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  1. #1
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    Default Moisture Meters and Liability

    I am wondering how most of us use our moisture meters:

    Do you use it to find moisture issues by doing a survey OR

    Do you use it to confirm what you are visually seeing?


    I seem to recall in a liability seminar that if you do surveys and miss a wet spot you could be taking on additional liability however if you only pull the meter to confirm your visual inspection then your OK.

    //Rick

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    Rick Bunzel
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    On a Home Inspection I just use it to confirm or to check a suspect area (Protimeter SurveyMaster with both pins and subsurface scanner). For an actual moisture survey/investigation I used to do a grid pattern to map levels; now I use infrared as primary survey tool with meter to quantify.

    Mark Fisher
    Allegany Inspection Service - Cumberland MD 21502 - 301-722-2224
    Home Inspections, Mold Testing, Thermal Imaging

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I am wondering how most of us use our moisture meters:

    Do you use it to find moisture issues by doing a survey ...
    Rick,

    I am not aware of *anyone* who uses their moisture meter and scan the entire house ... Yikes! ... that would horribly time consuming.

    If one were to do that, one would be far better off buying an infrared camera.

    Even home inspectors who may make it a practice to scan certain areas at all inspections are not doing a scan, they are confirming what past history and their intuition tells them.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    To clarify a bit - no, never whole house, but sometimes a full below grade section of foundation wall. Simple drawing, marked off in loose grid, marked as low. medium, or high. Took half an hour or so. Now 5 mins with IR.

    Again, this would be for a moisture survey/assessment, meaning the client already had some reason for calling me. Of course I'd look around for sources first and pretty much would know where to look, but I'd do the grid which usually would confirm my suspicions and give me good back-up for my conclusions.

    Mark Fisher
    Allegany Inspection Service - Cumberland MD 21502 - 301-722-2224
    Home Inspections, Mold Testing, Thermal Imaging

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    I use my IR camera to survey and my moisture meter for confirmation

    Darrul Stocks
    Stocks Home Inspection
    (313) 377-6967
    Stocks Home Inspection Service - Home Inspector


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    I have a Survey Master

    1. I use it to confirm if water stains are wet, and therefore active.
    2. Will randomly sample basement walls where I suspect there could be hidden leakage.
    due to poor site grading, exterior foundation cracks, stains, mould.
    3. Additional liability is a possiblity should you miss an area, however liability is not automatic unless as a seasoned inspector missed clues and did not explain the ramifications, such as poor site grading, downspout placement, other staining, client stated that they were/are most concerned with basement leakage.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    I use my moisture meters to confirm what I'm seeing or suspect. A typical home inspection or pretty much any type of inspection is around 50% knowledge, 25% visual, 20% science and 5% electronic.

    You see that the wall has a different appearance, you know that the chimney is on that wall and the flashing looked like it needed work. You then confirm with a moisture meter that the wall is wet.....

    I do not see any additional liability for using a moisture meter during an inspection but I do see an increase of liability for not using or even owing a good moisture meter or two, or three or even four or more!

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 08-14-2012 at 06:11 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Let me clarify on what I mean by "survey".

    Some inspectors are routinely surveying below grade walls or floors even though there are no visible signs.


    I am of the group that doesn't pull my Tramex Moisture Encounter unless I am seeing issues.

    I don't do surveys unless hired to find water intrusion issues. Even then I will also have my Delmhorst pin meter to confirm what the Tramex is showing.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Let me clarify on what I mean by "survey".

    Some inspectors are routinely surveying below grade walls or floors even though there are no visible signs.


    I am of the group that doesn't pull my Tramex Moisture Encounter unless I am seeing issues.

    I don't do surveys unless hired to find water intrusion issues. Even then I will also have my Delmhorst pin meter to confirm what the Tramex is showing.

    //Rick
    I have never really heard of anyone doing a survey like that with a normal home inspection. If they did I would not say what I did unless I found a problem. Still do not see an increase in liability....

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I am wondering how most of us use our moisture meters: Do you use it to confirm what you are visually seeing?
    //Rick
    Since moisture meters can give false readings I'm sometimes hesitant to go the "confirmation" route. If anything they can further suspicions.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Since moisture meters can give false readings I'm sometimes hesitant to go the "confirmation" route. If anything they can further suspicions.
    False interpretations, perhaps. Like any tool or testing equipment, the user needs to know its proper use and limitations. Sometimes all it can provide is support for a general 'higher then surrounding area' type statement. The only time I report actual percentage readings is with direct pin contact to wood, as part of a mold/moisture survey.

    I also don't see how using a meter can increase liability unless misused or poorly reported.

    Mark Fisher
    Allegany Inspection Service - Cumberland MD 21502 - 301-722-2224
    Home Inspections, Mold Testing, Thermal Imaging

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    There's what I tell clients, in writing, and again verbally at the start of every home inspection:

    "This is a visual inspection of the property, limited to defects which are “readily visible”. I have some tools such as an infrared cameras and moisture meters that sometimes allow me to make an informed guess about the nature of hidden conditions present behind interior and exterior surfaces. However in the time available for a property inspection it's not possible for me to make use of them to observe the entire structure. Instead I am guided by readily visible conditions at interior and exterior surfaces to determine where to use them, and in the time available it's not possible to use them in every situation where they could conceivably provide additional information.

    If these tools allow me to provide more information to my client that I could have otherwise this is “value added” to the inspection. However, this additional information is “above and beyond” the scope of a property inspection as defined by trade associations and by the Illinois State standards of practice, which is limited to visual observation."

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    I am wondering, can a moisture meter (ex. Protimeter Survey master) non-evasively sense moisture through ceramic/porcelain tile (ex. tub surround)?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolas Stoehr View Post
    I am wondering, can a moisture meter (ex. Protimeter Survey master) non-evasively sense moisture through ceramic/porcelain tile (ex. tub surround)?
    Yes. Using the moisture meter on any substrate, you need to take comparison readings. Any areas that read higher than the majority are indicators of something different behind that surface. Remember tho that you may have just located some metal or other conductive material, not necessarily moisture.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Moisture Meters and Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolas Stoehr View Post
    I am wondering, can a moisture meter (ex. Protimeter Survey master) non-evasively sense moisture through ceramic/porcelain tile (ex. tub surround)?
    Actually that is what the SM is best at doing, finding moisture under tiles. Just be sure the tiles do not have a matalic glaze.

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

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