I am new to this business and I have most of the tools I need for HI. However, I was wondering whether or not I should purchase a moisture meter and if anyone could recommend any that seems to work the best in most situations. I would appreciate any advice or info on this topic. --Joe M.
Protimeter mini Got mine at Pro Lab
Delmhorst BD-2100, for me.
Ditto. I got the EIFS probes. Also use a Protimeter non-invasive. And a BCam;)
I use the Tramex Encounter Plus
If you go for the Protimeter Surveymaster, you’ll have both a pin-type meter and search meter in one. I have one and use both features on many inspections. It’s lasted 5 years now with no problems.
Search meters don’t give accurate levels of moisture but will find moisture behind tiles and under vinyl.
Pin type meters will give a more accurate reading of actual moisture content, depending on the brand. Some come with calibration tables and are fairly accurate in variety of materials and wood species.
Which you buy depends on what type of homes you’ll be inspecting. We’re not often required to know accurate moisture levels, so setting a baseline in materials you know have normal moisture levels will allow you to make comparisons with similar material in different areas and identify areas with significantly higher moisture levels.
If I had to choose between a search meter and a pin meter I’d choose the search type. People seem to really like the Tramex, but I think inspectors tend to like what they’re used to unless it’s obviously bad. I think the Wagner is less money.
The Tramex will actually record readings and display them later, which might be a good feature if you were doing a methodized search over a large, uniform area. Most of what we do only requires checking small areas, at least for most of us.
Having a moisture meter is crucial to providing quality inspections.
Yes, I sometimes use my Surveymaster meter to demonstrate an absence of moisture, where repairs were carried out but the buyer is doubtful. On a finished surface, pinless is the only way to go.
I have a couple different types. My favorite is the GE Protimeter Plus. It has penetrating & non penetrating , Relative Humidity,Deep wall probe, surface temp, it can be used for detecting Hygroscopic Salts or in Condensator mode for confirming surface condensation.All readings can be saved & down loaded to a PC. Comes all in one case. About $1,100.00 Canadian.
That brings up a point. Just because it’s got pins doesn’t mean you have to push them. Pin meters can even be used to confirm moisture in concrete. How deep will they read compared to meters with the search feature? I don’t know. I’m going to contact Chris Ranwell at protimeter and see if I can find out.
Here’s a couple of links: http://www.professionalequipment.com/protimeter-mini-moisture-meter-bld2000/wood-moisture-meter/
In regards to moisture meters being used in concrete, I would suggest following the links below for some very helpful information.
At the second link you can watch a webinar that shows that moisture meters can be a very dangerous way to measure moisture in concrete. According to this information, most moisture meters can only read what’s going on within the first inch of the concrete slab. This lack of proper information can lead to flooring failures.
Same as Kenton: Protimeter.
I have been using the CT808 from http://www.electrophysics.on.ca/e_index.htm and it comes with calibration directions and plate and directions for setting on different materials. Iwould purchase the CT828 at http://www.electrophysics.on.ca/e_index.htm
I use it on every inspection where a basement exists and that is every house.
I wonder what percentage of home inspectors are using thermal cams? And if they are using them, are they charging for their use??? I know this is another topic, but I think they are far more superior than any moisture meter.
I don’t think to many inspectors here in California are using them. I don’t even see the environmental consultants using them on a regular basis…
In 23 years of inspection service, I’ve never had a client ask me about thermal imaging services… Not once!
Will that is EXACTLY why you should be getting INTO it! If you wait till people know about it, then your competition is LEADING the way and you are Mr. Catch up! Moisture meters and thermal infrared cameras in my opinion is not a LUXURY any more, it is a staple. I never want a person, realtor, lawyer or any other professional to have to call ANOTHER company for a service that deal with inspection services. If someone gets their foot in the door they are going to say, "Why use them and call us for these areas, why not jsut call us from the start?’
Give people another reason that you STAND OUT. I have yet to find a person who asked me if I have a bore scope. Yet, I do have a bore scope and used it several times and they are thankful and impressed that I own one.
But this is just my mentality of business. I have spent probably 10K on equipment that I use rarely, like a particulate counter. Cost my about $7 when I bought it and used it maybe 10 times in the last 18 months. A builder was having a hard time passing his air quality tests and called me it. I used the particulate counter and found the source of the high mold and it was an easy fix. Reward has been about 12K in work just from this builder.
To me business is nothing but a gamble on educated ideas and risks. But I do know that risking nothing usually means gaining the exact same in proportion!
There are some concerns I have about the thermal imaging equipment… 1. Most home inspection agreeement contracts state that the inspection is not exhaustive. 2. What about False Positives!!! Different temperatures can give off different readings… time of day, outside ambient temperatures,etc. etc.
3. Now, are clients going to “expect” you to find additional defects not visible to the regular “eye”.
- ARE CLIENTS WILLING TO PAY EXTRA for the thermal service???
Don’t get me a wrong, the technology is awesome… I just wonder about the balancing act between liability, expectations, and profit value of the equipment…
The best inspection tool… is still the inspector!
Looking inside the inaccessible wall cavity with a borescope is outside the SOP as well. If the client, agent or myself is concerned with moisture and or water damage issues in an inaccessible area, I refer them to an independent environmental consultant for further inspection/service prior to close of escrow.
If during the course of an IR evaluation an area of issue was discovered, the subject area would need to be verified by using a mositure meter to confirm same. I normally use the moisture meter to generically take readings around tub, shower, toilet, laundry, kitchen sink and dishwasher service areas.
I just don’t see the bang for my buck with
equipment and training costs at this time. Clients are constantly shopping for lower prices on all transaction related services. Trying to get the client to spend another couple hundred for an IR evaluation won’t be an easy task in this current market environment.
You are right Will,
So many low ballers in the market right now… Even paying an average fee for an inspection is TOO high for them. It gets really old… A lot of clients out there EXPECT a lot but want to PAY VERY LITTLE!
I will not be paying 5k for a thermal imager anytime soon…