Buy a moisture meter at your local hardware or home improvement center, for example Ace Hardware in Sacramento. Insert the probes into the wood and read the indicator. It will tell you the percent of moisture in the surface. Also see, Moisture Meters Suppliers in California: B&K Precision – D&D. You can also check out the website, Services: Healthy Home Assessments – Steamatic of Sacramento. See the article, Wood moisture readings in LVL – InspectionNews – Home Inspection.
When wood moisture causes allergies, toxic mold or other damage problems in your cooking spaces, house, or apartment, start to solve the problem by first taking wood moisture readings. See the North Carolina State University’s site for tips on how to take wood moisture readings. At that Web site you’ll see their publication titled, Moisture Control and Prevention Guide. Print out that PDF file. That article is like a small guide book.
In addition to the toxic mold that grows on wood, fungi will only decay wood with moisture content above the fiber saturation point, which is 30 percent by weight for most species used in construction, according to the North Carolina State University’s site.The publication also states that wood with a moisture content of 20 percent and above is susceptible to decay. Make sure the moisture readings of wood in your home or apartment are below the fungi, decay, or mold levels.
Learn how to check for moisture levels before your wood decays or becomes moldy, infested, decayed, and toxic. Products containing cellulose, cardboard, and paper (made from wood) stored in closets and garages draw insects and mice that feed on paper. Store in plastic containers or jars, not in cardboard and paper.
Make sure your books, index cards, recipes, and paper documents are not subject to moisture or light or in open areas where bugs and worms can eat the paper or glue. Book or display cases need doors to protect the objects from dust, sunlight, moisture, acid, and mites.
Take readings from every corner of a crawl space and the damp areas around plumbing fixtures in kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, and bathrooms. Also get readings around the sills under sliding glass doors.
In addition, take readings from places where chimneys, porches, garages, and patios attach to the house. If you use a pest control firm, ask them to take moisture readings and stay round so you can get a copy of the recordings and watch how they do it so you can do it yourself periodically.
For more info: browse the book, How to Make Basic Natural Cleaning Products from Foods, published in paperback by ASJA Press imprint, iUniverse.inc. ISBN: 978059552366. Or see some of these book excerpts on the Cleaning with Foods blog.