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Thread: MOISUTE METERS

  1. #1
    daniel nantell's Avatar
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    Default MOISUTE METERS

    jUST OUT OF SCHOOL AND 2 TEACHERS DISAGREES , ONE BELIEVES IN THE MOISTURE METER AS PART OF THE iNSPECTION, AND OTHER DOES NOT , WHAT DOES MOST THE INSPECTORS OUT THERE BELIEVE THANKS

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  2. #2
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I think you will find out as you mature as a Home Inspector the moisture meter will become part of your bag of tricks. Very useful in certain circumstance.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Would love to hear more about the argument against them. How would you be able to tell if a leak might be active without one?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    A true teacher would tell you to use all the information at your disposal to make the right conclusion on any situation. A moisture meter is one of those tools. The teacher against it is trying to offer the absolute minimal to a client in order to reduce liability.
    Honesty, itegrity,accuracy,patience and practice are 5 of your most important tools. Ask your teacher in what crawlspace his integrity fell out of his tool pouch.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I'm probably in the minority (I usually am ) but I stick with a visual inspection. If I see something that makes me think a leak may be present I write it up. If I don't see signs of a leak I most likely wouldn't check the area with a meter anyways since there is no way to check every square inch with a meter. I guess my take on it is either I see visual signs of a leak or I don't see signs of a leak. It seems pretty cut and dry to me.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: MOISTURE METERS

    I inspect a ton of very old houses that have had many leaks, both plumbing and roof, over the decades. It's important to me to be able to tell the buyer if a stain is wet or dry, so I use moisture meters all the time.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    James said "It seems pretty cut and dry to me."

    I'm guessing you have not been a HI long. I don't think I know one inspector that does not own a moisture meter. I use mine on almost evey inspection.

    Just today I suspected there might be a moisture issue on a basement wall. There was a slightly negative grade in the front yard. No signs of stains or other issues on the drywall. Put my moisture meter in and got 38% at the first spot.

    If you think that just doing a "visual" inspection, and not using "special tools" is going to protect you from a lawsuit, I think you need to do some serious re-thinking. When someone discovers a moisture problem that you did not call out in your report, and you are called into court, or a deposition, you will have a hard time explaining why you don't use a moisture meter, when every other inspector in your area does.

    I for one feel that a moisture meter should be the second tool an inspector should buy. The first being a good flashlight.

    I just can't imagine why a HI instructor would tell someone not ot use a moisture meter.
    JF


  8. #8
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    All I can say, is that my moisture meter has saved me many times over what it cost me. Worth every penny! And after years, still learning what it can do for me. Never quit.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I own 4 moisture meters, all have different uses! I use at least one if not more at every inspection.

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

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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I also had 4 moisture meters, but typically only used two of them.

    5 ... if you counted my infrared camera as a 'moisture meter' (it is not, but it beats one for most things, but *does not replace* a moisture meter when trying to actually *detect moisture*).

    I just cannot understand the reasoning behind an instructor telling you *not to use* a moisture meter.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I've seen House Detective....I know the clients like the gadgets that beep and have numbers on them. I just have to razzle and dazzle them with my charm and wit....along with my K&S&A. 32 years in the trades, 3 years inspecting. I'll learn right from wrong one day!


  12. #12
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    The client really gets excited believe it or not when you pull out a moisture meter and show them a problem area.

    I have one meter that I call my disposable meter. Not an expensive model but it does a great job. If needed, I pull the good one out from behind my seat of the truck.

    When the client sees that meter peg out to the red line, and they see that moisture is present in that wall void they almost act like their happy you found it.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Since a non tunnel vision HI does not miss the boat they must carry all the following to be through:

    A Ultrasonic leak detector- to check for leaks in ductwork
    A sewer video inspection camera system- to check for rusted cast iron
    A psychometry- to check relative humidity & dew point temps
    A microwave leak detector- to check for microwave leaks
    A Electromagnetic Field tester- to check for EMF emissions
    A indoor air quality meter- to check IAQ
    A combustible gas leak detector- to check for combustible gas leaks
    A CO leak detector- to check for CO leaks
    A velocity air meter- to check the CFM at registers
    A set of manifold guages- to check the charge on the HVAC system
    A sound level meter- to check dB levels
    A borescope- to check for hidden problems
    A HVAC Video Inspection System- to check the inside of duct work
    An of course a Thermal Imaging Camera-

    Not using any of these meters could be considered negligence under the right circumstances. I think the term visual inspection is in place for a reason. Once the term changes from visual to invasive and/or comprehensive then I'll raise my price and follow the new SOP. I think the most important thing is to be consistant in your reports and not be jumping all over the place. JM2C


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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    James,

    Don't forget the Robinson 44 Helicopter to view the roof with.

