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PE News: Benefits, Types, and Proper Use of Moisture Meters


PE NEWS: ALL ABOUT MOISTURE METERS! Click Here To Shop Our Moisture Meters.


PE Newsletter
Moisture Meters –
Benefits, Types, and Proper Use


Moisture meters are utilized by home inspectors, pest control operators and EIFS inspectors and many other inspectors for determining moisture intrusion into the structures they inspect. Moisture or the amount of moisture is the single most important factor affecting the integrity of building structures. Properly used, moisture meters allow inspectors to see behind or below surfaces to locate moisture, determine the amount of moisture and identify the source.
Benefits of Using Moisture Meters
Moisture meters can be used on a large variety of materials, such as wood, drywall, tile, plaster, insulation, siding and roofing material. They are used in determining the moisture content in these materials is high enough to lead to rot, mold, or decay, all of which are potential safety hazards. This application is typically used during a home or building inspection, but there are other uses.
They are also useful in determining if a home is suitable to live in again after flooding. Additionally, moisture meters are used to check the moisture levels in types of wood, to determine if the wood is dry enough to be installed, and subsequently stained or painted.
Types of Moisture Meters
There are essentially three types of moisture meters that can be used for testing moisture in building materials: Pin Meters, Pinless Meters, and combination units. There are specific advantages to using each of them.
Pin Meters
Pin Meters are aptly named due to the two pins extending from the meter. This invasive method of measuring moisture requires the two pins to be able to be inserted into wood or other building materials. Moisture is measured by detecting the electrical resistance between the two pins, and only at the depth the pins are driven to. The readings from a pin meter are very accurate, but the meter will leave two pinholes in the material. The pin meter is especially useful for determining whether a stain on a wall or ceiling is resulting from a still active leak. It can also easily test for moisture on the surface level of many building materials.
Pin meters are utilized most often to measure the levels of moisture in wood. However, because different types of wood possess different resistance properties, the meter must be adjusted to the correct species’ measuring range if able to do so, or a cross-reference chart will need to be consulted. Adjustments will also need to be made if other types of building materials are tested, such as drywall.
Pinless Meters
Pinless meters are non-invasive, and able to scan large areas quickly, using electromagnetic waves or radio waves to measure moisture. They work best if utilized on a fairly smooth surface, but cannot determine exactly where moisture might be: moisture is measured from ¾” – 4” below the surface of the material, depending upon the meter you are using.
Pinless meters are used often to check for leaks or moisture around the sides and base of a tub or shower, sinks, or other appliances such a dishwasher, and generally in the kitchen and bathroom areas, beneath the floor.
Combination Units
These units utilize both the invasive and non-invasive methods. You can use the pinless method to scan quickly for moisture, and then the pins if more accurate readings are required.
Proper Use of Moisture Meters
Regardless of which moisture meter you use, proper use and reading them accurately is key to determining the levels of moisture in building materials. It is important to know and understand what the acceptable levels of moisture are in specific types of material. Readings higher than 20% contribute to mold growth and cause wood to begin to decay.
Different areas of the country will also result in more moisture being found in building materials, thereby yielding different acceptable levels. The image below details the recommended moisture averages for different areas of the United States.

Moisture meters can also be affected by temperature, humidity, and conductive metals, so it is important to be aware of these factors when attmepting to take a reading.
Professional Equipment, providing inspection, electrical, HVAC, engineering and building professionals with the tools and testing equipment they need since 1987, carries an extensive line of moisture meters suitable for any purpose. Please visit our site and browse through our selection of moisture meters, which includes meters for building materials, industrial meters, marine moisture meters, and much more.
Additionally, we carry books and DVDs about moisture, mold, and moisture meters. With these reference materials, you can learn how moisture meters work, their many applications and the benefits of using moisture meters.

Protimeter Mini Moisture Meter

Item #: M829

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$169.00

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Allegro Bitrex? Respirator Fit Test Kit

Item #: M255PEQ

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Extech Wood Moisture Meter

Item #: M511-0200

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Wagner Extended Range Moisture Meter

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Sonin Rapitest Moisture Test Meter

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800.334.9291
PO Box 5197 Janesville, WI 53547-5197