Hidden moisture can bring damage and health-related problems when left on its own. Moisture, for one, can result in mold and mildew. And as everyone knows, molds can cause respiratory problems. Aside from health problems, moisture can also cause structural problems where floors, roof, and wall can be permanently damaged. Unfortunately, detecting moisture is not as straightforward, and as such, it would be best to invest in a moisture meter. But how does a moisture meter work? What types are available? Here are some basics about the tool.
What Is A Moisture Meter?
Arguably, not everyone is familiar with a moisture meter and how it helps and works.
A moisture meter is a tool for measuring the percentage of water in a particular material or substance such as wood, concrete, and drywall, to name a few. Detecting moisture early on is essential in preventing any damage. After all, high moisture content can progressively destroy a material. Just think of your wooden wall that has hidden moisture. Over time, the moisture will soften the wood until it needs to be replaced.
How Does A Moisture Meter Work: The Three Basic Kinds
There are three basic types of moisture meters, namely the pin-type, pinless and the all-in-one. These meters have their differences, but they all have indicator scales and provide the moisture content in percentage. Understanding how does a moisture meter work begins by knowing the difference between these three basic moisture meters.
The Pin-Type Moisture Meter
The pin-type, as the name suggests have pins, which are pushed into the material being tested. The meters then assess how much resistance exists in electrical current to know how much moisture the material contains. The resistance determines the presence of moisture.
Using a pin-type meter has many advantages. For one, the two pins of the tool allow for the examination of both the shell and the inside depths of the material being tested. Pin-type meters produce reliable readings and can also measure uneven surfaces.
This kind of moisture meter is also simple to use as one only needs to push the pins into the material. Plus, the pins are easily replaceable and available on the market.
There are, however, disadvantages in using the pin-type tool. For one, it can only measure moisture in between its two pins. These pins are also easily breakable. Plus, using this kind of meter can damage the surface as the pins will create pinholes.
The pin-type moisture meter is ideal for restoration experts, contractors, woodworkers, and other construction professionals.
The Pinless Moisture Meter
The pinless moisture meter works quite differently from the pin-type. It reads the fluctuations of the electromagnetic radio waves rather than measure the resistance. This type uses a sensor plate rather than a pin to detect moisture.
The pinless meters have a number of advantages. For one, it can quickly scan big areas. Using it is easy as well. One simply needs to press the sensor plate against the materials to measure moisture content, lift the tool and repeat the measurement. Given its speed in assessing the moisture, it can collect many data and calculate the average result. The pinless type will also not leave holes in the materials.
The pinless moisture meter can even be calibrated based on the wood species being tested.
There are also a handful of disadvantages in using the pinless type. For starters, it may not be the ideal tool for measuring small or uneven surfaces since there won’t be enough space for the tool’s sensor plate.
This kind of meter can only scan a fixed depth. This means that if the material examined is too thick or thin, then the pinless meter cannot determine the exact source of the moisture accurately. It cannot also be used in surfaces or materials with metals given that metal objects will always interfere with the electromagnetic waves the pinless type sends out.
Plus, the results can be altered if there is moisture on the surface of the material. This means a moist outer surface can also indicate high moisture content of the interior of the material even if there is none.
Since the pinless type provides quick results, it is best used by those who scan big areas regularly such as flooring contractors and restoration experts.
The All-In-One Moisture Meter
As the name suggests, the all-in-one moisture meter combines the functions and capabilities of the pinless and the pin-type. This means it can be used to identify one problem area or a large area, then be used to point exactly where the moisture is.
For example, a flooring contractor can use the pinless meter of the all-in-one to check if there is moisture on the floor of a particular room. The flooring contractor then uses the pin-type option to determine where the exact moisture is located on the floor.
The Long Insulated Contact Pins
All three moisture meter can detect moisture content with limited depth. However, in some cases, detecting deeper moisture is necessary, and none of the three types would be adequate to use.
In instances where the testing has to be deeper than the depth capability of a moisture meter, it would be best to obtain and use long insulated contact pins. Using such would require drilling into the surface so that the long contact pins can be inserted. The insulation of the pins is necessary to provide accurate moisture content reading and avoid a false one.
Detecting Moisture Content Is Easy
Moisture cannot be avoided entirely. This is why it is necessary to detect the moisture content to prevent damage and health problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of moisture meters on the market.
There are three kinds of moisture meters to choose from depending on one’s needs. Those who need to find the exact location of the moisture should get the pin-type meter while those who need to scan a large area or space is better off with a pinless type. On the other hand, those who require the functions of both the pin-type and the pinless will do well with the all-in-one moisture meter.