Moisture meters for wood require simple maintenance, just like any other tool. However, it’s also important to recognize the value of maintenance. A poorly-maintained wood moisture meter can produce incorrect moisture content (MC) measurement results. Inaccurate data can lead to failed wood strength and performance in the end product. Take care of moisture meters for wood properly so they can best assist you in caring for your wood project.
A wood moisture meter, with or without pins, needs to be stored under the environmental conditions specified by the manufacturer. Many manufacturers of pinless moisture meters for wood recommend that the meter be stored in a location which does not have excessive electromagnetic interference, such as would be produced by an electric motor. Also, excessive heat or cold can also play havoc on any wood moisture meter, so make sure that the meter is stored in a dry area away from any excessive moisture or condensation exposure. It is always wise to store moisture meters for wood in the cases provided by manufacturers and avoid storage areas where the meter can get crushed easily.
It is important to keep any particulate materials, such as dirt or dust, away from the pins on a wood moisture meter while stored. Although such matter can be cleaned from the pin-style meter, it can also build up in hard-to-reach places. It is a good rule of thumb to consider pins as instruments used to collect data (which they are!). They need to be stored in areas that are as clean as possible to ensure that the moisture meter works as it was designed to work.
UsageAfter extended storage and prior to using moisture meters for wood, owners should check two crucial areas: battery power and the sensor areas.
There are often low battery lights on the meter which indicate a waning power supply. However, some users need to change batteries when the moisture meter reaches a specified level. If battery power is down to 44 percent, as an example, one manufacturer suggests changing batteries. It is always best to consult the owner’s manual prior to using your wood moisture meter after extended storage.
Pinless moisture meters for wood have sensors on the bottom of the meter casing. It is vital to ensure that the meter’s sensing plate has no pitch or particulate buildup on the bottom at the time of MC measurement so the meter can obtain a good contact with the wood surface for accurate measurement.
Pin-style moisture meters for wood come with protective caps; use them each time so the pins do not get damaged or broken. Make sure to firmly place protective caps back on the moisture meter pins prior to storage. Some wood moisture meter manufacturers program their products to turn “on” when caps are removed, and to automatically turn “off” when they are placed back on the meter to protect the pins.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Moisture meter manufacturers usually have a calibration accessory product available for purchase to verify the meters calibration in the field. A maintenance procedure recommendation is to check the meter’s calibration on a regular basis to verify that the meter is still in calibration for measurement accuracy purposes. This is normal maintenance, and the calibration process should follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines. If the meter is out of calibration or if it is displaying strange MC readings, the wood moisture meter may have to be returned to the manufacturer for service.
When replacing or cleaning electrode pins on moisture meters for wood, make sure that the pins are tightly attached. This helps to ensure that ambient moisture and particles are kept out. Again, protective caps are the fail-safe way to protect the pins from the elements or breakage.
With proper maintenance, any woodworker or wood flooring expert can be sure that their wood moisture meters are performing at peak capacity for accuracy and longevity.