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Moisture Meters (again)


Jeff Remas
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Here is a topic that has been covered in all the messageboard, BUT I want to add a twist.

For those of you who use a moisture meter:

When do you use it?Why?

Do you record your findings?

How do you present them in the inspection report?

Has a moisture meter ever been a real "life saver" for you in a situation where you may have not caught something?

Thanks guys

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I test every stain I find on interior surfaces.

I record my findings in my report like this: "The stain on the dining room ceiling was dry this morning." or "The stain on the dining room ceiling was wet this morning. The leak above it must be located and repaired by a plumber now."

I don't know if it has ever saved my life, but a moisture meter gives you some great information. Stains that look wet and recent often aren't, and stains I's swear are old and dry sometimes aren't. I believe it is a tool every inspector should own.

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I use my Protimeter frequently. When I describe a surface as dry now, damp now or now, I add "tested with a moisture meter." There are circumstances when I record the numbers for damp as "16-19%" or wet, "over 20%" when I want to make a specific case for correction.

I use it for basement walls, floor assembly from a basement or crawl space, around commode bases through vinyl flooring, etc. etc.

I find it especially handy for X-ray vision, i.e., when the owner has done a cover up paint job in a basement and I can say, with confidence, "This wall is wet."

Cool.

-David Lee

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I'm still amazed at how many commodes bases have moisture around them. Many times there will be no indications of problems. I just start checking around the base and there it is.

I've also been finding quite a few window leaks in new homes lately. Lower corners.

Yes, I report my findings. It's hard to argue with a moisture meter.

Donald

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Hi,

Jeff asked:

When do you use it?Why?
I use it on every job. Actually, my wife Yung does, because she does the interior while I'm doing the foundation, exterior, roof, electro-mechanicals, crawlspaces and/or basements. She scans the exterior walls and floor at the perimeter. The walls of tub/shower surrounds, floors in bath, around toilets, in front of dishwashers and kitchen sinks. Floors around sliding doors to patios. Corners of windows. Stains. Anytime she gets a reading, she'll confirm it in pin mode. Once she's finished the interior, I'll pause what I'm doing and she'll walk me through her list and I'll confirm all of her moisture findings and record them if they seem to be valid and not caused by metal, foil, concrete or wires and I can relate them to a cause and effect.
Do you record your findings?

How do you present them in the inspection report?

In the report, we report that we'd located moisture at such and such location using a moisture meter, that there was or was not visual evidence of moisture, any contributing factors present, and recommend further investigation and correction as necessary by the appropriate contractor.
Has a moisture meter ever been a real "life saver" for you in a situation where you may have not caught something?
Both Yung and I have had many dozens of finds that might have gone unnoticed when relying simply on sight and smell and we've rarely been wrong about there being active moisture present.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Jeff Remas

When do you use it?Why?

Do you record your findings?

How do you present them in the inspection report?

Has a moisture meter ever been a real "life saver" for you in a situation where you may have not caught something?

I use one at almost every inspection.

You ask why? Well besides the enjoyment of pain I receive when I impale myself with the two needle sharp probes, I have found that if I use the non-invasive type I can find moisture around many toilets that you really can't see.

Any time I have an area in question I report it in my report that the MM either found moisture or it did not. If it is a stain on roof decking I want to know if it is dry or not.

Moisture meters have saved my tail many times. I love my Tramex Moisture Encounter. I use it all of the time around windows and baseboards and find moisture problems with it.

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I use the Tramex. Great tool and has helped many, many times. Be aware of the issues surrounding meters in general (like Dennis said...hidden metal,etc).

However, I think it is a must to have one. I record whether stains are damp or dry and mention that the moisture meter was used to determine this. I also mention what type of meter was used.

I have the Delmhorst meter system as well but I never need to use it anymore unless I'm troubleshooting a real 'problem place' and need to bring out the heavy ammo for the documentation.

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I also bought the Prometer Surveymaster SM and use it on every job. I have found that in my area most sliding glass doors leak (a lot or a little) and the nearest tackstrip has rusty nails. On sheetrock wrapped windows if I find evidence of moisture I'll verify it with the MM and take a photo of the reading. I don't always include the photo in my report but I keep it on disk for future use. I hope I never need them.[:)] Paid $410 and use it all the time.

Ron

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As I do EIFS inspections I have several moisture meters. Tramex: Wet Wall Detector & Moisture Encounter. Delmhorst: J-5. and a Protimeter SM.

The most sensitive and deepest reading non-invasive is th Tramex Moisture Encounter, I have had it give good readings at around 1 3/4 inches in depth.

The Protimeter is neat and works good on tile and in bathrooms. It is the only one I have seen that can read moisture under a ceramic tile with the tile being wet on top!

