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TOPIC: Moisture readings and how to report

Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #43987

I understand youre in a different part of the country; I'm in Illinois where there is state licensing.  Moisture meter's really open you up to lawsuit here. "Visual based, non invasive";  Moisture meters go beyond the scope of a home inspection. If you are going to go beyond your scope; be prepared to defend your results. Actually 25% of theState Exam in Illinois is the law.

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Dan Musielski
Inspector/Engineer
Assured Home Inspections; Batavia, IL
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Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #43990

Your kidding right?

I want to see you explain to your client after they buy the house, move in and find a destroyed building infested with mold because of water intrusion which you (in their opinion) should have found.

Right, wrong or indifferent when a client hires you to look at their house they expect you to find things. They have no idea what your limitations are but not finding water is never acceptable to them.

Mold infestation sends people into outer space and they will sue everyone to include the Pope!

Moisture meters don't open you up to a lawsuit. Your inability to properly utilize them and report the situation does.

No electronic device needed for non-evasive inspection of unidentified anomalies can be 100% relied upon without further investigation and actually "laying eyes on the situation".

When idiot home inspectors advertise that they have Superman eyes and can see through the walls (in an attempt to be better than the next inspector out there) that is where the lawsuits originate.

Let's quit making old wives tales about liability. None of this has been tested in a court of law.

90% of the inspections I do are based upon hypothesis and a collection of non-invasive test equipment results. This equipment is invaluable in actually finding out what is going on. Nobody has sued me yet over all of the inspection gadgets that I utilize! And clients like John D. Rich offer handrolled Cuban cigars to my success!

Your signature says inspector/engineer. Yet you are going to try to sidestep your engineering degree and try to claim that you're only a generalist and are not expected to know things beyond the minimum scope of a home inspection?!

As for the state law, nothing prohibits any activities of the home inspector unless it's illegal (and what is actually legal can be debated when you're from Chicago). There's nothing in the law that says you cannot use a moisture meter in your inspection.

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Home Inspector
HVAC Systems Design
ITC Level III Thermography - Building Science Thermographer
Thermal Imaging
Serving Clarksville - Nashville TN and the Mid TN area
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Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #44005

Woody to be a little softer about the issue (even though David is right and you better learn fast) the fact is there is moisture. Figuring out how your meter works comes with time and evaluation of past performance, but if its wet in the wall then its wet.

If you have moisture under a window, then the first place you shoould check for is outside around the window. Was it sealed? Is there anywhere for water to get in? If the moisture from condesation due to air infiltration?

As far as the interior walls its the same thing. At this point if you observed moisture and could not find out why it was there then to protect your rump you document what you found and punt the ball to someone who can. The next step is to try and figure out why its there in the future. FInding it is the first step. Explaining why its there makes you look like you have a clue.

You won't figure them all out so do your best.

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Fogarty Home Inspection Services
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Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #44008

Woody, my post was not about you.
It was to the previous one.

I don't understand the "independent" thing?
Home Inspection is a collection and reporting of the collected information.
Give the information to the buyer and answer their questions (if you can) if they ask.
Your report is (or should) just be a list of facts you observed at the time of the inspection.
There is no need to tell the buyer "why" anything is as it is.
When you get in a jamb with what to report, go back and read your Standards of Practice again. If it's not covered, it's not likely your job responsibility.

Remember you meter readings are reference to wood. Not any other building material. It is also for a specific wood. There are correction factors for other wood.

Masonry materials are highly hygroscopic and 50% moisture in them is not even an issue.

As far as reporting, simply write up your test results, describing what equipment you are using.

Compare your suspected wet areas with other areas of similar construction and compare the two. The difference is more of a concern than the % moisture.
The only sure way to determine the moisture content is to weigh it (and this is obviously nothing a HI can do).

