There are a number of useful gadgets that can assist you in detecting problems with damp, high humidity or the location of pipes, electric cable and wall studs.
Small inexpensive, battery-operated, damp meters can be used to detect the presence of damp in walls. Two small fixed probes on the damp meter are pushed into holes drilled into the wall. The damp meter will have a series of LEDs and if the probes detect moisture these will illuminate. The more moisture the probes detect the more LEDs light up. This type of meter only detects if moisture is present and not the percentage of moisture. Some damp meters will also be fitted with an audio indicator.
If you need to know the humidity level in a room – for example if you wanted to lay a floating floor which needs a humidity level below 75% – a handheld humidity meter or hygrometer is the best instrument to use for this purpose.
Stud, pipe and cable detectors
Before drilling into the wall, floor or ceiling you should always check for the presence of electric cables and water pipes. Inexpensive stud, pipe and cable detectors are available at many DIY stores and the price you pay will certainly be less than the cost of repairing broken cable or punctured pipes. The detectors are battery operated and may well emit different indication signals for studs, cables and pipes. These could range from illuminated or flashing LEDs, audible signals or a combination of both.