Most beneficial testing meters or tools to own

I am a beginning home inspector and I have a limited budget, (around $1200.00) to spend on testing meters and tools. I would like decent brands of meters such as CO , Moisture, Gas ,Volt meters. I would like to know what testing detectors are essintial to own


I use a survey master moisture meter , I would invest in a a AMP Probe, That would give you Volts Ohms, and so on. Co Monitor Here is what i use i would think using a utra sonic leak dector will cover lots of different leaks, Refrigerant, Gas, Plus pretty handy listening to Electric Chatter. Comes with a transmitter so it also could be used to find leaking refrigerator gasket leaks.this is the one i use
you can PM if you want.

Spend the majority of your budget on a good moisture meter because you will be using it constatly. I suggest the Protimeter Survey Master which is around $500 give or take a few bucks. A carbon monoxide ,eter isn’t really going to give you much valuable information exect that there is elevated levels present in the room when you took the measurement. If you really want to measure CO, then break the budget and buy a combustion analysis meter. Gas sniffers are coming down in price and there are some cheaper ones out on the market that work just fine. I use a BOLO and it is able to pick up gas leaks that I can’t smell. Only buy a volt meter or AMP meter if you know how to use one and have an understanding of voltage and amperage measurement. Otherwise, stick to a simple receptacle tester. When you see something wrong, it needs repair by an electrician. No need to try to diagnose problems when you are first starting out. Buy a cheap Black and Decker cordless screwdriver. You will need that more than a volt meter.

Just look for a certificate of calibration when ordering testing equipment. Unless you are planning on getting into litigation inspections, you do not need the best equipment. I have mentored too many inspectors who buy the best equipment but fail to spend the required monies on the other parts of their business that matters. Guess what, they all are out of business now. After you get yourself established and get some money sat aside to pull you through the slow months, then think about spending money on top of the line equipment.

What about the fact that the SOP does not require these types of intrusive tools? I think you are setting yourself up for litigation by using any tool outside the SOP.

Moisture meter, hands down most used tool for me.
Good flashlight(s) - I never thought I’d spend $75 on a single flashilight- but I’m glad i did - rechargeable and reliable.

Don’t skimp on those two items. :mrgreen:

Personal safety gear is important too, dont forget:

Respirator - I don’t go into crawls or attics without it.
Voltage ticker - is that wire/box/enclosure live?

Get a website too - not a “meter” but a must-have “tool” for your business! :mrgreen:

I don’t recall seeing ANY tool mentioned in the SOP. :-k

Actually, most of the SOP does not require most of the tools listed. That was my point. If you go above and beyond the SOP then you would be subject to a lawsuit in my opinion. To each there own.

No tools required. Got it.;-):stuck_out_tongue:

Oh - I forgot my most used tool- a digital camera!

Not required by the SOP, but I would bet 99% of inspectors use 'em.:stuck_out_tongue:

2 schools of thought - cheap and disposable (you’ll drop it at some point)
or spend some dough and get great pics - just don’t drop it. :slight_smile: Most have video capabilites - a great feature when warranted.

Be sure to get the highest digital zoom you can.

Im hoping that was not sarcastic>>>> If so thats fine. CA is a litigist state to say the least and you have to be careful what you do.

And yes a good camera is nice. Ive had my Kodak for several years and works great not to mention it is compact and can fit in my shirt pocket while scooting around in those tight spaces.

I was teasing you, Paul, about the SOP. :slight_smile:

Paul your right. Stay within the SOP. No need to break the bank account with all the fancy tools. Website, flashlights, ladders, ice pick, moisture meter, and a good outlet tester (which checks for bootlegs) is all you really need to get started. Listen to Scott as well and get a cordless screw driver. Saves lots of time with panels. Remember we are not in the business of telling people how to fix something. We refer licensed pro’s for that. There is no possible way you could diagnose something without the proper training, code books and tools within that given career field. Stick to what you can see and what the SOP says you’ll see. If you follow the SOP your in the business of telling people if something does not function properly or is damaged that’s it.

