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Moisture Meter Recommendations


redquill
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Avoid the cheap Ryobi scan type meter the big orange box sells.

The radio function crapped out on my Protimeter SM and I didn't have time to dink around with it so I shot over to the big orange box and grabbed the Ryobi. I does not give consistent readings at all; I can scan a section of wallboard, come back five minutes later and it will indicate something else altogether.

Look for a Protimeter SM - Mine is 10 years old and still (though reluctantly) getting out of bed in the morning and doing its job.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I am a new home inspector and i am looking to purchase a moisture meter. Does anyone have any thoughts on a good meter that will perform all of the needs of a home inspector, but not break the bank? Your thought would be greatly appreciated.

I'm a big fan of the Wagner L606. The Oregon Association of Home Inspectors made two seperate bulk purchases of these meters for their members over a decade ago. As a result, there are about 30 inspectors running around here with L606s. I have yet to hear anyone complain about them. Mine is still going strong after 13 years of being dropped, kicked, sat on, & rained on.

Every time I talk with a Tramex owner, I hear stories about the thing needing to be repaired.

The Protimeter SM is also a fine tool. If someone gave me one, I'd keep it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I had the same question as you a short while back and ended up with $700 in meters... the Protimeter and the Tramex. The Protimeter has pins, which I am very much used to as a builder/woodworker, and also has long probes that I have used a few times. The Tramex is better for scanning finished surfaces and if you read a couple of other threads on this site you may conclude that it scans deeper than the Protimeter. I started with the Protimeter but added the Tramex after worrying that the Protimeter might be prone to false negatives when scanning drywall. Of course the Tramex has that potential as well.

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A Ryobi cordless driver/drill that I have is one of the best investments I've ever made. I won't even look at their humidity tester though.

Marc

Marc, once again I find myself agreeing with you. I have opened must be over 500 panels with my $20 Ryobi 4 volt screwdriver. It is powerful and fits in my pants pocket. I charge it once or twice a week.

Moisture meter? Proto SM. You could buy the pinless model to start. I rarely use the pins, which becomes an invasive inspection and leaves marks. Inspection Essentials had a deal on them, good company. I found a pouch that clips it on my belt. I will never leave it lying around.

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Thanks for all the responses, guys. I actually had a Ryobi in my hand the other day. It was tempting because of the price. I guess ya get what you pay for.

Hah! Ryobi, feh! I spit on Ryobi. Sphht! Sphht!

OK scratching Ryobi off the list! Darn it!

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Marc, once again I find myself agreeing with you. I have opened must be over 500 panels with my $20 Ryobi 4 volt screwdriver. It is powerful and fits in my pants pocket. I charge it once or twice a week.

I couldn't resist. I just went out and bought one. It's $39 now.

Marc

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  • 3 years later...

I have been using Tramex Moisture 'encounter' for many, many years.. great tool.. I use those Eagle Creek belt-bags to carry it.. maybe guys don't protect the pads properly and damage them..???? I also have a Delmhorst two-pin for 'disputes' but never need it..

After many years in the field, you can use your experience coupled with a decent moisture-meter to get the job done...

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Moisture meter? Proto SM. You could buy the pinless model to start. I rarely use the pins, which becomes an invasive inspection and leaves marks.

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tn_20107215729_scrwdrvr%20002.jpg

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Wait, by using a moisture meter with pins it becomes an invasive inspection, then we go down the slippery slope??

I don't get it. I remove covers, panels, pull up carpeting in corners, etc, etc to do what's needed for thorough inspection. We could start the drop ceiling tile discussion again.

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Moisture meter? Proto SM. You could buy the pinless model to start. I rarely use the pins, which becomes an invasive inspection and leaves marks.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20107215729_scrwdrvr%20002.jpg

60.98?KB

Wait, by using a moisture meter with pins it becomes an invasive inspection, then we go down the slippery slope??

I don't get it. I remove covers, panels, pull up carpeting in corners, etc, etc to do what's needed for thorough inspection. We could start the drop ceiling tile discussion again.

A moisture meter is an instrument that should be used with great care and thought. Is the subsurface material that you are scanning drywall or plaster? In many older homes there is a mix of both. If you scan a stained vinyl floor next to a toilet on a slab are you scanning the slab or the vinyl? Experiment often before reporting.

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Moisture meter? Proto SM. You could buy the pinless model to start. I rarely use the pins, which becomes an invasive inspection and leaves marks.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20107215729_scrwdrvr%20002.jpg

60.98?KB

Wait, by using a moisture meter with pins it becomes an invasive inspection, then we go down the slippery slope??

I don't get it. I remove covers, panels, pull up carpeting in corners, etc, etc to do what's needed for thorough inspection. We could start the drop ceiling tile discussion again.

A moisture meter is an instrument that should be used with great care and thought. Is the subsurface material that you are scanning drywall or plaster?

Minimal thought. Walk into room, look at wall, tap on it if necessary, and you should know exactly what it is.
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Tangent....

I've set up a test where I put water on formica, put vinyl wall paper over it, then scan with the PSM. IOW, a thin plastic water sandwich. The SM doesn't "find" the water.

Diffused, in a substrate, it finds it just fine. Understood.

Why doesn't it find the water in the sandwich? It makes me want to not trust the scan mode.

(My PSM is >23 yrs. old, granted it could be the device.)

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. . . (My PSM is >23 yrs. old, granted it could be the device.)

I was once told that it was designed to work that way.

Yes, it sends ultrasound beams into the material a certain depth,then measures the resistance between those two beams. It's magic, actually.

I have an antique pin moisture meter that looks like a sawed off shotgun. If it finds moisture, a red light flashes slow for damp, faster for wet. The "Drieaz HydroSensor II".

Marc, how's your Ryobi screwdriver holding out? Mine is strong as ever.

Anything with a lithium battery is topnotch, IMO.

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. . . (My PSM is >23 yrs. old, granted it could be the device.)

I was once told that it was designed to work that way.

Yes, it sends ultrasound beams into the material a certain depth,then measures the resistance between those two beams. It's magic, actually.

I have an antique pin moisture meter that looks like a sawed off shotgun. If it finds moisture, a red light flashes slow for damp, faster for wet. The "Drieaz HydroSensor II".

Marc, how's your Ryobi screwdriver holding out? Mine is strong as ever.

Anything with a lithium battery is topnotch, IMO.

My micro-driver still sees use on almost every inspection. Not a speck of trouble with it in any way. Battery went dead, I think only once so far. Best $40 I ever spent.

If the SM is magic and sends 'ultrasound beams' then why does it not work under the conditions Kurt described? Seems like something important for guys like us to know.

Marc

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