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  1. #1
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    Default Interpreting Moisture Readings

    I purchased a surveymaster a few weeks ago and I wanted to get some guidance on how those more experienced with moisture meters use the readings in their report writing.

    If I see staining under a window with poorly installed vinyl siding on the outside I'm thinking water intrusion. The odor in the vicinity supported that notion. The readings with the surveymaster further support the suspicion that water is in the wall. There are no plumbing pipes in this wall.

    The readings dissipated to nothing 6-12 inches away from the staining both on the wall and the carpet.

    The easy answer is the surveymaster is confirming my suspicion, but I'm cautious about relying on this new tool and how to use the information this tool is providing.

    My instinct is too fall back on the "report what you see" mantra and in addition to what I would of written pre moisture meter also write something along the lines. "

    The moisture meter readings taken from the stained area showed an increase in relative moisture levels as compared to nearby unstained areas indicating the presence of water."

    Include the pictures below and call for discovery of the source and correction.

    What do others do ?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    I have the same meter Robert. In this situation, my report comments would be......

    "interior moisture penetration staining noted around and beneath _________ window - stained areas had elevated moisture levels when tested with an electronic moisture meter - repair leak source and replace any moisture damaged materials".

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3
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    Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I
    My instinct is too fall back on the "report what you see" mantra
    What do others do ?

    Thanks
    I'd report what I see and the results of the moisture meter. One pretty much confirms the other. All that's need now is to confirm the source of moisture, if possible.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Also, keep in mind that one of the chief uses of your meter is to confirm that there was no evidence of an active leak (for example in a stained area) at the time of inspection - many such a picture has made it into my reports as proof that a suspect area was at ambient on the date of inspection.

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

  5. #5
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Why not say something like this:
    I found a stain at _______. With a moisture meter I was able to confirm that this was an active leak. Then give your client advice on what needs to be done or what you normally say when you find a problem.

    That is about all you really need to say.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Be sure to calibrate your meter periodically as per manufactures instructions.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Robert,

    I think that you're on the mark by reporting relative readings rather than any numbers that the meter provides. I report that elevated moisture levels were measured. I generally do not use the word "leak" but rather simply raise a question as to why the conditions exist and suggest that things be checked out. People get the drift and are quite adapt at creating their own (wild) theories that will carry them forward. I prefer to stick with writing what I see and know. Since drawing premature conclusions can sometimes be inaccurate I let someone else do that.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Be sure to calibrate your meter periodically as per manufactures instructions.
    My report notes that absolute moisture measurements taken in the field are always subject to substantial error, and that I am reporting the approximate difference (or often, the lack of difference) between two areas. If I can't find a acceptable ambient as a control, I don't report a meter reading.

    I started taking that approach in my moisture intrusion work, where I am often reporting results of measurements in situations where I cannot directly observe the location where the probe is in contact with the material being measured, and now use in in in HI end of the business as well.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Thanks for the replies...some good ideas to help me refine my approach.

    Michael...question about your picture.

    Is that a homemade extension you made using the 6 inch probes? If so....can you share some details and or more pictures. Thanks.


  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Robert I use 2 Moisture meter along with an Infrared Camera. I never just trust one Moisture meter. See the PDF.

    Alway keep a back up and use it...

    If its wet say so. Take a photo of you meter and put that in your report.

    Best

    Ron

    Attached Files Attached Files

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Robert,

    That's a 36" probe, it's most often used as seen in the picture, to probe the underside of roof decks. I have them in various types and lengths up to 24'. Often , if I detect moisture, I run them in in tandem with a some sort of remote viewing device, I also have miniature radio transmitters I can fit to the end of the probes or camera and then locate form the other side of the roof or wall with a directional receiver.

    The construction method depends on the materials and use, that one is made of the sharpened brass rods individually insulated and them jacketed.

    I have a collection of these special purpose tools, and around a 75% success rate at identifying the source of leaks that have baffled others, including other investigators who use IR, using only minimally invasive techniques like these probes.

    It can be a lucrative business, but it's hard to get really good at it - water is perverse.

    The stuff I find below roof decks is pretty grim. The last picture is typical of the kind for problems I locate with the 36" probe. More than half the time when I do this sort of work I'm in and out in 2 hours: get a positive with a probe at the location of the stain which was the original concern, camera the underside of the deck to demonstrate it's condition, and then probe 2-6 other locations to demonstrate it's a systemic., not localized problem. (On not, if the clients are lucky, then you are chasing done the cause).

    The OEM 6" probes are mostly useful in 2x4" and 2x6" walls, either by drilling small holes or by looking for locations where you can slide in beside an electrical box or other wall penetration.

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  12. #12
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    Charlottesville, Va.
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Thanks for uploading the PDF Ron....nice graphic...I will be including the pictures of the mositure meter readings in my reports, and my text focused, as Eric mentioned, on the relative difference in the readings from the suspect location to nearby locations.


    Michael....I figured they were home made, because I thought I remembered you mentioning them in another thread. I've been thinking of mounting the 6 inch probes that came with my surveymaster on a shaft to more easily reach ceilings with...now you've got me brainstorming other ideas...thanks.


  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Interpreting Moisture Readings

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    My report notes that absolute moisture measurements taken in the field are always subject to substantial error,...
    Why are your moisture measurements subject to substantial error?

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

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