Hygrometers & Flood Damage Restoration

Protimeter Hygromaster2 unit with hands

During a moisture inspection after a flood or water damage event, not all moisture measurements have to come from a moisture meter. 

While it’s natural to think conducting an inspection for moisture only requires pinless and pin-type meters, there’s another tool that allows for a more comprehensive moisture investigation.

A complement to a moisture meter, a hygrometer provides a different type of measurement for moisture within a space. For the flood damage restoration professional, a hygrometer’s readings can mean the difference in creating a final report that truly represents the extent of moisture damage. 

From a functional standpoint, a hygrometer not only helps a surveyor locate spaces impacted by a moisture intrusion, but also verify the effectiveness of the drying process.  

What is a Hygrometer?

A moisture meter of sorts, a hygrometer gives you important readings of relative humidity, temperature, and grains-per-pound (more on these later). These readings are essential to know how the drying process is progressing and when to reposition or remove your drying equipment.

During a moisture inspection, a hygrometer is often used first to gauge where moisture most likely is. The higher a space’s RH, the greater chances there’s a moisture issue that requires further investigation. 

While a hygrometer doesn’t locate moisture in the same way as a pin-type or a non-invasive moisture meter, it does help the user better understand where moisture is present and the ambient conditions of a space

A Word on Thermo-hygrometers

Taking the device a step further, a thermo-hygrometer integrates a thermometer into a hygrometer, allowing the user to also capture temperature readings. Because of their dual functionality, thermo-hygrometers are considered the most accurate indoor hygrometer and are a favorite device of flood damage restoration professionals for moisture surveys. With both humidity and temperature readings, the device provides measurements of a space’s relative humidity, which can be converted to specific humidity and grains-per-pound measurements. 

 

Hygrometer & Thermo-hygrometer Measurements: What They Mean

When taking moisture readings with a hygrometer or thermo-hygrometer, there are three types of measurements that typically come up:

  1. Relative humidity – the percentage of water vapor content in the air relative to a specific temperature
  2. Specific humidity – the ratio of water vapor mass to the total mass of air. Temperature is not a factor.
  3. Grains-per-pound – the weight of moisture in the air.

Why Every Flood Damage Restoration Professional Should Use a Hygrometer 

Though serving a different purpose during a moisture inspection, hygrometers are an important tool for getting a comprehensive understanding of moisture intrusion throughout a building and its rooms. 

A hygrometer’s usefulness comes at all stages of remedying a moisture incursion. 

During the initial part of an inspection, the device’s readings help an inspector determine which areas of a building are most likely affected by moisture. 

After the source of moisture is located and drying equipment is put in place, a hygrometer’s readings can help crews determine if the equipment is working properly to dry out the space. Long after corrective measures have been implemented, a hygrometer’s measurements can be used to confirm that moisture is no longer posing a problem. 

A thermo-hygrometer is particularly useful for the later stages of moisture remediation. In flood damage restoration, it’s almost a given that a dehumidifier will be running to help dry out a space. The best way to gauge if efforts are working is by taking temperature and humidity readings in several spaces: 

  • The area outside the building to measure the environment’s natural humidity 
  • The unaffected areas inside a building 
  • The air going into the input of the dehumidifier inside the affected area
  • The air coming from the dehumidifier’s output 

By comparing the readings and using them to calculate grains-per-pound (or grams-per-kilogram), an inspector is able to determine a space’s specific humidity and accurately gauge if moisture remediation is working. 

Of note, because both hygrometers and thermo-hygrometers are sensitive to temperature changes, it’s important to take measurements that climb the temperature scale. Start where temperatures are likely the lowest and work your way to where they’re the highest. 

 

What to Look for in a Professional Hygrometer

In some respects, a hygrometer is no different than a moisture meter. 

There are many different types of both devices. Depending on their manufacturer, both boast a variety of features. 

But perhaps the biggest similarity between both moisture measurement tools is that you get what you pay for. In other words, purchasing a cheap hygrometer is an investment in a poor-quality device that won’t perform as well as one that’s professional grade. 

Aside from the price point (usually several hundred dollars), there are several features that are a must in a hygrometer that pays dividends: 

  • The ability to take fast, accurate, & repeatable measurements
  • Durability 
  • A backlit display to make reading a digital hygrometer’s measurements easier 
  • An intuitive interface & software
  • A removable & replaceable probe to eliminate the need to send the hygrometer away for calibration 
  • An extension lead that allows the probe to get into hard-to-reach areas
  • A protective case
  • Software that calculates measurement conversions 

While it may be tempting to opt for a more … cost-effective hygrometer, remember: saving money now may mean spending more later. In other words, a cheap hygrometer will more than likely require replacement, costing both time and money.  

Hygrometers: A Sound Addition to a Moisture Inspection

Despite taking a different type of moisture measurement – one that’s broad – a hygrometer provides important readings for flood damage restoration. 

Paired with measurements taken by moisture meters, a hygrometer helps a restoration contractor provide the most accurate representation of moisture intrusion and the impact of moisture remediation. 

Add a Hygrometer to Your Toolbox

Our Hygromaster 2 boasts the latest in hygrometer technology.

See the HygroMaster 2