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  1. #1
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    Default Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Anyone here use one of these and if so, which model/brand do you find the best all around for price and useability ? Here in Texas a moisture meter is not something we need everyday but every once in a while, so I don't want to spend $1,000 on one. Interested in your opinions on these devices.

    Thanks

    Gene in Dallas

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    A survey master mini for well under 2 hundred.

    This should be all you need. I broke my 450.00 dollar survey master and bought the mini. It does the same thing for hundreds less. It just has a scale and not the digital read out that gives you the basic moisture percentage.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene South View Post
    Anyone here use one of these and if so, which model/brand do you find the best all around for price and useability ? Here in Texas a moisture meter is not something we need everyday but every once in a while, so I don't want to spend $1,000 on one. Interested in your opinions on these devices.

    Thanks

    Gene in Dallas
    Needing a moisture meter has nothing to do with your location.

    Every competent professional home inspector should have a moisture meter in their tool bag. When you look at a toilet, how do not know if moisture is under that tile or flooring? Unless you can see visible damage or seepage, you can't tell. A moisture meter will tell you that you have moisture under that flooring material.

    I use two meters on almost every inspection. One is a Tramex Moisture Encounter and the other is a Protimeter SM. The SM is the best for bathroom tiles, etc.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Why both on every inspection Mr Scott. I have not found any difference with my mini than the 450 SM. Is there a dif in the Tramex


    Just curious

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  6. #6
    Chris Bernhardt's Avatar
    Chris Bernhardt Guest

    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Hi Gene,

    I use the same two moisture meters that Scott P. uses: Tramex moisture encounter plus and the GE surveymaster.

    The Tramex scans a little deeper and is easier to use over broader areas.

    The surveymaster is narrow and can fit into places that the Tramex can't like on window sills. Also the surveymaster doesn't seem to have the same problem with urine around the toilet; the Tramex will indicate elevated moisture. When that happens what you have to do is clean the floor and scan again. And the surveymaster behaves better on tile like Scott said.

    The surveymaster also is a dual mode meter having a pin mode making secondary confirmation quick and easy on framing and siding.

    When you get your meter do some experimenting. Take drywall, plywood, particle board etc. and wet the back side and scan over it from the other side to get a feel how your meter responds. Understand just because your meter indicates something doesn't mean there's a problem. You still got to use your head.

    Also understand that the pinless meters can't tell how the moisture anomally exists in the substrate or assembly that your scanning. That moisture, if it's moisture, could be spread out in a thin film on one of the surfaces or it could be absorbed into a substrate.

    For example, on one inspection my Tramex was pegging on even lowest sensitivity when I was scanning the vinyl floor covering in a kitchen. After talking with the owner and a little bit more investigating I found out there were two layers of vinyl and the ice maker supply line had leaked a few weeks before. I had access to the particle board underlayment thru a floor register. The particle board was dry. The moisture was trapped in a thin layer between the two layers of vinyl.

    If you have an IR camera, you can sometimes get really great images of the pattern of moisture or damage in a floor. I use a hair dryer and sweep the floor over the areas indicated by scanning with a pinless moisture meter then watch it decay and take pictures to include in the report. I don't do it all the time just once in a while.

    Chris, Oregon


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I have never owned or used a Tramex. I was just curious if I was missing something. For me, It doesn't sound like I am. I think the SM is great and the lower priced mini, by hundreds is better.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  8. #8
    Chris Bernhardt's Avatar
    Chris Bernhardt Guest

    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    In the rainy Pacific Northwest you need all the help you can get. Rainy season where I am at: Oct 31st to June 30th.

    Chris, Oregon


  9. #9
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Moisture Encounter Plus and Protometer (mini) for the Same type inspection as Scotty uses.

    Good tools to have. Both cost only $699.00 (not bad).

    rich


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I just got a Protimeter SurveyMaster to replace my old pin-type Plasplugs model which is no longer reliable. The SM is a big upgrade and I'm looking forward to using it.

    Like Scott said earlier, geographic location has no bearing on whether or not an HI should or shouldn't have a moisture meter. Just look at buying one as a necessary operating expense.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Why both on every inspection Mr Scott. I have not found any difference with my mini than the 450 SM. Is there a dif in the Tramex


    Just curious
    I think Chris covered it fairly well.

    I also own a Wet Wall Detector by Tramex, and couple of Delmhorst meters as well. I do EIFS inspections and specialize in moisture problems in homes and buildings.

    The proper tools will make you job easier. About the only thing I use the Moisture Encounter for is when I'm looking for moisture behind drywall.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Brian Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I was wondering if I made the right choice in buying one of these meters or not. I am new so I have yet to really try it out in a real situation but when I was purchasing my tools I decided at the last second to get a moisture meter. I bought a protimeter that has the probes and it can also be used by laying it against a wall as well.

