How Do Moisture Meters Work?

Whether you're a builder, restoration enthusiast, or a curious homeowner, you've probably seen or at least heard about moisture meters.

Our premium FLIR range, including the MR60, MR77, and the high-performance MR277, is designed to help quickly monitor and tackle moisture-related issues.

What is a Moisture Meter?

Moisture meters are handheld devices that measure the moisture content in various materials. They can be used on wood, plasterboard, concrete, and other building materials. Moisture meters play an important role in preventing mould growth, detecting leaks, and ensuring the integrity of construction materials.

How Do They Work? Pin, Pinless & IGM

There are two main types of moisture meters: pin and pinless. All three FLIR moisture meters we sell can conduct both 'pin' and 'pinless' measurements.

1) Pin Moisture Meters

Pin moisture meters have two pins that are inserted into the material or object you wish to check. Electrical resistance is measured between these two pins. Since water is a good conductor of electricity, a material with a higher moisture content will have lower resistance, and vice versa. The device then calculates and displays the moisture content as a percentage. The reading is based on a material group that you select.

Our FLIR moisture meters ship with that standard external pin probe (MR02). Other measurement devices include:

  • MR04 - 132cm telescopic extension pole
  • MR05 - Impact probe for rough or uneven surfaces in corners, hardwoods or high-density materials, and areas without a dry reference.
  • MR06 - Wall cavity probe to penetrate into wall cavities and the inside face of exterior walls to measure insulation moisture levels.
  • MR07 - Hammer probe to take measurements in the subfloor through carpet, hardwood flooring, and hard materials that are difficult to penetrate with a standard pin probe.
  • MR08 - Hammer / wall probe to access vertical, angled, or inverted surfaces, and get down below carpet pads and the subfloor.
  • MR09 - Baseboard probe for getting behind baseboards, wall trim, crown moulding, and other inaccessible areas without requiring removal.

2) Pinless Moisture Meters

Pinless meters use sensors to detect moisture without damaging the material. They emit electromagnetic waves into the material and measure the response. The amount of moisture affects how the waves are reflected back to the sensor, enabling the device to estimate the moisture content. This is sometimes referred to as capacitive moisture measurement. The three moisture meters we sell penetrate about 19mm (just under 2cm) into the material you are measuring.

Pinless moisture meter readings allow for large areas to be scanned quickly. They are also non-invasive and often referred to as "non-destructive" moisture meter readings. It's worth remembering that they work best on flat surfaces and only provide a relative moisture reading. The measurement should be compared to a known dry sample of the same material to understand it fully.

Pin and Pinless Moisture Meter Example

Example of a pin (left) and pinless (right) moisture meter reading.

3) Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM)

The FLIR MR277 stands out as it combines the features of traditional moisture meters with thermal imaging. It uses FLIR's Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM) technology, allowing users to scan large areas for moisture issues visually. It also has pin and pinless functionalities, providing more versatility and accuracy in moisture detection.

What Are They Used For?

Here are a few ways you can use FLIR moisture meters:

  1. Construction and Building Inspection: Evaluate the moisture content of building materials to ensure they are within acceptable ranges. This helps prevent structural damage or identify areas prone to termite infestation or mould growth.

  2. Water Damage Restoration: Quickly identify and monitor wet areas during the drying process.

  3. Woodworking and Flooring: Ensure that wood is at the correct moisture level before use to avoid warping or other issues.

  4. Agriculture: Measure the moisture content of soil and plants for optimised irrigation.

Why Choose FLIR Moisture Meters?

With FLIR moisture meters, you invest in accuracy, reliability, and cutting-edge technology. The MR60 and MR77 are perfect for professionals who need a robust and efficient solution for moisture measurement. The MR277, with its thermal imaging capability, is ideal for those who require an advanced solution for thorough inspections.

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