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Last Post 05/26/2008 11:29 PM by  sumomk
Moisture Probe
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ekraft
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05/09/2008 12:04 AM

    For years, I have used a pin-moisture probe that is about 18 inches long and beeps when things are "wet".  Is sensitive enough to pick up moisture in skin.  However, it is about on its last leg.   I would like to know what types other adjusters use; pin or pin-less and what is recommended.....

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    cowboy26995
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    05/09/2008 11:44 AM
    Try the best out there the Tramex Survey Encounter great for moisture mapping on large loss and extremely precise.
    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    katadj
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    05/09/2008 3:13 PM
    MY choice is the survey master Protomiter with the 4'extension wand.You can walk the floor and check the walls,floors ceiling etc.

    It also comes with an EIFS probe for up to 8" and you can remove the cover and use it as a pin probe.

    Expensive, (About 1K, when i got it) but worth every cent.
    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new... Albert Einstein"
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    Ray Hall
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    05/09/2008 6:48 PM

    I have a lot of respect for all three of the above posters/adjusters. I have never had a carrier ask me to purchase one to do my job . I am not sure a moisture meter is required on ever moisture claim. Ever storm claim is subject to water from above or below and most of the regular claims are water related. I invite all readers to give their opinion. Are the training schools (Vale Tech) teaching this is required today ? Are staff adjusters expected to purchase the rather expensive meter and put it on their expense account?

    Drywall and structual lumber is very forgiven when it comes to clean water. At what point in each meter reading is the remove zone? Since three have been named, are they all calibrated the same way? How do you factor in the time of occurance and the time of the sample reading. IS ANY National Assoc. of General Contractors papers written on this tool. I want to hear more, please give us all good data to reach a good conclusion.

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    cowboy26995
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    05/09/2008 7:35 PM

    Survey Master sells for $585.00 about the same price as the Tramex. In reply to Ray although never been asked by a carrier to provide one they are beneficial. We were asked to moisture map condo complexes and as such the better the instrument the better the result. At 0.25 a sq ft you can understand that moisture mapping a 20 storey building is quite a worthwhile return on the investment. The Tramex also is beneficial on roof membranes.

    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    BobH
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    05/10/2008 12:07 AM
    Posted By Eric Kraft on 05/09/2008 12:04 AM

    I would like to know what types other adjusters use; pin or pin-less and what is recommended.....

    For 18 years I used a pin type, got it after about the 3rd property loss because I did not want the Water Suckers to have better equipment, or tell me what was or wasn't still wet.  After that, I felt "blind" if I didn't bring my moisture probe with me.   Ray is right about Cat losses, usually it's too late by the time you get there to have the probe be of much use.  But on daily claims I consider them vital.

    We had a thread on this subject recently, right after 2 claims where I realized I needed a better meter.

    Here is my old "pin" type moisture probe.  I knew it was wet here, this is where the refrigerator ice maker line failed.

    Around the corner, wasn't sure if the water went that far, my probe confirmed water trapped behind the base.  Think about it, my photo with probe says that I determined it was wet.  You don't see stains, the bullnose isn't screwed up like it was closer to the source, so this is the only way to say it in a photo that it is damaged.

    But I had no idea water was trapped under the tile (on a wood sub-floor deck) because I didn't have a non-penetrating moisture meter.

    Other side of the wall from the fridge, my probe found no moisture at the base, my prelim report said no damage to this room.

    This is the same room, after an emergency service contractor that I respect determined moisture was under the surface, using a Tramex Encounter Plus non-penetrating moisture meter.  It's $355 at Amazon.com and is the lower priced one with analog needle, but is an upgrade of a dependable model.

    Closer in, look at the water ring on the wood sheathing. 

    Closer in.  I had no freak'in idea the water had run out this far, under the wood floor.  Despite my "pin type" meter I was truly blind, and this could have been a liability for ME PERSONALLY in terms of mold remediation that would not have been covered by the carrier (low limit).  The Emg Services contractor actually saved me from embarrassment and potential financial loss, E&O type issues because it was aggressively dried out before turning into a petri dish.  Which isn't covered anymore...