    I was not sure if it was a necessary tool to have or not and almost didnt buy it due to the added cost but it sounds as if most of the HI on here use theirs on a regular basis, so thats good.


  13. #13
    Chris Bernhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Hi Brian,

    Answering your question could easily lead us into the visual means visual debate.

    I use every worthy tool at my disposal which includes a judicious use of moisture meters. In my area you would soon have your butt in a sling if you didn't intelligently use one in your inspection work.

    I believe, and its been my experience that, the use of tools will improve your visual skills, which probably couldn't have been achieved if one adopted a visual means visual policy.

    My advice is to use your meter in every inspection and also to experiment with it as I have mentioned before so you understand its limitations.

    At first you may feel like it's a waste of time, cause you never really find anything and when you do, you don't know what to make of it. But you got to start somewhere. When you do find instances where your meter is indicating something, take the time to study it out and use your head.

    Soon, you'll find that you can't live without your moisture meter/s, IR cam, pipe camera, etc.

    Chris, Oregon

    Last edited by Chris Bernhardt; 07-18-2008 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Spelling

  14. #14
    Wesley Holley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Hi guys! I lurk in the shadows here often.
    I don't post very often since I am strictly a Flooring Inspector.
    I use a Tramex "moisture encounter plus" and a Tramex "professional" probe/pin meter(s). I use the moisture encounter plus on every inspection I do. Many times moisture is not a relevant issue but The Homeowners love to see it in use. Once I asked a guy who was right over my shoulder every step I took if he would like to check the rest of his house while I finished up.. He did and left me alone. Not that I just hand over a $350. meter to someone, but I needed a break from the garlic breath.


    *Build a man a fire and he is warm for a day.
    Catch a man on fire and he might be warm the rest of his life.*


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Once I asked a guy who was right over my shoulder every step I took if he would like to check the rest of his house while I finished up.. He did and left me alone. Not that I just hand over a $350. meter to someone, but I needed a break from the garlic breath.

    I hear ya Wesley. Some people just get all in your space and you're practically stepping on them. Luckily you didn't have to worry about that in this case. All you had to do was follow the smell of garlic.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Chris

    Pipe camera???????????????????????????? For?????????????????. If the drain is backing up it goes to the plumber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!anyway

    Pipe camera???????????????????????????????????

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  17. #17
    Chris Bernhardt's Avatar
    Chris Bernhardt Guest

    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I actually bought this cheapo pipe camera kit so I could look in air ducts and clothes dryer ducts. I only do so when I am curious. I actually rarely use it, but it has saved me on that rare occasion from advising the client to hire someone else to figure out what's going on.

    I recently had an inspection where there was this funny 3 inch ABS pipe protruding out of the ground about 60 feet from new construction but in line with one of the downspouts. The agent and client were all concerned.

    I got my cheapo pipe camera out and sure enough confimed it was connected up to the downspout. Now if they hadn't pointed it out I would have never found it or little alone cared about since it was 60 feet out in a wooded area.

    I have been toying with the idea of buying a real pipe camera system and toying with the idea of actually using it and charging for it. There's a local guy here that has a booming sewer scope biz. He claims he's swamped doing 7 inspections a day a $125 a pop.

    Chris, Oregon


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I use my SeeSnake maybe once a month, but when it's useful, it's often *really* useful.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    Cool

    I just never heard of an home inspector using a pipe camera. I do know a few home inspectors that do leak detection under slab and also have cameras for checking the waste lines as well. One of them gets several calls a month for leak detection. Its usually water lines though. He finds where the leak is, partners with a plumber and makes some decent money. He does not pitch it as part of the home inspection. It is a separate bill and separate check so there is not home inspector conflict of interest.

    I guess the clients are impressed when you pull your SeaSnake out

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  20. #20
    Wesley Holley's Avatar
    Wesley Holley Guest

    Exclamation Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    A word of caution when using a Tramex pin-probe meter.
    If you are using this meter with the bulit in pins, be carefull when changing the pins as to not overtighten the cap screw. I was on an inspection the other day using this meter on a wood floor when it quit working. Of course I checked the pins first and found the mounting bolt that holds the pins were BOTH free and loose in their sockets. Once I got home and took it apart, I found that the backing nuts that hold the mounts were loose and since I had tried to unloosen the top mounting cap the whole assembly was allowed to spin and broke a few leads off the assembly.
    Lucky for me I was able to solder the leads back. The meter is working again for the time being but I'm treating it with kid gloves right now.

    Last edited by Wesley Holley; 07-20-2008 at 06:58 AM. Reason: speleling

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hand held moisture detector or detection device

    I originally got my SeeSnake for other things but I bring it along to every insp. I also don't use it very often. I don't use it to check drain lines or anything like that. That's more invasive than necessary. As Ted said if the drain is clogged refer it to the plumber. I use mine when I can't quite see something enough, usually HVAC or framing related.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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