Finding Moisture in Water Damaged Homes

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Any time you call upon the services of a water damage company like us, one of our first steps is to determine the full extent of the loss. That’s not as easy as you might think. In fact, without sophisticated equipment, it wouldn’t be possible at all. Water is extremely invasive and deceptive. It can move through walls, over and under floors, and cause a lot of damage, almost all of which you can’t detect by just surveying the property with your eyes.


How We Find Water Damage


When we send out an emergency restoration crew, the first order of business is to provide you with a good faith estimate. In order to do that, we obviously need to understand the scope of the work that needs to be performed. And in order to do that, we need to know what areas have been affected by the water damage as well as the appropriate course of action depending on the surface type of that area. When our water restoration company shows up, we make sure we have all of the equipment necessary to handle your loss immediately. There are 2 primary types of moisture detection equipment we use to find water damage in properties:


Moisture Meters


pin-type-moisture-meterA moisture meter is designed to measure the moisture content of an area. 0 is completely dry and 100 is fully saturated, meaning it’s not possible to be any more wet than it is. There are three types of moisture meters: pin-type, pinless, and all-in-one. You can see an example of a pin-type meter on the right, which is typically used to measure moisture content on wood floors, drywall, concrete, tile floors and painted surfaces. It works by measuring electrical resistance between the pin points. The greater the resistance, the more moisture in the surface. Pinless moisture meters work by measuring electrical impedance and are most useful when trying to determine the amount of moisture behind wall tiles or in the sub-surface of flooring.

Moisture meters play a vital role throughout the water damage restoration process, not only during the initial moisture identification phase, but also during the drying phase. Every home has a ‘dry standard’. The dry standard means the normal amount of moisture present in a surface that is considered dry. ‘What?’ you ask…we’ll explain. Every surface has some amount of moisture in it. Your hardwood floors, your carpets, walls, cabinets…you name it, they all hold some moisture naturally and that’s a good thing. So during the water damage cleanup process, our job is to dry every wet surface such that they have the same moisture content as the same surface type in a dry area of your home. In order to do that, we will use our moisture meters each day to determine how productive our drying efforts are as well as to know when our job is done!


Thermal Imaging Cameras


thermal-imaging-water-damageThermal imaging cameras are a great way for customers to actually see the wet areas in their home. You’ve probably seen images from these cameras before, but they visually indicate temperature changes, such that wet areas and dry areas show as a different colors. While these cameras aren’t useful in actually determining the moisture content in surfaces, they’re a great way for our emergency water restoration service technician to show you where the water has travelled and where we will need to focus on our drying efforts.


What Should I Know About Moisture In My Home?


If you have suffered water damage in your home, there’s a couple of things we want to stress to you:

– Finding the moisture should always be done by a certified water restoration technician. Hopefully we’ve described the efforts we take to discover moisture and the advanced equipment necessary to complete that task. It’s simply not something you can do on your own if you aren’t trained properly.

toxic-mold– If the surfaces in your home are not (quickly) returned to its dry standard, you will end up with black mold. Black mold is not covered by your insurance company and is extremely expensive to remove properly from a home. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you can effectively find and remove moisture from your home only to find black mold growth. It’s a costly mistake you’ll regret! In fact, it’s not unusual for mold remediation jobs to cost more than $10,000. Even worse, if you can’t afford to get it fixed, but the home is making you sick and you want out, the presence of mold must be disclosed to potential buyers and can make your property virtually un-sellable.

If you have found a moisture intrusion in your home of any kind, we can not stress this enough: call a certified water damage repair company immediately to assess the situation. It could be a very small problem, or it could be a lot worse than you think. Only a certified technician will have the equipment and skills necessary to fully assess your property so that you know what has happened and what you need to do in order to get everything fixed properly!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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