    The wood sub-floor had water trapped under the hardwood finished floor AND THE TILE FLOOR in the kitchen, all the way out to here.  It has a water ring, and this was not an exaggerated claim by the contractor.  That water ran under the tile all the way down the hall at the end of the photo, and tile had to be pulled from a hall bathroom.  The non-penetrating meter found where it was, and they just pulled flooring as no other way to dry it.  This thing was leaking for 4 days at close of escrow when the fridge was pulled by seller (valve not fully closed) and the new buyer was litigious.  Believe me, this would have been ugly if someone didn't have a non-penetrating meter.  My "pin-type" would not tell me what was happening under the tile and hardwood floor.  It let me down.

    People that own and use non-penetrating meters tend to rely on them, and don't even reach for the pin-type anymore.  And it doesn't leave the "snake bite" holes in the wall (if you do that do dry areas that won't need paint it is embarrassing)

     

    Bob H
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    BobH
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    05/10/2008 12:47 AM
    Posted By Ray Hall on 05/09/2008
    I have never had a carrier ask me to purchase one to do my job . I am not sure a moisture meter is required on every moisture claim...

     Gotcha, and I have never been asked to purchase one.  The longer I do this, the more I realize that the people I report to often don't know anything about estimating or scoping, and rely on us to make recommendations.

    Here's the 2nd recent loss where I should have had a non-penetrating meter, and was glad the contractor had one.

    To the right of the failed dishwasher, one of my pint type meters confirms the floor is still wet. Note the Tramex meter on the shelf.

    This Tramex meter is slammed all the way over to the right.  Then I looked more closely at the "melamine" coated particle board, and sure enough it was starting to bubble.  I jammed my "pin-type" meter in there and confirmed with the beeps what this meter found instantly by just setting it on the shelf.  Water was under the cabinets, and maybe you could inject air to dry them - but these boxes were toast.  You can imagine what the uncoated particle board on the other side of this would look like after 3 more weeks.  The place would start to smell like an old hotel, and this was the home of an affluent doctor.

    8 feet to the left of the dishwasher, I could see the water damage, and that damage may look the same 2 years from now.  This meter is telling us that there is still water present, that is the issue.

    The needle is pegged over to the right

    The real value of these non-penetrating meters is to determine THE EXTENT of how far the water traveled, when it is beyond the obvious damage.

    I would have said to pull the floor to here, but the water had traveled beyond where I could see it.  As it turned out, the new flooring didn't match as the old flooring had aged and darkened, so we had to do the whole room anyway.  But the scope of flooring to pull for emergency services was the honest truth, and if you don't have good meters you are to some extent going in blind.  I look back at the years I could have used one of these, checking along toe-kicks of cabinets to "see" where it is wet behind. 

    My Disto laser meter was one of those tools I wish I had 10 years earlier, and this one is gonna be like that too.  It's $355 at Amazon.com and is the lower priced one with analog needle, but is an upgrade of a dependable model.

    Marc was using one for large condo loss, and those (more expensive) digital ones will plug the results into a spreadsheet.  That creates a permanent record, and serves as "memory" of the areas you are checking.  Most of us don't need that feature, and when I was asking people I know that use these, they like the econo- analog needle because it is so simple and visual.  I know 4 contractors in my area that use this model, seems to be the sweet spot for lower priced non-destructive meters.  I'm glad this tread came up, I am going to order one of these right now.  I meant to do it earlier.  People that don't have any meter at all, if they are balking at $355 should get a "pin-type" meter, you can find them pretty cheap.  Personally, I will spend money on tools that I need for work faster than Sh*t out of a goose.

    Bob H
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    Davidad1
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    05/10/2008 10:44 PM
    I have always used a moisture meter with a needle and probing pins. In the beginning the general contractor I was working for did some minor drying and I was certified in water damage by IICRC . Before as some of you call them the water sucker companies became common place and mold became a problem. I used it to determine where the water went and when it was dry. I like the meter type to tell me how wet it is and not just beep.. I was just given one like Bob H has that looks like a shot gun that only beeps.. Have not used it yet, but not real fond of those type. I also have a pinless type with a meter. I also use them to infom the insured's where the water is, alot think they can put there hand on the wall or floor and think it is wet. I test it and let them know whether it is or not it is wet ,of course that is if the water guys have not been there yet and demo'd the place up.
    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    BobH
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    05/10/2008 11:37 PM

    Posted By David Dickerson on 05/10/2008 10:44 PM
    ... I like the meter type to tell me how wet it is and not just beep...

