Oculi. Headlights. Call them what you may, but our eyeballs are our #1 tool.
Visual inspection is an integral part of every inspection we perform. A qualified inspector knows where roof flashing is needed to keep a home dry, where caulking should and should not be applied and knows the signs of moisture and where moisture issues occur. While a visual survey will help identify where problems may exist, it won’t tell you if there is moisture in the walls. A probe test is still required to accurately measure moisture levels and determine if cracks or stains are symptoms of trouble lurking.
The moisture meter. It’s to our inspectors as a stethoscope is to a doctor: it will confirm suspicions, rule out diagnosis and get us pointed in the right direction to give you peace of mind.
The protimeter is the only tool that accurately measures moisture content in materials. Depending on what we are assessing, we can probe from the exterior or interior through two very small holes, which we will seal up with a color matching caulk. Unless you know we were there, you won’t know we were there, but we will be able to tell you what moisture levels you have in your home. Probing also allows us to perform a damage assessment of the materials – critical in determining the basis for a claim and in developing a scope of necessary repairs.
Simply, a hygrometer measures humidity, but with better accuracy than your grandmother on a hot Midwest summer day.
High humidity affects more than your ability to breathe in July or how cold “cold” feels. When combined with areas in a home where air can escape, it can wreak havoc on the structure of your home and/or serve as a source for mold to thrive. We can measure with a hygrometer to determine if humidity is the culprit behind your grief. This is also the primary tool in our holster when conducting concrete slab relative humidity (RH) testing.
These thermal imaging devices are, hands down, the best way to find insulation voids in walls and attic spaces that can lead to condensation and damage. How are they for detecting moisture, you ask? Not that great.
Infrared technology detects heat loss, nothing more. When put to use by an experienced technician, it is a very effective tool for finding areas in a building that allows air to flow from the inside out, or vice versa. Known as air-bypass, this can lead to moisture from the air condensing on the cold side of the wall cavity – not good. What infrared cannot do, however, is determine how much moisture is present or whether the materials in the area have become structurally compromised as a result. If you have ice dams or suspect that your brother’s cousin’s roommate’s uncle might have cut corners insulating your home, this fancy tool will come in quite handy. But if you’re concerned about moisture in your walls, an infrared camera won’t ever be our tool of choice.
The borescope: effectively a flashlight and camera combo on the end of a flexible hose used to peek inside dark wall spaces. Getting eyes inside the wall is only half the battle, though.
A borescope is a verification tool with limited capability due, in part, to its small viewing area, which makes water damage assessment difficult. Also, if there isn’t access (i.e., a hole in the wall) where we need to look, we will have to create one. It is worth noting that, in most cases, electrical outlets are too far from a potential point of moisture entry to be a viable access point; meaning, the use of a borescope at the outlets won’t yield any findings unless the damage is quite pervasive. Bottom line: probing is the only way to accurately measure and assess moisture levels and damage.