    You must like going to (need to go to) extremes to justify NOT using a moisture meter?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Naw....Just saying you have to stop somewhere!


  16. #16
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I see your point but think a happy medium can be found. I for instance have a moisture meter, combustible gas detector and laser thermometer.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    For the life of me, I can't figure out why some folks insist that if you use one instrument, that you will/ can get in-trouble for not using them all... That's just a home-inspector myth.

    I have a Moisture Encounter Plus and a Protimeter. I do not pull them out of the bag unless I suspect an area or have good reason to verify a condition. Using a moisture meter is no different from using the Suretest, gas leak detector or any other item that will help you CONFIRM an issue that you may uspect. These instruments are basically for quality control of my own findings to VERIFY what I already found.

    In every case, I use these specialized insturments to VERIFY what I suspect may be going on or VERIFY that another tester has told me was going on. Hell, I've got a carbon monoxide detector that I've used three times--and I may never use it again.

    Rich


  18. #18
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    It's not rocket science! Water or moisture causes more home inspector complaints than anything else. About the only reason I can see a home inspector not having a moisture meter is that they are too cheap to buy one. If you have to select just one meter you need to invest in the Protimeter Survey Master. With both pin and noninvasive technology it is a hard meter to beat. The next would be the Tramex Moisture Encounter.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    We need the screwdriver to see inside the electric panel, we need the moisture meter to see moisture.
    And.... if that don't work (seeing the moisture) use the infrared camera.


    RR


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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    James,
    Sounds like you got it all figured out. I just wonder why you bother visiting this forum, since with your vast experience (32 years in the trades and 3 years inspecting), what could you possible learn from any of us?

    I just hope for your sake, that someone going after you in a lawsuit, doesn't hire one of us as an expert witness. In my opinion (for whatever it's worth), NOT using a moisture meter is negligence.

    You may have dodged the bullet so far, but I would be willing to bet that sooner or later, you will miss something moisture related, and it will come back to bite you hard on the butt.

    I know these words may seem harsh/sacastic. Believe it or not, I'm not trying to beat you up over this. My response to you is meant in the most positive way. I've been doing this gig for quite a while (as have many others on this thread), and I'm just trying to show you a way to keep yourself out of potential trouble, AND provide a better service for your clients.

    Over the years(still learning today) I have learned many things from fellow inspectors, and some were hard for me to wrap my brain around at first. One of the advantages of belonging to ASHI (or any HI organization for that matter), is the ability to be exposed to many other professionals that are willing to help and guide you in this business. This forum is a great resource too.

    JF


  21. #21
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I sure don't know it all and I enjoy this board. I just don't agree with with everything said so I put in my two cents. My two cents is not meant to offend anyone Just another opinion in the mix I hope.


  22. #22

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel nantell View Post
    jUST OUT OF SCHOOL AND 2 TEACHERS DISAGREES , ONE BELIEVES IN THE MOISTURE METER AS PART OF THE iNSPECTION, AND OTHER DOES NOT , WHAT DOES MOST THE INSPECTORS OUT THERE BELIEVE THANKS
    Very important to have a moisute meter. Also important to review your posts. If you do not spell well here, who will check your reports?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Moisture Meter

    Sorry for the wrong spelling of Moisture, Just one other question , If you find what your meter is telling you that you have high level moisture in the wall, and the buyer talks the seller into tearing the walls out to correct the problem and finds no mold or leakage, Im sure the H.I will be going to court to defend his business and his moistue meter / are the meter right 100 per cent of the time or do they give a false positive reading sometime. thanks for any info.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Daniel,

    That is the crux of the situation. The meter is no better than the individual wielding it. I know a pest inspector that would use the meter at the exterior of a shower. He always seemed to find excessive levels of moisture. But, when the floor was ripped up, there was usually no damage or leakage. The likely reason was that someone showered and dripped on the floor, which left some moisture. Not uncommon outside of a shower.