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Home Inspector
HVAC Systems Design
ITC Level III Thermography - Building Science Thermographer
Thermal Imaging
Serving Clarksville - Nashville TN and the Mid TN area
www.MidTnInspections.com
www.ThermalImagingScan.com
To link to my pages:
www.midtninspections.com/link-submission

Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #44022

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David, I can appreciate your passion. I didn't make a statement advocating for, or against mositure meters. Im also glad you have never been sued. Im glad to see you know how to use a moisture meter, an infared red meter, and that you have a high school diploma. But don't make believe you know what goes on in Chicago.

My statement is based on various legal opinions. Right, wrong, or indifferent, inspectors have been sued for NOT writing up home's with Romex as a SAFETY HAZZARD in Cook & DuPage counties. Ohh...thats all you use in your part of the country? Read closer, I didn't side step my engineering background, and call myself a generalist...you did that. As a engineer, you deal with facts.  A Hypothesis can be as flimsy as the opinion of an Heating/AC tech saying water flows up stream. Im sure you're aware that most scientific hypothesis are proven false. I see you are a HVAC design specialist.  Since you know all about High Voltage Alternating Current; then please explain the difference between, 110, 120, 208, 220, 460, 480, 240, and which leg of a 3-phase system can I get 197 volts(ohhh..were we to ASSUME you ment Heating Ventilation, and AirConditioning?  Im sure you are also aware of how can have a circuit with the breaker turned off still be LIVE, and PROPERLY WIRED.  Moisture meters are a TOOL.  The best tool of any inspector is their brain.  Sound building practices are your best bet for eliminating mold, mositure, or any other defect.  Right from your own web page you have a whole link talking about your limitation...and I quote, " The State of Tennessee specifically addresses the  Home Inspector's responsibility to those areas visible in daylight or with a flashlight". Can you be any more general???  Yes, tools are there when you need them, be it mositure meters, infared red, or whatever you think you need for people to believe you. Your opinion of me is irrelavent since I've signed more paperwork to keep my mouth closed on systems I've workded on in Ford, GM, Applied Materials, Semi Tool, Intel, Ideal...yes, some those cute tools I helped design...so if you need any help, let me know.

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Re: Moisture readings and how to report 8 years 1 month ago #44025

Well...    everybody just pack your pride, practices and pontifications into your inspector bag(along with your moisture meters) and relaaaaaaxxxxx for a moment.

Somewhere a little higher on this page I vaguely remember someone asking a question about something...  OH Yeah!  Woody! 

Back to Woody.

I noticed you said "recently completed", so it's too late to not use that moisture meter eh?  Oh well, I doubt you will get sued for it and I'm not terribly worried that the inside of the wall has a mold colony so large it is on the verge of conscious thought, but I agree with Sean. You just need to report on what you observed and make it clear that moisture meters are not the end all of testing.  So maybe something like this:

Higher than expected(you could say “normal” here instead) levels of moisture were observed at (Location #1, #2 and #3) when testing was performed using a pinless moisture meter. No cosmetic staining was observed. Moisture leakage or intrusion at windows is often be caused by faulty or damaged window trim or flashing. Moisture near an air handling unit may indicate condensation buildup or leakage.  This type of testing is limited and cannot fully determine the cause or the scope of moisture related issues.  Further evaluation by a qualified contractor is recommended.

Or, just don't mention the meter at all:

Higher than expected(you could say “normal” here instead) levels of moisture were observed at (Location #1, #2 and #3) No cosmetic staining was observed. Moisture leakage or intrusion at windows is often be caused by faulty or damaged window trim or flashing. Moisture near an air handling unit may indicate condensation buildup or leakage.  A visual inspection is limited and cannot fully determine the cause or the scope of moisture related issues.  Further evaluation by a qualified contractor is recommended.

Or, keep it REALLY simple:

Walls tested positive for high moisture content at (Location #1, #2 and #3), further evaluation by a qualified contractor is recommended.


Yeah, those first two might be wordy but it says what you know and what you don't know and tells them what to do about it.  In the end you could report on it twenty different ways and it won't change the fact that your client might:

1. Not read the report
2. Not do anything about it
3. Still think you should have said more about “hygroscopic masonry”
4. Sue you because they can

Now let's all just have a beer with Obama and try to get along.  Good Luck Woody...  out there and in here.

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