     

    Hi Dave, I know you do restoration work, and most of us here are adjusters.  I just have to say, on the thread of these moisture meters, that I firmly believe they help me and the restoration contractor get on the same sheet of music.

    The claim above was rather expensive, and I was able to make some significant adjustments to what the contractor first proposed (he included the dishwasher area as cabinet replacement, painting the total SF of the Kitchen despite large missing wall that opened to the living room, and cabinet-back-splash areas that aren't painted, pair of large sliders, etc. 

    It is what it is, and accurate measurements, knowing what is wet and what isn't help establish a meeting of the minds.

    Here's the water damaged hardwood floor removed, a bit farther that was visibly damaged because the water ran underneath along the slab.

    Dishwasher (source of water) pulled, new cabinets, flooring pulled, granite counter cracked when removed, this was an expensive loss.

    Bob H
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    Davidad1
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    05/11/2008 2:48 AM
    Bob
    I could not agree more with getting on the same page..

    A good estimator knows you have to pull out all openings and areas you are not painting... There are estimators and guestamators in the reconstruction field ..... The estimator makes music the other only play sour notes....

    Too bad it was not up here. We repair those in place all the time. It usually is after mold abatement and one of the better water guys supports the counters in place and leaves the face frames and removes the boxes and our in house cabinet guy rebuilds the boxes. Good as new and cabinets look like they were never damaged .

    Repair before replace....
    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    BobH
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    05/11/2008 12:14 PM
    Posted By David Dickerson on 05/11/2008 2:48 AM
    ...We repair those in place all the time. ...and one of the better water guys supports the counters in place and leaves the face frames and removes the boxes and our in house cabinet guy rebuilds the boxes. ....

    Yeah, I have seen that done - and this one was sort of a "hybrid" where they saved the face frame and doors (to match the uppers etc.) but asserted the need to yank the counter and have the boxes rebuilt by a sub off-site.

    I had another one with a U-shaped solid surface counter that was huge, and couldn't get anyone to agree to do what you proposed.  So a little R. O. leak grew to a $35,000 kitchen remodel, matching issues, replace all cabs, counter, back-splash, and it was another hardwood floor.  The homeowners contractor was a "new house builder" type (not water damage restoration) and talking down to me, like only a handyman would consider trying to prop up the counter, pull the face frames and door temporarily, and replace the water damaged panels of the boxes.  I knew he was wrong, but that is what the claim eventually settled for.

    I compare it to engine rebuilding.  I'm old enough to remember grinding valves, and rebuilding a cylinder head.  Now it is just "R&R this and that".

    Bob H
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    Davidad1
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    05/11/2008 1:34 PM
    I have a claims adjustor from one of the direct repair pograms we are on asked me Friday to go look at a loss where one of the other DRP contractor's wants to pull the cabinets/ counters to repair a damaged cabinet. She told him my company does this all the time in place, so she asked me to look at and let her know if it is possible.
    .When you only do insurance work you develop ways to get the job done and along the way get repeat business from carriers who know we do this work that another contractor does not have the ability to do . If we did not have the cabinet guy we have we would not be able to do this type of repair either. This repair works well in older tract homes , it gets harder with the prefinished type of cabinets due to the finishes applied at the factory as the stains are hard to match for side panels etc unless the manafacturer is known...
    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    sumomk
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    05/26/2008 11:29 PM

    I could talk about this subject all day, and, then, some. With 14 years "hands-on experience as a restoration contractor and 7 years as an adjuster, I will try and provide some key points to consider.  This is a long response, but I think that you will find it helpful.

    Restoration Viewpoint

    I always consider these three companies for moisture meters: Dri-Eaz (one of the largest manufacturers of drying equipment and restoration eductation) at www.Dri-Eaz.com, Tramex (one of the oldest moisture meter companies) at www.tramexltd.com, and Delmhorst (another long term manufacturer of moisture meters) at www.delmhorst.com.

