you can develop is the one between your ears and your eyes, sense of smell and learn to listen to your gut. Invest in a good ladder rather than a real expensive moisture meter. Case in point; used my el cheapo moisture meter with analog gage for a job after Hurricane Ivan couple of years ago. Past clients were getting the run around from the insurance lawyers and adjusters, took a slew of photos showing the needle pegged out in the “red line” area of the meter. Lawyers gave up on the spot (I didn’t even have to show up) and gave the folks their money. A digital meter may not have had the same impact as the visual cues from the colored meter scales. Clients were happy cause they got a nice check, I was happy cause I got a nice check. The only ones not happy were the insurance company and the lawyers. It was a good thing.


What the two preceding guys said.

Thanks for the “El Cheapo” moisture meter link, I think I might have to get one of those.

You are welcome. Only thing about this meter is to remember to turn it off or even take out the battery. I forget and leave it on and next I go to use it the battery is T.U.
I have learned to carry a few spares just in case. Most of the tools use the 9 volt so it works out nice. Just found that website. They got some good deals on tools.
I went to Radio Shack and got an extention cord for the RapidTest too and made myself an extension rod with a small plastic woodworking pinch clamp to hold the pin probe. Keeps me from having to lug the ladder around a lot to check out high ceiling stains. Works like a champ!

Thats the one I use so cheap I bought two .
I also have two $5;00 gfci testers a pair of pliers and two screw drivers.
A good Mask for attics two good flash lights.
More is seldom better . two $100:00 cameras.
Why two have a spare and you not break one.
Roy Cooke

I believe you’ll **not **want to have a tool belt when you go into the attic and especially into a crawlspace.

Been there – dropped that!!:frowning: :frowning: Never again…:wink: :wink:

Oh yeah! Definitely carry a voltage sniffer. Usually about $9-10. Comes in real handy in attics, crawls and when crazy people think they are “lectricians”.

I hear ya. If I can’t fit it in my coverall chest pocket it does not go with me into the crawl.

Anyone interested in a very superb mask I can recommend the Neomask. The filter material was originally developed in England for nerve gas and toxic fumes, and fits literally like a glove. One filter cloth will last about 6 months of normal use and replacements are only $9. The old one I used to use had me breathing like, well, I won’t go there, but the Neomask does not restrict your breathing at all and that is nice in the summer in a hot attic or a nasty crawl.

This link is great, it lets me add items to Brian Kelly’s shopping cart. They may need to work on their shopping cart feature.

You may want to know it did not keep your CC info, though. (This was at 8:09 Central, hopefully you aren’t entering it as I type)

Yes, I like the Neomask, too. I picked one up from the last time you mentioned it Doug. It’s a very nice respirator:


Yes, … you need to adjust that link… so as to not
give access to Brians acct…

I will be through ordering in a minute if you can hold off
for a moment… :mrgreen:


Man, that is wild, Ive never seen that happen before.

Excellent info.
Appreciate the passing on of experience/wisdom with this.

Already ordered the meter and the air mask.

Hey, how did I get 1000 masks overnited to my house???:cool:

I only sent 5.

Matt, you pretty much have all you need.
The voltage sniffer, mentioned above, is also a great tool.
Keep an eye on pawn shops for cameras- they give you 3 days to check them out. My criteria: 3MP or better, SD card, AA batts, $40 max.

If I can’t carry it in a fanny pack with zippers (along with my CW), I don’t carry it.

With the exception of a spotlight & a stepladder . . .

To each his own…

I wear a leather electricians tool pouch for most of the inspection. I don’t bring it into the crawlspace, and only into an attic with enough space to get around…

The pouch was slightly modified to hold: two longer screwdrivers (phillips and slotted), telescoping mirror, small level, moisture meter, circuit tester, led maglite, small toothbrush (for wiping off data plates and the water meter gauge), infrared thermometer, voltage sniffer, CO detector, and a multi-tool. I wear it on a wide leather belt. The belt has other pouches and attachments where I carry my ultralight, a camera, my pda, cellphone, extra AA batteries, a two prong adapter, gloves, amp meter, small bottle of bubble juice (for testing suspected gas leaks) a small monocular, a pen, a small compass (in case I need to verify direction to properly ID where a defect is).

Yes this is quite a bit of c**p to carry with me, but I hate having to go back to my bag every time I need something. It is heavier, but I do less walking overall, and if I left something behind, I know about it right away, cause that pocket is empty…

BTW, I was a TV photojournalist for 17 years before I became an inspector. TV photogs are kinda like “pack mules”. In local TV news, you work alone most of the time, or with a reporter-ette.:mrgreen: Along with your 25 pound camera, 35 pound tripod, and a 45 pound light kit, you had to carry around a bag with extra bulbs, batteries, tape, cables, tape head cleaner, multi-tool, extra mic, various connectors and adapters, etc. It was really embarrassing to be in the 19th floor of a building, and have to go back down to the car cause you didn’t have an extra tape, battery, or other necessary gizmo in your bag… while the reporter and the interview waited for you. :roll: Needless to say, I got used to carrying around lots of stuff. (Maybe that’s why my back hurts…:wink: )

My two cents…

Even less expensive here: