The North Dakota State University Extension Service has about 12 moisture meters to lend to people cleaning up flooded residences.
The Protimeter Mini moisture meter has two prongs on its end that can be stuck into drywall, wood or cardboard or other building material to measure the percentage of moisture trapped there.
Extension agent Lori Scharmer said the meters have been used steadily. The extension center asks that people submit a $60 deposit, which is then returned to the borrower when the moisture meter is returned to the office. People should call the office ahead of time to make sure a meter is available. Scharmer said the office asks people to return a borrowed meter within 24 to 48 hours, so there is a fast turnover.
Scharmer said a flooded home should have below 15 percent moisture content before people begin rebuilding.
"We've heard of (houses that were) as high as 30 percent (moisture content)," she said.
She said a house that has not been flooded would normally have about 6 percent moisture content.
People who attempt to rebuild before the area has thoroughly dried out and has a reading below 15 percent are apt to be dealing with mold growing in their walls, said Scharmer.
"Depending on how open it is, it can take 45 days (for a flooded home) to dry out," said Scharmer.
Scharmer said some people have tried to speed up the drying process by opening windows and doors and placing a dehumidifier in a flooded basement. Places where the material joins together and corners may dry out more slowly, said Scharmer.