    1) Dri-EazThe Hydrosensor is a must have tool (cost from $140-$170).  The difference between I and II is that one model is collapsable.  This pin meter is used strictly for mapping the migration of water in carpet and pad.  In recent years, Dri-Eaz has switched from using moisture meters designed by Tramex to now using the GE Protimeter.  The top of the line model is the MMS Plus (approx. $1,100).

    After determining how far the water has migrated with the Hydrosensor, I use 1" blue tape to map the carpet, and, then, photograph for documentation.  I have owned the GE Protimeter MMS Plus and did not like the curved back of the meter.  The curved back of the unit is for non-penetrating moisture readings.  This package does have a lot of bells/whisltes, including software for transferring data.

    The Wet Chek is a pin meter that some contractors give to adjusters.  As with most pin meters, the meter only detects what the end of the pins touch.  As such, you are not getting a true reading of the water damaged area.  Since mold and liability issues have become a big issue in recent years, I would not reply on this meter. 

    "Remember, you get what you pay for."

    2) Tramex.  Their site has a multitude of meters.  I am in the process of upgrading to the Moisture Encounter Plus ($385-$400).  This is also another must have tool.  This is considered a non-penatrating tool, which allows non-destructive testing, 1" penetration through materials, multiple readings of wood, drywall, carpet, vinyl, tile, wall coverings, and roof membranes and coatings.  This meter also allows comparative readings for other types of materials.  The "hold reading" feature is nice, plus the audio sound, when moisture is detected.

    This is a great tool for quick spot checks for discovery of moisture migration.  I test on wood floors, baseboards, drywall (start at the base and test to see how high the water wicks), cabinet/vanity toe kicks, side panels of cabinets, and on the lower shelf of cabinets/vanities.  When testing cabinets/vanities, moisture readings will let you know that the particle board toe kick and support legs are wet.  Once wet, particle board expands and loses its integrity.  When moisture readings are found on the lower shelving of cabinets, this lets you know that a substantial amount of water may be under the cabinets.  The readings are due to vapor readings of the water evaporating.  Again, I use blue tape to map the wet areas and photograph.

    The Professional Meter is a digital pin-meter ($310). For restoration contractors, this is another must have tool.  With other pin extensions, this tool can get readings into hard to get places and other types of materials.

    I also own the Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter 4.  This tool is in the $400 range and should be owned by both restoration contractors and every person that installs flooring of any type.  This tool tests the vapor emission emitting from a concrete slab that has had water damage.  This tool with various other types of readings should be used before any type of flooring is installed.

    3) Delmhorst

    This is another established company like Tramex.  These meters are pin meters.  While the Navigator Pro is the top of the line meter, the BD-210, which I have owned, is a good all around meter.  The BD-210 tests wood, gypsum, and several other types of materials.  You  can also purchase extensions.  I, personally, think that this meter is more for restoration contractors.

    Adjuster Viewpoint

    I, as someone else stated, have never had an adjusting firm or carrier, require a moisture meter as part of your required tools.  By the time that an adjuster arrives on site, emergency services should be well under way.  The restoration contractor should have tested and documented with blue tape or the dot system and photographs. 

    Having worked with over 30+ carriers, I have found that most carriers do not mind that an adjuster carrriers some form of moisture meter.  Yet, during my time in Florida with the hurricanes, I found that some carriers do not want you to bring moisture meters on site or show them in the photos.  Some carriers do not want you to discover the extent of hidden water damage.  They only want you to write a scope for what you can see.  They feel that it is the contractor's responsibility to discover the full extent of damage.  Because of my diversified background, I disagree.  I guess it depends on your background.

    Liability can be a problem, especially, if you have never taken a water damage class from the IICRC.  There are many variables involved in discovering the extent of water damage without demolition. 

    A moisture meter, with the education of a water damage class from the IICRC (www.IICRC.org), can help you check the degree of damages before/after emergency services begin, and to prepare a more accurate scope of work for emergency services and repairs.  Again, it may depend on the carrier.

    At the least, I recommend the Dir-Eaz Hydrosensor II, the Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus, and, if you can afford it, the Tramex Professional Pin Meter (extensions available).

    Again, this recommendation is based on my own experience.  Please let me know if this helped or if you need further info.

     

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