    The other limitation is that a stain may represent an intermittent leak. Water can run down a vent pipe from a roof leak, but if it is not raining, it may not register as wet. I have seen leaks at windows that only leaked when wind-driven rain from a specific direction hit the window. A second floor shower head can leak back into a wall and not show up as a leak on the ceiling below because the water was not run long enough.

    The downshot is: If you use a meter, be careful. If you do not use a meter, be careful. Don't worry about being sued. It will probably happen someday.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I have a Surveymaster and a Tramex - use one or both almost every inspection - could not do the job without them.

    This pic was from Monday's inspection: nice clean moisture gradient around the right side of the stool back toward the wax ring, starting about 18" out, with lifting tile to match.

    The trick is to regard the indirect readings as *relative" to a control readings in likely dry areas, not as absolute numbers, and to look for patterns - including likely false positives.

    I do a lot of older homes, and I spot one of these on the floor near a toilet or the wall of a tub/shower surround every few inspections.

    Then I get out my hard plastic xylophone mallet and start tapping... between the mallet and the meter I can often trace the bloom of the leak right back to its source - I feel a lot more comfortable about "indirect" (as opposed to pin) readings if there is other physical evidence to confirm my suspicions.... I reguard the meter results as an *indication*.... not a "diagnosis".

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I dunno ...

    I think those who say we should not use moisture meters are on to something ...

    I mean ... just think what 'liability this could save us from'

    -no more ladders
    -no more flashlights
    -no more screwdrivers
    -no more circuit testers
    -no more *tools* of any type

    Just walk around and "look" at the "visual" indications the house is giving you.

    After, the reasoning is, 'a home inspection is a visual inspection', right?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Jerry says my opinion is wrong so I guess I am.....sorry guys. Moisture meters for all the villagers..... they are on JP! Hey Jerry I still want that helicopter!

    I still think most gadget create more issuses than they solve for a HI. If you are doing an investigate inspection for a repair or a comprehesive HI then go for it but to say you can check an entire house for hidden moisture problems with a meter that checks inches at a time during a three hour HI is not being truthful with the client. Flame away....


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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Jerry says my opinion is wrong so I guess I am.....sorry guys.
    I didn't say you were wrong, only that, if done your way, the HI would not need ANY TOOLS at all.

    That'd save a bunch of money for the HI starting out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Cool Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Two distinct traits quickly develop among professional real estate inspectors after establishing their territory. (I’m on a crusade to ban the name, “home inspector” in favor of “Real Estate Inspector”)
    !. They never see a new tool that they can live without. (builders have the same malady, but then again many inspectors are X builders)
    2. Once an inspector, always an inspector. They can’t go to a friend’s home for a social visit without offering some advice on the several defects they just happened to notice when walking from their car to the front entry door.
    Another anomaly is usually the inspector’s clients are impressed with any tool the inspector employs during the inspection process that lights-up, blinks or makes a noise.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  30. #30
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I confess. I do it too Fritz.

    Hell, at Christmas time... I rewire the outlets and plug-in a dozen or so of the cheap outlet testers just to stare at the colors.


  31. #31
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    Default MOISUTE METERS

    Good point about the false positives. I found that my Tramex (non-invasive) meter would sometimes show moisture, that just didn't seem right. I would then pull out my old Delmhorst 2 -pin meter and check out the area.

    I have found very few false positives with my pin type moisture meters. I have a pretty small 4 pin unit I carry in my tool belt all the time - the others stay in the truck (I have a total of 5).

    I have never had a case where I called out moisture and after they opened it up nothing was found. I have had (many times) my clients call and tell me how bad something was, AFTER they had the wall opened (based on my moisture readings).

    Case in point:
    Got a call from a woman leasing a house. She said she smelled mold in her dining room. I came in and could smell nothing. I looked at the wall, even shining my light flat against the wall (good technique to use) saw nothing out of the ordinary. Went into the crawlspace and looked under the dining room for ANY sign of moisture/ strains, etc.

    Went and got the Tramex meter from the truck and it went nuts over parts of the wall. Got my 2 pin meter and started checking the wall. I found high mositure content over a large area. I even got my second Delmorst to confirm the readings. Went into the attic and looked outside too. Nothing was really wrong.

    Told her to have the owner/builder open the wall and see what was in there. They did and found extensive damage and mold inside the wall. Seems there was a small tear in some wall flashing allowing water to enter the wall cavity.

