The Many Tools Of A Water Damage Restoration Technician

Non-Penetrating vs Penetrating Moisture Meter

For the average run of the mill woodworking operation, you have an option of two types of moisture meters available. On one hand, you have penetrating moisture meters and on the other, you have non-penetrating moisture meters. Penetrating meters measure the electrical resistance or conductance of the wood substance. Penetrating meters incorporate two pin electrodes which are driven into the wood fibers and directly measure electrical resistance or conductivity.

The second type of moisture meter relies on the dielectric properties of wood. The meter uses two pads which serve as rubber electrodes that transmit and receive a signal when pressed into the wooden substance. The pad type moisture meter is non-penetrating in nature and requires only surface contact with the wood to obtain a reading. The non-penetrating meter creates a low-frequency electrical wave between the two pads and measures the electrical properties of the wood, similar to the invasive penetration meter.

Find The Moisture

Locating high moisture within buildings is essential in locating leaks that may not be visible to the naked eye. Moisture content is measured in the same manner as wood and displayed in Wood Moisture Equivalent, or WME. WME is the theoretical moisture content that the substance would contain if it were wood. Moisture meters are used to measure the percentage of water in any given substance. This information can and will be used to determine if the material in question is ready for use or if it’s surprisingly wet, dry, or otherwise in need of further inspection. Products made out of wood and paper are very sensitive to their moisture levels. Physical properties are strongly affected by moisture content and a high moisture content sustained for a long period of time may deteriorate a material. Newly-cut logs can have a moisture content of 80% or more, depending on the tree.

Dry It Out

Wood shrinks, splits, twists around or just changes shape as it dries. Therefore, most wood is thoroughly dried before being used. Though the air-drying technique is the most commonly known method, it is also considerably slower than using a tool, which is what a water technician would do, especially in the case of housing. Did you know that in most parts of the United States, the minimum moisture content that can be obtained in air drying is about 12 to 15 percent? Building inspectors, carpenters, hobbyists, other woodworkers, and much more are often required to have moisture meters. The moisture content reading can also help in planning a project design that will accommodate future changes in the dimensions caused by changes in relative humidity.


The amount of overall shrinkage lumber will undergo in the drying process varies from wood species to wood species. Woods such as mahogany, are less prone to distortion caused by changes in moisture content. Woods with a high ratio of tangential/radial, such as white pine and certain species of oak. For wood that is used in making furniture, wood floors, or during the construction of any building project, the ideal state is one of equilibrium moisture content (EMC). EMC means that the wood is in balance with the relative humidity in its surrounding environment, and is therefore neither gaining or losing in moisture content. In reality, however, it is almost impossible for an environment to keep a constant fixed relative humidity, and some degree of dimensional change along with seasonal changes in relative humidity is to be expected.


A hygrometer is a tool used by water technicians designed for measuring the water vapor in a given atmosphere. Humidity measurement tools usually rely on the measurements of some other quantity such as temperature, pressure, mass or an electrical change in a substance as moisture is absorbed. By thorough calibration and calculation, these measured quantities can lead to a measurement of humidity levels in the atmosphere. Most modern electronic devices nowadays use the temperature of condensation, or changes in electrical resistance to measure the humidity differences in the atmosphere. The first hygrometer was invented by Leonardo Da Vinci all the way back in the 1480’s. Then a contemporary version of the hygrometer was created by Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1755.


A dehumidifier is a semi-common household appliance that reduces the level of humidity in the air, hence the name. Usually for either health or comfort reasons or maybe to get rid of that musty stench. Large dehumidifiers are also used in commercial buildings like indoor ice rinks to control the humidity level. The sole purpose of dehumidifiers is to extract water from the conditioned air. Most portable dehumidifiers are equipped with a condensate collection receptacle. These usually with a float sensor that detects when the collection receptacle is full. This is to shut off the dehumidifier and prevent an overflow of collected water. In humid environments, these buckets will typically fill up with water in 8 to 12 hours. They may need to be manually emptied and replaced several times per day to ensure a continuous operation.

Ionic Membrane Dehumidifier

There are some designs that dispose of the excess water in a vapor form rather than a liquid form. These types of dehumidifiers are known as ionic membrane dehumidifiers and an ionic membrane dehumidifier.  The solid polymer electrolyte membrane is a low power, steady-state dehumidifier for enclosed areas where maintenance is difficult. SPE systems generally do not have high dehydration capacities, but the process is maintenance free. The process also requires very little electrical energy to operate. Using no moving parts, these qualities make the ionic membrane silent in operation. They’re also very reliable over long periods of time.

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