I have long been a proponent of the use of quality moisture meters for their ability to assist in the diagnosis of building dampness. I have shown examples of these meters in use in recent case studies and how they have assisted in the process of elimination when looking at potential causes of damp.
My first case study looked at the use of the pinned component of the moisture meter in a survey which found an extensive leak emanating from the kitchen. My second case study looked at the utility of the pinless function or search mode. In this case the moisture meter helped source an isolated heating pipe leak in a bathroom. In both examples the moisture meter proved an invaluable tool to narrow down the scope of the search saving time and money.
In this review I will be looking at the Protimeter Hygromaster 2 and Surveymaster Dual Meter Kit, giving an overview of their use and looking how the Surveymaster has evolved from previous iterations.
The BLD7714-SM package comes with the following:
- Hygromaster 2 with short humidity quickstick
- Wired pinned probe
- Deep wall probes
- Calibration check
- 9V batteries and data cable
- Thermoformed carry case
As with the Protimeter MMS2, this dual meter kit comes in a grey semi-ridged thermoformed case. The carry case exudes a premium and professional feel which comfortably holds all of the equipment with ease. I like the consistency of colour, style and approach that the Protimeter products have as they are very distinct and easily recognisable.
If you’re looking for a device which can give you a snapshot of the air humidity levels and need a device which can carry out on the spot condensation risk assessments, the Hygromaster 2 is for you. It’s capability of producing instantaneous psychometric calculations is where this meter really shines. It’s a complementary device to the Surveymaster and has the aesthetics of a shrunken Protimeter MMS2.
The menu set up of the Hygromaster 2 is simple to navigate and is identical to the menu of the MMS2 minus the pin and pinless options. The best feature of this device is the ability to conduct condensation risk assessments. The IR thermometer in conjunction with the hygrometer allows for the unit to carry out a condensation risk assessment by assessing the difference between the surface temperature and the dew point temperature. It gives a handy green, yellow or red indicator showing the risk of condensation.
The Hygromaster 2 can also take multiple psychrometric measurements including vapour pressure, grams per kilogram and enthalpy. For me, the simple hygrometer and dew point functions will be the most commonly used.
The data logging feature is tucked away in the settings menu and is not the strongest feature of this device. My criticism of this feature is the same of that found in my previous MMS2 Review. The data logging function has a limited use within the social housing environment and is not in my opinion the core feature of this device. The meter with its 8,000 result storage capacity could however be useful for use in short spells of targeted areas within a property.
The Surveymaster is one of Protimeters best selling meters. The Survey master utilises its two main functions of the pinned and pinless modes as well as being able to use the optional attachments such as the deep wall probes and wired pinned probe.
The pinned function can give actual moisture content readings in wood and wood moisture equivalent (%WME) readings in other building materials. By simply making firm contact on the surface that is being tested the meter will give a clear indication of the results by the numerical value shown on the screen, the bleeping warning sound and the colour and position of the lights which curve around the face of the device.
The package being reviewed comes with a wired pinned probe which is great for harder to reach areas like behind a unit or under a sink. There is no need to push the pins too deep into the surface which has the benefit of causing minimal damage. It also comes with a set of deep wall probes which can be used as a more invasive testing method which can be used to better understand the moisture profile through the depth of the wall.
The pinless function or search mode is a fantastic method of rapidly assessing the relative moisture content of solid walls and floors. This function allows the user to investigate beneath the surface to a depth of up to 19mm without causing any damage.
This mode is perfect for searching behind wall and floor coverings such as ceramic tiles, wall papers, laminate and wooden flooring, plasterboard, masonry and so on. What’s more, surface moisture (e.g. condensation) has little effect to the measurement taken giving the user some certainty that the readings are sub-surface readings.
The meter has a reference mode where you can take a reading and then store it and compare in real time to find out if other areas have higher moisture levels. This can be used for both the pinned and pinless modes. Reference mode allows the user to compare an initial baseline moisture reading to subsequent readings giving an indication of the difference in value from the initial reading.
When comparing the Surveymaster with previous iterations of the device you can really see how Protimeter have improved on their formula. The new Surveymaster is more comfortable to hold with its curved design and anti-slip rubber frontage. The aesthetics have been greatly improved giving a far more premium and stylish look. The grey and orange is a much better look which is mimicked right across the Protimeter range. This is an important point as a product that looks cheap would not garner the trust of a tenant who may be overseeing the survey.
The larger backlit display makes the readings easier to view and allows for the aforementioned reference mode. Even the small touches like the string attachment for the cover and wrist strap give a finesse that shows the designers of this meter had the practical use of the device in mind.
The Surveymaster has come along leaps and bounds over the years earning its place as one of the best moisture meters on the market. All in all this is a great meter which performs well and is very easy to use. It’s one of the best looking meters on the market, clearly allot of careful consideration has went into the design of the whole package, from the carry case right through to the look and feel of the meter itself.
The Hygromaster 2 is a solid complementary device to the Surveymaster. It produces instantaneous psychometric calculations with ease and allows for on the spot condensation risk assessments. It’s a fantastic hygrometer which is quick and easy to use. The data logging function for me is more of an interesting side note rather than a core function which does not detract from its overall use.
Combined, the Hygromaster 2 and Surveymaster dual meter kit allows for a thorough building dampness investigation. They are high quality stand-alone devices and will no doubt form part of the essential kit for many surveyors.