Understanding Moisture Meters: A Guide for Homeowners

What Is A Moisture Meter?

A moisture meter, also called a moisture tester or damp meter, measures the percentage of water in different materials. It works by using two pins or probes that are inserted into the material being tested. The pins or probes send a small electrical current through the material, which measures its resistance to the electrical flow.

When the material is dry, it has high resistance to electrical flow, and when it is wet, it has low resistance to electrical flow. The moisture meter measures this resistance and displays the moisture content as a percentage on its screen.

Some moisture meters also have a color-coded scale to indicate the moisture levels in the material, with different colors representing different moisture levels.

It also has additional features such as temperature and humidity sensors, which can provide more accurate readings and help identify the source of excess moisture.

What is the use of a Moisture Meter in Leak Detection?

Moisture meters are used to detect leaks and water damage in buildings. By measuring the moisture content of walls, floors, and ceilings, homeowners can identify areas where water may be seeping in and causing damage.

water leak detection & repair company may use a moisture meter to confirm thier findings after using more advanced forms of leak detection technology.

What Are The Types of Moisture Meters?

There are two main types of moisture meters: pin-type and pinless. Pin-type moisture meters have two metal pins that penetrate the material to measure the moisture level. Pinless moisture meters use radio frequency signals to measure moisture levels in the material without damaging it.

There are also several categories according to which it is used for. 

  • Drywall moisture meters: These are pin-type or pinless moisture meters designed specifically for testing drywall and other building materials. They can help identify moisture damage in walls and ceilings, which can indicate the presence of leak pipes or other issues that need to be addressed.
  • Plant moisture meters: These are usually capacitance or TDR (Time-Domain Reflectometry) moisture meters that are designed to measure the moisture content of the soil. They can help gardeners and farmers determine when to water plants, as well as identify potential problems with soil drainage or water retention.
  • Food moisture meters: These are typically capacitance or infrared moisture meters designed to measure the moisture content of food products like fruits, vegetables, and grains. They can help ensure that food products are stored and transported under appropriate conditions to prevent spoilage or degradation.
  • Concrete moisture meters: These are typically resistance moisture meters that are designed to measure the moisture content of concrete and other building materials. They can help identify potential problems with moisture intrusion in buildings and structures, which can lead to mold growth or other issues.
  • Wood moisture meters: These are typically pin-type or pinless moisture meters that are designed to measure the moisture content of wood and wood-based materials like plywood and particleboard. They can help identify potential problems with moisture damage in wooden structures and furniture, as well as help woodworkers choose the best materials for their projects.

How To Use A Moisture Meter for Diagnosing A Leak

If you suspect a leak in your home, a moisture meter can help you locate the source of the problem. Here are some practical steps in checking a leak by using a moisture meter: 

Identify the suspected area of the leak

  • It could be a specific area with water damage or a general area of suspected moisture intrusion on a wall or ceiling.

Prepare the moisture meter

  • Depending on the type of moisture meter you are using, you may need to calibrate or adjust the settings to ensure accurate readings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific device.

Test the surface 

  • Use it to test the surface of the suspected area. Pin-type moisture meters require users to insert the pins into the surface, while pinless moisture meters simply place against the surface. Make sure to test several areas within the suspected area to get a more accurate reading.

Record the readings

  • Take note of the moisture readings from the moisture meter. Keep in mind that different materials may have different acceptable moisture levels, so consult industry standards or guidelines for the appropriate levels.
  • The usual moisture level for walls can vary depending on the type of wall and the environment in which it is located. Generally, walls in interior spaces should have a moisture content of less than 15%, while exterior walls should have a moisture content of less than 20%.

Interpret the results

  • Compare the moisture readings with the acceptable levels for the specific material under test. If the moisture levels are higher than acceptable, it could indicate the presence of a leak or moisture intrusion. 
  • However, it is important to note that it cannot identify the source of the moisture or the extent of the damage.

Investigate further

  • Use the moisture readings as a guide to help narrow down the suspected area of the leak, and investigate further to determine the source and extent of the damage. This may involve opening up walls or ceilings to inspect pipes or plumbing fixtures or hiring a professional to conduct a more thorough investigation.
  • By using a moisture meter to spot a leak, you can quickly identify areas of concern and take steps to address the problem before it causes more serious damage to the building.

Choose ADI To Detect Your Leak

If you’re in need of professional assistance to detect and repair leaks in your home or business, consider calling ADI, a trusted name in leak detection and repair services. 

Our highly trained technicians use the latest technology and techniques to accurately identify the source and extent of leaks. We provide comprehensive repair solutions to ensure full resolution of the problem.

Contact us today at 0800 731 3843 for a free consultation.

Moisture Meters FAQ’s

High moisture levels in a home can cause issues like mold growth, wood rot, and damage to building materials. Identifying and addressing areas of concern (such as leaks) can help homeowners prevent serious damage or health issues.

You should regularly test your home for moisture, especially if you have experienced water damage or live in an area with high humidity or frequent rain. Consult with industry standards or guidelines for recommended testing intervals for your specific situation.

They can be very correct when used correctly, but they can also give false readings if not used properly. For example, it may give inaccurate readings if the material tested is too dense, too cold, or too wet. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific moisture meter to ensure accurate readings.

While it can help identify areas of high moisture that may be conducive to mold growth, it cannot detect mold itself. If you suspect mold in your home, you may need to hire a professional to conduct mold testing and remediation.

The cost of it can vary widely depending on the type of meter and the features it offers. Basic pin-type moisture meters cost less than £16.09, while advanced models can reach up to a hundred pounds. You can buy them at home improvement stores, hardware stores, or online retailers.

Adrian Morgan

Adrain Morgan CIPHE RP RHP is the founder & Managing Director of ADI Pro Leak Ltd. Adrian is also the Head Plumbing, Heating & Leak Detection engineer at ADI Leak Detection.

Adrian CIPHE RP RHP is proud to be registered with the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, a Registered Plumber and a Registered Heating Professional.