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Extension offers moisture meters
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Moisture meters have arrived in coastal counties to help residents make building or repair decisions in water-damaged homes.
Mississippi State University Extension Service offices in 10 southern counties and at MSU’s Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi are loaning the meters to individuals who need them.
Herb Willcutt, Extension professor of agriculture and bioengineering, warned that it is a mistake to rebuild or repair before wood is sufficiently dry.
“Wood should have a moisture content of less than 15 percent before drywall, paneling or other coverings are placed on the wood. Do not seal up walls until the wood moisture content is at least down to 15 percent. This can be determined with a moisture meter,” Willcutt said. “These meters can reveal if there is excess moisture in the crawl space, attic or framing wall.”
Beverly Howell, state program leader for Extension family and consumer sciences, said moisture meters are available in the hurricane-damaged counties of Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone, George, Greene, Perry, Forrest and Lamar.
“We wanted to have them available when Mississippians would be ready to repair and rebuild homes that were flooded by Hurricane Katrina,” Howell said. “We know everyone is eager to repair damage, but rebuilding too quickly after a flood can result in more problems down the road. Accurate use of these meters is the best way to avoid mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings.”
To locate county Extension offices, look in the phone book under county listings. Hurricane Katrina forced relocations for the Hancock County office to a mobile unit in the old K-Mart parking lot in Bay St. Louis, and the Jackson County office to the Civic Center at the fairgrounds in Pascagoula.