Periodically, a formal moisture survey should be done in addition to the normal visual survey. There are three major types of moisture survey systems used, none of which actually measures water. All of them measure properties of the roof materials that change when there is water present.
- An infrared scan measures the amount of heat retained or lost through the insulation. Wet insulation transmits heat better than dry materials. Thus, the infrared camera will pick up the higher levels of heat radiated by wet materials.
- Nuclear isotopic meters work by sending hydrogen ions into the roof system and counting the number that bounce back. Because water has two hydrogen ions in every molecule, the number of ions counted increases significantly when water is present in the roof.
- Electrical capacitance and resistance meters measure the ability of roof materials to conduct electricity. They work on the principle that wet materials conduct electricity better than dry ones do.
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