    There was no sign of moisture anywhere I looked, I could not detect any odor of mold, yet there was extensive problems. No one else that visited the house prior to the wall being opened could smell the mold. I almost questioned my own meters.


    As far as using newest, flashiest tools? Here are the things my clients comment on, in order of frequency:

    My dogs that are the screen saver on my laptop.
    The waterproof case for my pocket PC I wear around my neck during the inspection.
    My digital thermometer that shoots that red beam across the room. But they are so common that most people don't even bat an eye much any more.
    My Little Giant ladder
    The Scion that my old employee drove (what a chick magnet).

    Once in a while I get a comment on my Suretest, or the cool 4 in one nutdriver I use.

    I have a gas sniffer, but try not to let my clients see me use it.
    I get comments on my moisture meter, but usually only because it has a HOLD button to freeze the readings so I can take a photo.

    My clients seem to really appreciate it when I use my moisture meter to either confirm a stain is dry, or to confirm a suspect areas is WET.

    JF


  32. #32
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    The tool that I have that is way off the 'way cool' scale with regard to what my clients said is my infrared camera.

    But it was more than just 'way cool', it was also very 'way useful' too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: MOISTURE METERS

    BTW, I occasionally use my camera/meter to document the current condition of what I suspect are intermittent problems:

    "(FYI) There is evidence of previous water intrusion (water staining) on the rafters, sheeting, and wall top plate at the south attic dormer. At the time of inspection, my moisture meter (calibrated for pine) indicated that these rafters were at a similar moisture level (7-9%) as adjacent, unstained areas of the roof structure (see attached picture). Based on my observations at the time of this inspection I cannot determine when excessive moisture was last present at the stained areas and I cannot predict if or when it will reoccur. Often such problems are seasonal, or the result of extreme weather conditions. I recommend that if signs of elevated moisture levels reoccur you address the problem immediately - not only will this minimize additional damage but it may make correcting the problems easier as it is often easier to diagnose a leak's cause when the leak is active."


  34. #34
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Jerry Mc.

    You bringing up about constantly being in the inspector mode is what I think we're all guilty of.

    Just this morning as I was making the corner on our block, I noticed that the house just moved into over the weekend had water running out between the brick line and the foundation. It was also directly below what I thought was the master bathroom window. Immediately, I know it had to be a shower pan or some type of fixture leaking.

    Had to turn around in the truck, zoom in on the water leakage with my camera and take several pics. I came in this evening and printed off a couple of the pics and took down the street to these new neighbors so they could address the issue with the builder. Sure enough they told me they didn't do a home inspection being a new home. O'boy I thought.

    Well after talking to them just a few minutes, I booked an inspection Monday morning to check out the house. It will be nice to walk to work for a change.

    Rick


  35. #35
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    Wink Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I'm probably in the minority (I usually am ) but I stick with a visual inspection. If I see something that makes me think a leak may be present I write it up. If I don't see signs of a leak I most likely wouldn't check the area with a meter anyways since there is no way to check every square inch with a meter. I guess my take on it is either I see visual signs of a leak or I don't see signs of a leak. It seems pretty cut and dry to me.
    Hi all,
    I agree,
    The meter is usually an accessory to prove apoint to the client but it should not be a major tool the inspector would totaly rely on.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I didn't say you were wrong, only that, if done your way, the HI would not need ANY TOOLS at all.

    That'd save a bunch of money for the HI starting out.
    I had all I needed for my first inspection for $225.00 Went to Lowes the same day as the inspection. Imagine that....

    This did not include the truck I used.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    "I had all I needed for my first inspection for $225.00 Went to Lowes the same day as the inspection. Imagine that...."

    TRUE STORY

    Years ago I had a guy that did a few ride alongs with me. I don't remember the details of his training, etc, but two things stuck in my mind.

    After numerous times of standing in front of....electric panel, air handler, etc and asking him what problems he saw, and his knucklehead replies such as: "Oh you mean THAT, I thought you meant something else". This was after looking at a panel that had over-fusing and multiple taps on breakers, scorched wires, missing clamps...all kinds of problems, with a blank stare on his face. It was clear to me he had no business doing inspections until he got some more training.

    1. We were standing by my truck at the end of the job and he asked me what I charged for the inspection. I told him whatever it was $350 - 400. He said, "I guess I need to raise my prices then". I asked him if he thought we were in the same league, since he hadn't done an inspection yet. he said,"Well sure, we are looking at the same stuff. I'm going to do the same job you are".

