The moisture content of wood is constantly monitored, from the manufacturer that processes the wood to the actual jobsite. In fact, failure to check the moisture content, whether through neglect or through defective moisture meters, can create a liability problem for you and your business.
Problems With Moisture Meters
However, measuring moisture content in your lumber and wood products can be very time consuming and, in the case of pin meters, damage the surface of the wood. With stud lumber this may not be such a problem, but with wood flooring and finished wood, you can damage the surface with pin meters. In addition, pin meters must be corrected according to ambient temperature in the room.
On the other hand, pinless meters that lie on the surface of the wood often confuse moisture on the surface of the wood with moisture content in the wood, yielding a false reading.
In fact, ambient conditions such as humidity and condensation can cause both pin meters and pinless meters to give false reading.
Electromagnetic Wave Technology
The electromagnetic wave technology in some current moisture meters (the Wagner moisture meters) seem to be able to overcome the problems with surface conditions. These waves go straight into the wood and measure the moisture in the wood rather than on it. And, since it's pinless, your product is not damaged. Not only that, but the pinless electromagnetic wave meters are as much as 10 times faster than the old-fashioned pin meters. They're more accurate, too, because of the deep measurement rendered.
These extended range moisture meters are some of the most popular on the market, and can be programmed to read moisture in both softwoods and hardwoods, and in exotic species as well. The specific gravity of almost all species of woods are able to be programmed into the meters, so that one meter will serve you on every jobsite, regardless of the type of wood you're using.
The technology of these meters allows it to send electromagnetic waves into the wood, giving readings from deep within the wood rather than being distracted by surface or ambient moisture, with the added plus that you don't have to make any adjustments for temperature.
The right meter for your job may be one that has a display that will hold the moisture reading until you cancel it. This "press and hold" feature is perfect for reading moisture contents in tight places, such as in difficult corners.
When you compare pin meters with electromagnetic wave technology, the latter is clearly the winner. The facts that your wood is not damaged by the pin less moisture meter and that the meter is not affected by temperature or ambient conditions takes some major concerns out of your workplace. The accuracy of reading, too, is encouraging, since you know that it's the wood itself being measured. And, finally, the speed with which you can measure the lumber is, alone, enough to make these meters worth your consideration.