High-Tech Equipment Services
- Thermal imaging devices
- Penetrating and non-penetrating moisture meters
- Hammer probes
- Insulation pins
- Thermo hygrometers
- Off-site monitoring devices
- Air quality monitoring
- Laser air particle counters
- Air sampling pumps
Thermal Imaging (Infrared Cameras)
Of the inspection equipment, thermal imaging is one of the latest technologies being adapted to fit the needs of the water damage restoration industry. As depicted in the photograph, thermal imaging is a quick way to assess the water damaged areas and is a photographic means to document the actual building components impacted by the flood water. Infrared imaging devices use infrared thermometers capable of reading surface temperatures without contact via measurement of infrared light, which varies with temperature. When most matter changes states, e.g. liquid to gas as water to water vapor, it release energy, in this case heat energy. This leaves the wet surface cooler.
Any person using a thermal imaging device should have ample experience in its use as many factors can influence its proper use.
The moisture sensor simply detects water within wet carpet and pad. Although it can be used for moisture detection in other items such as drywall and floor decking, those uses are outside its designed intention. The moisture sensor works by measuring conductivity, or the lack thereof, within the material the two pins are inserted into. The moisture sensor provides no measurement of moisture, so its uses are typically limited to defining the affected area of moisture under wet carpet and pad. The picture to the right shows a moisture sensor in use.
These devices have long been the standard of inspection in the water damage restoration industry. Most work by measuring electrical resistance between two points.
Penetrating or Invasive Moisture Meters
Penetrating or Invasive moisture meters contain two pins that penetrate the item being measured. Although some principles have changed regarding the technology, the basic concept remains constant. Two pins enter the item being tested. The pins emit a light electrical current and the resistance between the two pins is measured. The device compares that resistance to that of a dry standard of the same type material and computes a level of moisture for the material being tested. Several accessories exist to compliment the moisture meter.
The hammer probe is one typical moisture meter accessory that is commonly used during the initial and progressive assessment of water damaged properties. This device utilizes a slide hammer to push two Teflon-insulated pins deep into water damaged sub flooring, wood flooring, wood framing, timbers, and other items requiring deep readings.
Insulation pins allow the technician to reach deeper areas such as insulated wall cavities or under cabinets. The sides of these pins are insulated so the reading is taken only at the tips.
Non-Penetrating Moisture Meters
Non-penetrating moisture meters simply shoot a radio frequency signal into the item being measured without penetration. Some also use a set of conductive pads for transmission of electrical current through the material. The radio or electrical transmission conductivity is measured and the moisture is ultimately calculated through the capacitance or resistance. These meters can be very useful for many reasons but it is arguably accepted that this measurement is less accurate than those produced by the pin type meters. The argument usually lies within the acceptable level of deviation more than the accuracy between the two types.
One of the most valued benefits of the use of the pinless moisture meters is that it is usually completely non-destructive. It is also very quick compared to surveys using the pin-type meters. It is often of benefit to measure large areas of damage with the pinless meters but to confirm the readings in inconspicuous areas with a pin-type meter. This type of meter can also cause false positives on walls or ceilings with metal studs, metal ties, special coatings, metal corner beads, foil faced insulations, pipes, ducts, and other conductive items. This becomes especially crucial in commercial water damage losses since the wall framing is typically metal. False negatives can also be a problem under certain circumstances where air gaps are encountered.
Thermo Hygrometers are essential tools in the assessment of water damage scenarios. The thermal hygrometer, in our firm, digital thermal hygrometer, is used to measure specific qualities of the air inside and outside the structure. These devices measure temperature and relative humidity. From that data they calculate dew point temperature, vapor pressure, and specific humidity. The measurement of these items is crucial in establishing baseline environmental conditions as well as monitoring the progress of the alteration of this environment to establish optimal environmental drying conditions.
Borescopes can also be very useful tools in the inspection of water damaged structures to establish areas where water or moisture removal is necessary. The borescope is typically used to view areas inaccessible to the instruments previously mentioned.The borescope utilizes a fiber optic cable to transfer light and images to and from cavities otherwise inaccessible.
Off site monitoring devices are one of the latest innovations this industry is adopting. These devices allow the restoration professional to leave remote sensors on the site of water damaged homes or businesses. These sensors transmit moisture readings to a central collection point that utilizes a modem to transmit the data to the web. The drying company can then access the site in lieu of making interim trips. These items remain a disputed values as many argue the accuracy. We believe they do have value in the industry but the application is crucial in determining the worth.
Air Quality Monitoring
Often overlooked are the issues of poor air quality related to the drying process. High velocity air movers often aerosolize contaminants that are either inherently present or dislodged via the water. To monitor this item, 877QuicDry (877-784-2379) utilizes laser air particle counters and in some instances air sampling pumps to ensure the quality of the air during the drying process.
Laser Air Particle Counter
Laser Air Particle Counters are highly sensitive devices that literally count the quantities of aerosolized particles via laser technology at specific sizes. These particles are invisible to the naked eye, but can measure into the hundreds of thousands, even millions, in some circumstances.
Air Sampling Pumps
Air Sampling Pumps and the appropriate peripherals are utilized when specific types of contaminants are a concern. Fungal issues is the most prominent concern that requires the utilization of this device to monitor but many other issues such as bacterial are also important.