    2. He called me after he did his first inspection. Seems he hadn't gotten his rechargable Maglite yet, so he didn't have a flashlight. So he took an extension cord and a work light along to do the inspection.

    He lasted less than a year.

    I'm sure he "thought" he had all he needed to do HIS first inspection too (except the flashlight).

    As a side note, it's guys like him that make some of us reluctant to take someone on a ride along.
    JF


  38. #38
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    That's a good story Jack...

    Funny as all get-out about the extension cord. Bet he was fun to watch-- especially with that big target on his back.

    Rich


  39. #39
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I personally have never used a moisture meter. Over seven years I've done around 2500 inspections and have never had a call back or instance where one would have saved me. The company I own has 6 employees, none of which use meters, and the results are the same as my personal experience. This represents somewhere around 15,000 inspections or more over the last 15 years.

    I'm not telling you not to use one.... I say do what you want/need to do to stay busy. The only two things that matter to me in this business are that the phone keeps ringing (meaning I must be doing something right) and I'm not getting sued (meaning I must be doing something right).

    In a nutshell a moisture meter can't see into a wall. There is nothing a meter tells me that, by itself, makes me change the way I report. This was the way I was shown the business and it works for me. I'm sure plenty will disagree and I'm happy you're happy with the way you do things.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Only one tool is necessary for a great inspection. "Common sense" All other tools are for show or for verification of what the first tool has discerned.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: MOISTURE METERS

    "In a nutshell a moisture meter can't see into a wall..."

    But, in a nutshell, it can.

    There have been numerous instances in my inspections where a moisture meter has confirmed the presence of excessive moisture in areas where I had no reason to suspect elevated levels based on the surface appearance, but had good reason to test for them based on other evidence that moisture levels might be elevated. (Common examples are the situation where you have a questionable flashing above a window on the exterior side of the same wall, or below a chimney's interface with the roof membrane).

    And I've encountered many more when the meter determined that excessive moisture was not present at the time of inspection.

    So while IMO it's defensible to argue the the downsides of using moisture meters outweigh their advantages for liability or other reasons, I don't think it's realistic to maintain that they do not have the potential to add considerably to an inspector's ability to discover moisture related problems.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Moisture meters? I just use my fingers if it feels wet it probabally is. Case in point I checked a hose bib and something did not sound right (ever get that little voice) when I checked the closet in the bathroom where the hose bib originated the carpet was wet even squishy next to the wall where the water lines came through the cement. The piping was polyb just for added value.


  43. #43
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    Red face Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Moisture meters? I just use my fingers if it feels wet it probabally is.

    Of course it's very obvious when you touch carpet and it's wet. Drywall is also fairly easy to tell, IF there's a lot of moisture. But I have found it difficult to discern subtle moisture content by feel alone. Maybe I just don't have the touch that others do.

    I can't tell you how many times I have had clients feel a basement block wall and said it "felt" damp, but checking it with a meter confirmed it was dry.

    For those of you that choose not to use a tool, all I can say is good luck. You can lead a horse to water.......... My way (using a moisture meter) isn't the only way, it's just the way I was taught, and have used for almost two decades.
    JF


  44. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Excellent thread, I simply rely on my visual conclusions to see if I should pull out the moisture meter. When I do, the client is happy to see the "tool" and it verifies or denies the presence of moisture. I do not include the moisture readings or even the language that I used a meter on the written report. Seems to lessen the liability. David


  45. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    25,317

    Default Re: MOISTURE METERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mortensen View Post
    I do not include the moisture readings or even the language that I used a meter on the written report. Seems to lessen the liability. David
    Using the moisture meter provides you with back up. Not including the meter readings throws that back up out the window.

    If you ever get into court, or get challenged in anyway, the only thing (I repeat, the *ONLY THING*) you have to back you up is your report.

    If it is not in the report, 'it did not happen that way' because you have nothing which states otherwise. Now, if you take a photo of the moisture meter pegged and put that in your report, or a photo of the moisture meter as 10% and put that in your report, you are covered ... it's in the report.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  46. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Ah So, Grasshopper...I see your point. I guess I'm just not confident enough in my moisture meter to rely on it if other visual signs do not point to wetness, such as staining, soft drywall, etc. I had a visual sign of moisture (damaged drywall) yesterday in a garage where the exhaust flue penetrated the roof, the meter said it was dry, but after I inspected the roof I could see the rubber boot was damaged and allowing periodic moisture to enter the home. I did not include the readings on my report since I was convinced it would leak again.
    I do see your point about having "proof in court" however. David


  47. #47
    Justin Watts's Avatar
    Justin Watts Guest

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I think all tools that assist inspectors are good for assessment purposes....... including moisture meters. However, I do not use one.

