Whether it’s caused by a hurricane, flood, or leaky pipe, excessive moisture inside any building can have detrimental effects on the integrity of the structure and its materials.
For the restoration professional hired to help the building owner start recovery efforts, taking water damage moisture readings is a critical part of the process.
Going into any job with confidence is, in part, about owning tools and equipment you can count on. Your meter should be one you unabashedly say is the best moisture meter for restoration.
A key component of completing a restoration inspection, the restoration moisture meter you choose should be versatile and flexible, serving as the:
Regardless of the materials you’re testing, the best professional moisture meters for restoration share these eight characteristics:
You shouldn’t have to work hard to take and interpret your moisture meter’s readings. With an interface that’s intuitive and easy to understand, the right moisture meter for restoration isn’t an impediment to completing a moisture survey. A few must-haves for simplicity’s sake include:
While a moisture meter does have some delicate components, you shouldn’t have to handle it like a priceless artifact. Accidents happen, be it the occasional drop or hard bump. They shouldn’t mean the end of your meter or its ability to detect moisture.
Regardless of how durable your meter is, keep it protected when you’re not using it. Storing it in a carrying case and replacing its caps are good places to start.
Moisture inspections usually require more than one tool. The best moisture meter for restoration consolidates the number of tools you’re carrying around.
By combining the capabilities of pin-type and pinless moisture meters, you’ll have no problem detecting both the presence of moisture in a space and the moisture content of the materials within it. In addition, you’ll waste no time frequently swapping meters to get the measurements you’re after.
In pin mode, you're able to measure actual moisture content in wood or other building materials.
Non-invasive, or pinless mode, on the other hand, helps you identify where moisture is present and areas that require additional testing.
Built-in hygrometers take your moisture meter to the next level by adding the ability to take ambient readings to the device’s capabilities.
Water damage restoration inspections are rarely cut-and-dry (pun not intended). A thorough and accurate inspection involves checking for moisture throughout the entire building. Sometimes that means taking measurements in a tight space that’s out-of-reach or going beyond a surface-level reading.
With the right set of professional moisture meter accessories, your meter is adaptable to the situation. Make sure your meter kit includes:
The hallmark of any thorough moisture survey is taking multiple readings to confirm your findings. The best moisture meters for restoration provide consistent moisture content level measurements no matter how many times you take a repeat reading.
Ever had your phone die in the middle of an important conversation? Frustrating, right? The same goes for when you’re completing an inspection and your meter’s batteries reach the end of their useful life. And sometimes it’s not easy to stop and change your meter’s batteries without losing progress.
A meter’s battery life is synonymous with its dependability in the field.
While its expected to use power in the field (otherwise it wouldn't work), your meter shouldn't blast through a charge. Rather, its power consumption should be minimal, giving its battery life longevity.
Put simply, a warranty for your moisture meter = peace of mind. If there’s a manufacturer defect, you’ll be able to get the issue taken care of without having to open up your wallet.
The next-most important piece of equipment in restoration moisture surveys is a thermo-hygrometer.
A close relative to a hygrometer, a thermo-hygrometer is essentially a hygrometer with a thermometer.
Like a non-invasive (pinless) moisture meter, a thermo-hygrometer is useful in the beginning stages of a survey to help identify moisture’s presence. Measuring relative humidity against temperature, the device provides a picture of the moisture level of the air within a space and what’s could lead to condensation moisture-related issues.
Its readings, which you should cross-reference with an equilibrium moisture content chart, always merit further investigation for confirmation.
Just like picking out the perfect moisture meter, there are a few things to look for when choosing a thermo-hygrometer:
The last thing any restoration professional wants to worry about on-site is whether their tools and equipment are up to the task.
Whether it’s a moisture meter or a thermo-hygrometer, choosing a device that delivers on the most important performance fronts lets you walk onto the job site ready to go.
Explore our selection of pin-type, pinless, and all-in-one moisture meters designed to make restoration inspections easier:
This article was originally written in October 2021 and was recently updated to reflect industry standards.