What is a moisture hydrometer?
A moisture hydrometer takes a quick reading of the moisture level in materials. This measurement allows building inspectors to find out if the moisture levels are appropriate. It’s an essential tool that is used in many industries, including woodwork, plumbing and flooring. Home and building inspectors use moisture meters to check that there is no damage to structures or potential problems caused by moisture build-up.
Moisture meters can detect the amount of water in a range of materials. These materials include:
There are two main types of water meters: pin and pinless. But what’s the difference? Well, a pin moisture meter is more quantifiable and fragile than a pinless meter. Whereas a pinless moisture meter provides faster but less accurate readings.
Portable pin-type moisture meters, such as FLIR’s MR55, feature two to four small steel probes. These probes are physically inserted into materials to effectively gauge moisture levels. They do so by using the principle of electrical resistance in various materials. Since water is a conductor and materials such as wood, cotton, gypsum, and hay are resistors, the more easily electricity flows through the material, the wetter it is. Pin moisture meters detect the circulation of current between the two probes. They then translate the level of resistance into a moisture content value. This type of meter is particularly strong at:
- testing moisture in uneven surfaces and loose-packed materials
- determining the distribution of moisture throughout a board
- proving a range of depth readings
- ensuring accurate and precise readings for wood, gypsum, insulation, and concrete
- providing instant measurements.
However, an advantage of pinless moisture meters is that there is no risk of the pin damaging material. But there is a catch. While the flat sensor integrated on the back of the meter is a non-invasive method, it only provides a relative moisture reading. To fully understand the measurement, it needs to be compared to a known dry sample of the same material.
So, how do pinless moisture meters work? Well, pinless moisture meters feature a sensor pad. This pad transmits an electromagnetic signal to ‘scan’ a sample of the material and assess its water levels. For these meters, it’s the fluctuations in wave movement data that establish the level of moisture present in a sample. The advantages of this type of moisture hydrometer include:
- takes less time to test large, flat surfaces (such as a floor)
- testing moisture in materials that you don’t want to damage
- easier to use than a pin meter
- excellent at conducting preliminary tests of concrete surfaces.
What are building inspection systems?
Now, what’s all of this got to do with building inspection systems Australia. If you want the long answer, you should check out the Australian standards for building inspections, produced by Standards Australia. But it’s OK if you don’t feel like reading through a long document – we totally understand! The key take away is that building inspections are very important, and that moisture meters are an essential part of any building inspection system!
A good building inspection system should always identify conditions that cannot be detected visually, and they should always include checking moisture levels. In short, building inspection systems evaluate the technical performance of existing buildings. There are three main parts to this:
- characterise the building to be inspected
- determine if there are defects in building elements and systems that primarily affect the building performance
- assess the severity and recommend maintenance actions.
What water meters should I use for building inspection systems?
Here at Revolution Industrial, we know that our customers can trust the high-quality nature of Teledyne FLIR’s moisture hydrometers. In this section, we’ll take you through a few of our favourites.
First off, let’s look at the FLIR MR55. This pin-based meter offers wireless connectivity for convenient readings from a mobile device via the FLIR Tools® Mobile app. FLIR’s MR55 is able to do so because it features Bluetooth wireless connectivity, making it a useful tool in any Bluetooth moisture hydrometer inspection system. The FLIR MR55 also contains a library of 11 material groups including wood and concrete, which allows the user to tune the meter to the appropriate test material. This feature improves the accuracy of moisture readings on the job.
Another tool for a Bluetooth moisture hydrometer inspection system is the FLIR MR59 ball probe moisture meter. The FLIR MR59 is a pinless meter with wireless connectivity, which offers the convenience to view live readings from a mobile device via the FLIR Tools® Mobile app. The benefits of the ball-shaped sensor are that it:
- covers a large area in a short time without making a mark
- measures into corners and around baseboards easily
- detects problems below the surface.
If you are looking for a type of pinless moisture meter, we recommend the FLIR MR277 building inspection system. The MR277 is the first FLIR building inspection system to combine the advantages of Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM) and our patented Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) with advanced environmental sensors to help you quickly locate, clearly identify, and easily document problems.
When should I start thinking about a bigger inspection system?
The time is now! According to the NSW government, these are the benefits of obtaining a thorough building inspection report:
- knowing in advance what the problems are
- using the information to negotiate a lower price for the property (you may have to pay to repair some of the problems)
- gaining specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time.
More specifically, if you’re looking for building inspection equipment that will complement a hydrometer, we recommend obtaining a thermal camera. Thermal cameras can help locate water and approximate the moisture extent. This is why meters like the FLIR MR176 combine thermal imaging and moisture measurement capabilities that can both locate and test for moisture. What’s the benefit of this? Essentially, it means that testing for moisture behind walls doesn’t have to require guesswork. A moisture meter with a thermal imager can guide you directly to the wet area and then provide the tools you need to assess the extent of the problem.
Still confused? Unsure about what equipment you need for a building inspection? No worries! We are experts in providing unrivalled information about industrial solutions. So contact us today, we’re here to help.