In the world of flood damage restoration, a dependable and accurate moisture meter is an inspector’s best friend. Without one, locating moisture and gauging the extent of its presence is nearly impossible.
But like any tool or piece of equipment, a restoration moisture meter isn’t made to last forever (however, when taken care of properly, a professional moisture meter can last decades). For most flood damage restoration professionals, there does come a point where their trusty meter should be put out to pasture.
One of the worst things for any professional is to have a tool or device their work depends on fail. When completing a water and flood damage restoration inspection, a floor and water damage moisture meter should be the last thing a user has to worry about.
By paying attention to the signs a meter is reaching the end of its useful life, a flood damage restoration professional can avoid the headache of suddenly being without a dependable meter while on the job.
In a sense, a moisture meter is no different than a car. It needs regular maintenance and to be treated with a certain level of care.
However, like a car that seems to be in the shop more than it’s on the road, there are several signs that a meter is nearing retirement:
Though the restoration moisture meter you purchased in the 80s is reliable, it might not be able to keep up with the meters now 30+ years its junior. The simple fact is that technology changes and improves. There’s a reason no one carries around a brick-sized cell phone.
The moisture meters of today are lightyears ahead of their predecessors. In addition to having a more compact design, many are now technological wonders, comparatively speaking – many modern moisture meters have features not even thought of 20 years ago, including:
After years of use, it would be nearly impossible for any device to not show some evidence that it’s served its purpose. Restoration moisture meters are not immune to this.
Aside from cosmetic differences from the day it was taken out of the box (think: worn-down grips, faded paint, or cracked screens) both pinless and pin-type moisture meters do have some immediately apparent signs of wear that shouldn’t go ignored.
In non-invasive (pinless) moisture meters, the biggest sign to look for is a worn-down contact plate. In pin-type meters, it’s bent or dulled pins.
While components in meters are usually replaceable, there does eventually come a time when a meter has met its useful life.
Taking signs of wear a step further, meters aren’t made to last forever. Sometimes – usually accidental in nature – a meter breaks and there’s no possible way to fix it.
Whether it's internal or external damage, the simple fact is that when a meter can’t be repaired, a replacement is in order.
The sure sign a flood damage restoration meter is on its last legs is when it comes up with different results when testing the exact same material twice. Duplicate tests and comparing readings are one of the fastest ways to verify the moisture meter accuracy. When results conflict, a flood damage restoration professional’s job becomes that much harder – a standard double-check becomes a triple- or quadruple-check, taking up valuable time. What’s more, the final results of an inspection remain questionable, at best.
In most cases throughout a meter’s service life, a simple calibration gets the device back in good, working order. But when calibration doesn’t solve the problem, a restoration meter has likely reached the end of the road.
There’s something to be said for using the latest tools and equipment. For the user, having the most up-to-date devices in your toolbox means you’re never out-of-sync with the newest industry standards. It also means that your meters have a long life ahead of them and you won’t have to worry about them prematurely failing.
For the customer, having a professional show up with tools that date back to the Ford Administration doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. That’s not to say that an older moisture meter isn’t worth its salt. However, as the adage goes, first impressions are everything.
The most obvious reason for needing a new meter – or any tool for that matter – is when it just can’t be found. Occasionally, a restoration meter goes missing, whether it’s left at the job site, misplaced in the shop, or disappears for no rhyme or reason.
The #1 tip for keeping a meter from going missing is to have a place to store it when it’s not in use. Most moisture meters and moisture meter kits come with a carrying case of some nature that has designated spots for the meter and any accessories.
When the time comes to decommission a restoration moisture meter, there are a few things every flood damage restoration professional should look for in a replacement.
The best moisture meters for restoration are:
In a perfect world, an investment in a professional-grade moisture meter would be a one-time expenditure during an entire career. Again, when taken care of, professional moisture meters can easily last decades.
However, everything has a useful life.
By keeping an eye out for the signs that a moisture meter is ready for replacement, a flood damage restoration professional can all but guarantee the meter in their toolkit is always ready for the next job.
Check out our Restoration Kit. It has everything a flood damage restoration professional needs!