The “Stay within the SOP” guys do not like it when you point out that No one stays within the SOP Rick. :smiley:

I would think the most basic tools to spend good money on are a
outlet tester (buy a good one that checks both ground and arc)
Moisture Meter (spend the money on this, you will want it to be accurate, and it will find problems you could never see)
temp gauge (great for checking both function of vents and proper working of hvac)
Water Pressure gauge. (get a freeze proof one, or you will be replacing it)
Voltage detector (this little cheep tool is indispensable for finding live wires in crawls and attics.)
These items i use every day on every inspection.

other things to consider like wayne said, if you live in an area where you use a lot of furnaces, get a co2 detector. I have not found any bad furnaces yet, but wayne has. all by turning it on and leaving it to do its job.
A good gas detector also. I don’t care what others say, I find gas leaks about every 3rd inspection. Mainly on the meters or occasionaly the furnace area. Scott is right. They will find one you could never smell. You should see the look on peoples faces when you tell them you found a gas leak right next to their furnace.

Going the extra mile for your customers should go a long way. I have never found anyone to complain about being too thorough.

Reliable transportation is a must. Did you ever try carrying a 20’ ladder and a bag of tools for 15 miles to get to an inspection???

No it doesn’t attract lawsuits. Inferior service does.

Digital camera (w/ extra batteries)
Ladders (I have a short step, Telesteps, 22ft Little Giant, 32ft extension)
Good flashlight (at least 2)
Moisture meter (pin and non-invasive) - I have multiple probe types and extension pole for high areas
Combustible gas detector (optional)
Outlet tester (3-light or Suretest) I also carry a $2 neon tester for line/load checks on A/C discos
Multi-meter (optional)
Voltage detector
Power screwdriver is a time saver
Level (I have a short digital, 4 ft and roof pitch gauge)
IR Temp gun (I also carry 2 Deltatrak probes)

Best investment is in experience and education

Just my opinion. Your SOP tells you what you have to inspect, but does not limit you and prohibit you from inspecting things, and it also does not tell you what tools that you will use to inspect them. You have to use your judgement and know your own limitations on this. For instance, if an inspector has a strong electrical background he may be more apt than the next guy to do more thorough testing of the electrical system. More vulnerable? Maybe, but we are all vulnerable as home inspectors, so each one of us has to set our clients expectations so they understand what service they are getting.

I agree with most of the guys here, get the basic stuff first, to be able to do a good home inspection and built your business. After that go after some of the specialty tools you may want to provide better service.

This type of logic could get you into trouble. As home inspectors we are also held to what is called a “Standard of Care”, this basically means what the majority of inspectors in your area are doing.

I would venture to say that the vast majority of inspectors in your area have moisture meters. So if you miss a leaking toilet that ends up causing damage to the flooring and it could have been found with a moisture meter, well you can guess the outcome.

Basic tools would be:
A very good flashlight like an Ulta-Stinger
A good moisture meter or two. I own 4 types…
A tape measure or similar.
A non-contact electrical sensor…
An electrical tester. ShureTest or similar
Assortment of screwdrivers
Power screwdriver/nutdriver
A probe of some type
Half or full face respirator… Very important!
A few crawlsuits or a case of disposable suits (I use disposable suits)
A good sturdy ladder like a Little Giant LG-17 is used by many.
A good camera with low megapix capability and with a 10x zoom.

This is a good starting list. IMVHO, you do not need a CO detector, a gas detector, or anything else like those. As you become experienced you will understand what you need and don’t need pretty quick.

Happy Easter to all!

Ian your right. You can do what you want. Step into a court room and see what happens if you step outside the SOP. Many big name companies have a SOP for a reason to include the US government. They don’t write it for giggles. And they don’t stray from it. Your odds of winning a case goes down dramatically if you step outside the SOP. I’ve talked with more than a few lawyers on this.

IMO, using a tool is not stepping outside the SOP.

Mold, radon and other ancilaries are outside the SOP.

Ian has it right, SOP tells us what to inspecy, not how to inspect it.

Seems some think that doing anything we are “not required” to do is going outside of the SOP.

Walking on a roof? Will that get you in trouble?

Scott makes a good point about “standard of care” also.