How To Use A Damp Meter

Wednesday 12th April 2023

Ellen Warren

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Damp meter

CONTENTS

Of the 24 million houses in 2021, around 3.8% of homeowners reported issues with damp on their property. Although this has decreased significantly as insulation and heating systems have modernised, older homes are still at an increased risk.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer moisture surveys and effective mould remediation. Our Dewpoint-accredited technicians can determine the levels of damp present in your home and diagnose the root cause of mould if it has started to grow.

Read on to learn more about damp meters, what the results mean, and what you can do to reduce moisture in your home.

How does a damp meter work?

Damp meters are small electronic devices that are used to measure the amount of damp present on your property. A pin-type device uses two metal pins to push into a material and measure the electrical conductivity between them.

However, some of these meters feature a sensor pad instead of pins to avoid inflicting damage to the surfaces, measuring the capability of a material to store electrical charge.

Professional surveyors will use a more sophisticated device called a protimeter which provides more accurate readings over various materials.

Surveyors or property inspectors may use either of these devices to measure moisture levels in your home and assess the potential risk of mould growth. Various materials can be assessed for levels of damp including:

  • Concrete
  • Drywall
  • Paper
  • Wood

How to use a damp meter

With any damp meter, you must calibrate it before you intend to use it. Each calibration process will be different depending on the type of meter you are using, and your device should instruct you on how to calibrate it properly.

A pin-type meter requires a moisture content standard block, whereas pinless meters use a sensor device. Once your device is ready, you can accurately assess the damp levels on your property. The steps you must follow will vary according to the type of device you have:

Pin-type meter

  • Set the device for the type of material you intend to measure
  • Position the meter so the pins are upright against the surface and push inside the material as far as possible
  • Record the reading by the percentage and potentially a colour system with an LED light
  • Repeat this process across different areas of the material to identify high-risk areas

Pinless meters

  • Ensure the surface is free of any standing water
  • Press the meter against the surface or material and keep it still to ensure an accurate reading
  • Record the damp content and percentage reading
  • Repeat this process across the surface to develop accurate readings of the entire area

What do the readings mean?

Your device may have one or two ways you can understand a reading. This will show up on the screen, where you should see a percentage displayed and an LED light flashing a traffic-light system of colours.

If your meter flashes green, this indicates an acceptable level of moisture present — but if the light flashes amber or red, professional action is required. When it comes to numerical readings, it may be hard to understand whether high levels of moisture present in a material are normal.

You should always ensure you understand the average moisture level of the material you are testing and the humidity in the area. The rule of thumb is that healthy moisture levels are usually between 12% and 15%, and anything over 16% is a cause for concern.

What can you do to reduce damp?

If you have excess moisture in your home, mould could start growing on your property. It thrives in damp and humid areas, and will quickly become dangerous when left to fester.

Your home will require the services of a mould removal company to thoroughly eradicate any trace of mould and the airborne spores it produces.

A company that deals with mould and moisture issues can survey your home, and they will be able to identify the source of damp . There are lots of things you can do to reduce damp levels in the meantime:

  • Ventilate the home regularly by opening windows or using trickle vents
  • Use a dehumidifier in the most high-risk rooms
  • When you turn on the heating, turn all the radiators on
  • Ensure that air can circulate throughout your home
  • Check your pipes, gutters, and drains to identify any blockages or leaks
  • Open the door of your washing machine or tumble dryer between cycles and keep the room ventilated
  • Install more insulation or replace it
  • Wipe down any condensation you spot on windows and dry the frame
  • Dry your clothes outside or on a heated clothes horse
  • Keep doors closed during a bath, shower, or whilst cooking and ventilate the room afterwards with an extractor fan or open window
  • Replace your windows with double-glazed glass

What to do if mould is growing in your home

When you see mould growing in any area of your home, you will need to bring in professional cleaners right away. This is because the mould spreads by producing airborne spores, which can only be tackled with industrial-grade equipment.

You must not try to clean it yourself due to the risk of inhaling spores, potentially triggering an allergic reaction, and damaging your skin or lungs with harsh chemicals. Trying to scrub the mould can encourage it to spread further due to the rapid movement releasing spores.

Get in touch

Here at ICE Cleaning, we are a mould removal service that professionally removes mould and identifies moisture levels to prevent its return. We offer a lifetime guarantee* so your property stays mould-free.

Our expert cleaners are available nationwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you would like a moisture survey or mould removal, you can speak to our friendly service team by calling 0208 066 0360 or sending an inquiry to enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

*subject to advisories

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