A Weapon for Every Surveyor – Data Loggers!
Building surveyors need the right equipment and nowadays a data logger is firmly on the must-have list. There’s no way you can authoritatively report on a building’s health unless you have the solid data to back-up your findings.
This article by James Berry comes from the Property Care Association where he has been testing a Blue Maestro data logger. Thanks go to PCA member Preservation Treatments, who provided the logger for test and review.
First impressions of the data logger is good!
The logger is advertised as designed and manufactured in the UK and can record Temperature, Humidity and Dew Point – key parameters that influence condensation and mould growth problems. The first impressions are that compared to other units it is quite easy on the eye, which may make the prospect of long term data logging more appealing that the prospect of having an unattractive box taped to the wall! Appearance/size wise this sits inbetween the Lascar and the i-buttons – not as bulky as the lascar and not as industrial looking as the i-buttons.
Having spoken to those that have used data loggers in the past, there is a concern that the small size of the i-buttons may pose a choking hazard to small children and whilst slightly bigger, I’m not convinced this completely eliminates the problem. However the Blue Maestro does come with a handy little cradle which makes fixing the sensor in position much easier.
PCA’s data loggers are available to members
As many of you will know we have a huge range of data loggers here at the PCA which are available to members. We strongly believe that not having the appropriate equipment to provide the correct diagnosis should be avoided.
The PCA has a range of surveying equipment available to members including thermal imaging cameras, data loggers and anemometers, amongst others. The vast majority of our loggers are lascar and we have both environmental and surface loggers, as well as a small number of i-buttons. We have found the Lascar loggers easy to use and have proved reliable and probably the brand most commonly used by PCA members. For these reasons and because of our familiarity with using Lascar, we will use them as a benchmark for this review.
Batteries and accuracy of the data loggers
Blue Maestro market the fact that the loggers are low energy, we had no issues with the battery with the limited testing we have done. You will also notice that the device does not use push notifications as this reduces battery life. Whilst the batteries do not seem as easy to replace as the Lascar loggers it is possible, and whilst this wasn’t clear in the literature a quick call to their customer services, who were very pleasant to deal with, confirmed this.
Compared to the Lascar EL-USB-2, the Blue Maestro is more accurate with a smaller range for error. They do however have a smaller temperature range but these are extreme temperatures and would not be encountered in a typical domestic environment. A UKAS calibration certificate can also be provided on these loggers.
Overall impression of the data logger
They are very easy to set up, simply download the app from the app store! And I‘m sure it would be equally as easy with an android device. Personally whilst I think it’s a nice to see the data on your phone, it’s very easy to download the data into an excel file so it can be studied in greater detail.
The little data logger is easy to use and comparatively cheap. Data logging equipment should be a weapon in every surveyors arsenal – this equipment can help build up an accurate picture of environmental conditions within a property which can aid in developing a strategy for rectifying the problem.
Find out more about the use of data loggers
If you are interested in finding out more about environmental assessment using data loggers, we would recommend our A Diagnostic Approach to Understanding Condensation, Atmospheric Moisture and Mould training course. This one day course has been developed to provide delegates with the necessary skills to analyse raw information collected by atmospheric data loggers, and present this in a way that can illustrate clearly to the homeowner or property professional what is happening in the occupied house. It will also assist in devising rectification strategies and help allow practitioners to take the guesswork out of atmospheric moisture monitoring.
The training day is a mix of classroom-based and practical, hands-on sessions. The morning focuses on data collection, understanding the relationships between moisture production, vapour pressure, air movement and relative humidity. Whilst the afternoon will focuses on how to use and place data loggers and temperature recording devices and to utilise spreadsheets and laptop computers to interpret and manipulate raw figures collected from site.
If you would like more information on the course, please get in touch with our training team on firstname.lastname@example.org.