My wife has put me on Moisture Meter Probation

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Jim just mentioned what I was going to say. Before you write up moisture around the toilet I suggest taking some toilet paper and wiping down the area you are about to test. 8 out of 10 times the TP will turn YELLOWid="yellow"> That's not a toilet leak, It's bad aim.

I test every stain. Really saved my A$$ last week. Saw a wet stain on the base board found moisture on an exterior wall 15 feet wide and 18 feet high. That is the area that was wet. No signs of moisture were present above 1 foot. I thought the meter might be picking up something else so I tapped on the drywall with my knuckle and it went through the wall.

Another one bites the dust, and another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust, HEY, I'll inspect yours too ...[:-headphones] ...

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Why the Protimeter Surveymaster SM? What can I do with that.........that I cannot do with the Protimeter Mini for almost $300. less? I don't do EIFS and don't plan on it in the near future. I want the best BANG for my buck without getting a bunch of bells and whistles that I don't need.

Thoughts there gents & ladies. Come on, I know we are all gadget freaks.

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  • 11 months later...

That's a good point.

Don't scoff Jeff. I'm certified by NWCB as an EIFS inspector/repairer, and I rarely do it. However, I've owned an SM for more than five years and wouldn't be without it.

My wife Yung and I work together. She does the interiors while I do the structure, exterior, roof, and all of the electro-mechanicals. I've tought her how to interpret both the SM and my SureTest and she's become a maestro with them both.

By the time I get done with the exterior and all the electro mechanicals, she's gone through the home from top to bottom and has checked virtually anywhere there might be a moisture issue. I catch up to her and she takes me back through to show me every issue she's found, whereupon I double-check it to be sure and then write it confirmed. She's rarely wrong.

I'd bet that between the two of us, we've found enough hidden stuff over the past five years, that never could have been detected visually or with the pin meter, that if we were to receive the cost equal to repairs for every time we found one of those hidden items, we'd be living in a new 5,000 sq. ft. Euromanse on the East side.

Protimeter SM. Never leave home without it!

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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On several occasions now I've had the opportunity to put the PSM and the Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus on a head to head test. On sheetrock the PSM does not pick up moisture as deep as the TME+ If it's sheetrock, I grab my Tramex. On tile, I'm never sure where to set the Tramex. Is it sheetrock and plaster or should I set it on brick and concrete...hmmmm. I find myself wrestling with that decision on a daily basis. So I grab my PSM so I don't have to think as hard.

If I could only use one meter, it would be the PSM simply because it's small, handy and has pins. I'm glad I don't have to use only one because I sure like my Tramex on sheetrock and paneling!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do moisture testing for fungal growths(smile) I did not say the M word my home inspection has slowed and the air sampling for mold spores has taken off.

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I know there is some inspectors out there that have an issue with air sampling but that is ok some of us have to come out of the box(smile again)and I know some one will ask me this question "what are your certifications" and my answer is I have a degree in Immunology and Protein Chemistry.

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Originally posted by Ronald Reedy

I do moisture testing for fungal growths(smile) I did not say the M word my home inspection has slowed and the air sampling for mold spores has taken off.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Picture 013.jpg

147.03 KB

I know there is some inspectors out there that have an issue with air sampling but that is ok some of us have to come out of the box(smile again)and I know some one will ask me this question "what are your certifications" and my answer is I have a degree in Immunology and Protein Chemistry.

You might want to pursue remedial study in grammar, composition, & sentence structure (smile).

I have no issue w/ air sampling; it's a necessary component of indoor air quality analysis. I have a problem w/ HI's w/no certifications outside of those bestowed by recently formed societies devoted to bestowing "mold expert" certifications.

One might want to review what Jeffrey May, Phd and respected IAQ authority has to say about interior air sampling relative to a home inspection.

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Hi,

I talked to Jeff by telephone just a couple of months ago and asked him what he thought about all of this mold testing during home inspections. He said he doesn't do it and won't. He acknowledged that he has a separate IAQ business, but said he agreed with the CDC and EPA that it was of little value.

I talked to another PHD who's firm does mold analysis down at the AII convention in Portland, OR. I think it was two years ago. We later had a series of e-mail exchanges to talk about what home inspectors do. He said that air sampling for mold is of little value because there is mold everywhere. He said that the only reliable way of doing it is by the tape-lift method.

Now, I don't know a whole lot about the subject. In fact, I make it a point not to. I think it is clear that the true 'experts' in the field think that air sampling has no value and that looking for mold in the course of a home inspection is pointless. Since the bill of goods that testing labs sell is primarily air sampling during home inspections, I consider it a scam.

I tell my clients very pointedly up front, "I don't inspect or test for mold, period. So don't even expect me to go there. If you're concerned with mold, hire a reputable IAQ firm to check the place out, but don't hire one of me. Home Inspectors have no business dabbling in mold. That's like an ophthalmologist dabbling in brain surgery."

They get it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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