    Here is the reason..... Many mold specialists that I know have told me that they have to carry two of them, reason being you can often get a false positive. One meter says one thing, another may indicate another.

    If you see a moisture stain, or other obvious signs of "moisture intrusion" damage, why use a tool? Who cares if the leak is active or not. It needs to be further evaluated, and all inspectors should recommend destructive testing such as removing the drywall surface to examine the "source" of the leak to verify if it was repaired, sealed itself, etc. Also, additional water damage could be present behind a wall, etc. that would not be visible unless destructive testing was conducted.

    For this reason, I do not use a moisture meter... False positives, and if there are moisture stains, something should be completely investigated. Relying on one tool is not enough to protect yourself or your client...

    Just my thoughts...
    Orange County Home Inspectors, Certified Home Inspector, property inspectors, Huntington Beach Home Inspection, Laguna Beach and Santa Margarita Home Inspection Services


  48. #48
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    When I see a moisture stain in a house I check it with my Surveymaster in the ND mode. If I can't detect any difference in the moisture content at the stain vs. the surrounding areas I will typically write it up as a dry stain and advise them to ask the homeowner about the origin of that stain, but I wouldn't tell them they need to start ripping open the wall to find the source. Of course it depends where the stain is found.


  49. #49
    Justin Watts's Avatar
    Justin Watts Guest

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    Yes, I agree....I inform my clients to have the sellers explain the source or history of the water stain. Totally agree! Without opening up drywall, how do you know if there is not additional water damage to the framing, mold inside, etc. ????? I think destructive testing is key in any situation where there are suspicious water stains, especially when older plumbing lines are present, dilapidated roof structures, age of the home, improper drainage present, etc. The totality of conditions... is what I go by.

    I prefer to be on the side of caution, and if my clients do not decide to choose destructive testing, they will need to accept the liability if additional defects are present.... I don't want to take that gamble and be wrong!


  50. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    "The totality of conditions... is what I go by."

    I agree. If the stain is under a bathroom, below a window frame, ceiling/wall intersection at an exterior wall or any other high risk area I want to know more than my moisture meter may be able to tell me.

    I spent some time in the roofing business before I became an HI and sometimes leaks can occur from the exterior (roof & walls) during very windy conditions that don't appear any other time. Believe it or not, these are not necessarily construction defects. Sometimes the wind just blows things up, over and around things. For example it happens in attics around mushroom vents all the time.

    I do find the moisture meter helpful and use it constantly. I think most folks realize you can't run a moisture meter around every square inch of the house and I don't feel like I increasing my liability by moving beyond a visual inspection.

    When I find a loose toilet I check the perimeter. The meter can't tell me if there is no moisture present, but it can tell me if there is moisture. When I get a positive reading I let my clients know that we do have water migration and recommend they call a plumber to remove and inspect for damage. Then a carpenter (if necessary) to replace damaged areas, and the plumber to reset. If I get a negative reading I explain the limitations of the moisture meter and then recommend a plumber remove and reset the toilet, but also advise that there may be damage and the area should be inspected after the toilet has been removed.


  51. #51
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    I had a home inspector do water test on a stall shower. He put a plug in the center and ran the water. and when looking at other things. then came back to fine the bathroom flooded out. Well as a PEST INSPECTOR I was not able to ues my moisture meter dang it...

    Silly home inspector.

    Get 2 moisture meters and an Infrared Camera. Then call me in the morning.

    Have fun with everything you do.

    Best

    Ron
    Excellence Exterminating and Thermal Imaging


  52. #52
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
    Michael Greenwalt Guest

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    We have an inspector here in the area that uses a divining rod (???) you know, the ol wood stick like an inverted Y to find water/moisture. Darnedest thing I ever seen in an inspectors tool bag.
    Now his clients get a good show and an inspection I must admit.


  53. #53
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: MOISUTE METERS

    What school offers that kind of inspection training?

    Excellence Exterminating and Thermal Imaging

    Ron


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