IN A ‘JAMB’?: DOOR ISSUES RARELY INDICATE STRUCTURAL ISSUES

Uh oh: Your door is not closing properly.

It used to work seamlessly, but now it doesn’t stay open or close correctly. Perhaps it rubs against the floor or its jamb. What’s changed? What’s wrong? Is the structural integrity of my home at-risk? Why is this happening? 

Oh no!

Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but sometimes doors that don’t function properly can cause homeowners great concern. Problematic doors are a particularly common issue for historic homeowners. However, most of the time, the causes and solutions for fixing the problem are simple—and not of structural concern.

Recently, while inspecting a house in Skagit County, I came upon this issue. A bedroom door in the home was rubbing against its jamb. In my report, I recommended that a qualified contractor further evaluate the door and make any needed repairs. I also noted the issue didn’t appear to be of any significant structural concern.

Case (and door) closed.

If you have questions or comments about interior door issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: WILD ISLAND JUICE BAGELS AND BOWLS, ORCAS ISLAND

Share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Simply take your photo and/or videos, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook. 

Throughout the year, those who tag their photos will have a chance to win some fun prizes. 

Do you have questions or comments about San Juan Island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect

Originally posted 2019-01-19 09:40:36.

Fun Facts Friday!

  • The first U.S. town to be completely lit by electric streetlights was Wabash, Indiana, in 1880. It had a population of 320 at the time.
  • Pablo Picasso carried a revolver loaded with blanks, which he would fire at whoever asked him what his work “meant.”
  • Artist Ivan Albright was so meticulous, he often worked with a single-haired brush and would spend whole days working on 1 square inch of canvas.
  • Simply taking 1 step uses over 200 muscles in the body.

Originally posted 2019-01-18 09:34:30.

Standalone Saturdays: Sunrise on Orcas

Share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Simply take your photo and/or videos, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook. 

Throughout the year, those who tag their photos will have a chance to win some fun prizes. 

Do you have questions or comments about San Juan Island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect

Originally posted 2019-01-13 21:20:33.

Fun Fact Friday!

  • In 1992, 29,000 rubber ducks were lost at sea, and they are still being discovered in unexpected places.
  • The average bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 100,000 pieces of bread.
  • The eyeball is the only organism which does not grow from birth. It is fully grown when you are born.
  • The average person walks the equivalent of 5 laps around the world during their lifetime.

Originally posted 2019-01-11 09:21:23.

It’s hammer time!

Does your sink ever sing to you? I recently came across such a sink at a home in Oak Harbor. The song? A little ditty called “water hammer.” 

Water hammer is the result of waterline pressure causing water pipe movement when flow is stopped or started. The “hammer” noise—which is actually a shock wave within the pipes that can lead to pipe collapse–may happen for a host of different reasons, such as insecure pipes.

If you ever notice your sink bursting out into song, consider having it further evaluated by a qualified plumbing contractor to learn more about your options—or perhaps signing it up for “America’s Got Talent.” Thanks for watching!

Questions or comments about water hammer or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect

Originally posted 2019-01-09 08:00:18.

TPR VALVES: HELPING YOUR HOME NOT TO EXPLODE (YAY!)

In the world of water heaters, temperature/pressure-relief valves (TPR valves) are essential. If you are a homeowner, you probably are well aware of this. 

However, for those new to TPR valves, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors provides a clear, succinct definition of what TPR valves are: “Temperature/pressure-relief or TPR valves are safety devices installed on water heating appliances, such as boilers and domestic water supply heaters. TPRs are designed to automatically release water in the event that pressure or temperature in the water tank exceeds safe levels.”

In other words, TPR valves can prevent catastrophe. What kind of potential disasters? Well, the following (fortunately humorous) video may give you an indication of the sort of damage that can occur without them.

To learn more about TPR valves, please take a look at the informational video I’ve prepared below. Thanks for watching!

Questions or comments about water heaters or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect

Originally posted 2019-01-07 14:07:23.

INTRODUCING STANDALONE SATURDAYS: SIGHTS AND SCENES FROM NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Tim Hance with high school sweetheart (and now wife) Liz at West Beach Resort on Orcas Island (circa 1989), posing with a lingcod caught in front of his family’s resort. 

Even though I grew up in the San Juan Islands and have lived in Northwest Washington most of my life, I’ve never tired of the region’s natural allure. 

Now, as a home inspector traveling the area on a regular basis, I can enjoy many of the elements that make this area so unique. I may be a little biased, but I believe my coverage area—which includes San Juan, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties—has some of the most compelling scenery you’ll ever come across.

As you can probably tell, it’s safe to say I love my job and I love where I live, which brings us to a concept I call “Standalone Saturday.”

What is this? In the newspaper world, a standalone photo tells a story without any (or a limited number) of words. 

On Saturdays throughout the year, I hope to give you a peak of what I see as a home inspector traveling in my neck of the woods through photos I snap along the way. Of course, these shots might include sunrises, ferry rides, rocky coastlines, flowing rivers, and bald eagles. But it also might mean interesting architecture or innovative home improvements.

Share your #AllIslandsLife for your chance to win cool prizes

I’m sure if you know or live in this area, you probably feel the same about how special it is here. That’s why I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook

Those who tag their photos or videos with #AllIslandsLife will have a chance to win some fun prizes throughout the year. We’ll let you know more about this later in the month.

In the meantime, get snapping and posting!

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect

Originally posted 2019-01-05 10:00:11.

3 Questions: Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO)

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors and organizations in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and these experts answer them. This month, we learn about energy efficiency issues with Krista Bouchey, communications specialist with Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO). 

Q1. Utility companies often offer attractive rebate incentives for improving energy efficiency. Can you tell us about some of your current incentives? 

OPALCO offers an extensive list of rebates, including super-efficient ductless heat pumps, windows, insulation, appliances, and EV charging stations. We also have a great program called Switch It Up!, which offers on-bill financing for some of these energy efficiency projects, including fiber to your home. These projects save members money, increase comfort, reduce carbon usage, and drive up the value of their homes. 

Q2. Is it easy to apply for a rebate, and how often do the rebate incentive programs change? 

Our rebate applications are super easy: apply online at www.opalco.com/rebates or email energysavings@opalco.com. The rebate program gets updated each year (January), but most of the same rebates are available each year. There are also two “fuel switching” rebates: one for ductless heat pumps and an EV charger incentive that rewards switching away from fossil fuels. These rebates are available as funds last each year.  

Q3. Does it make sense to install solar on my home? 

For those who have a good location, putting solar on your home can help offset the cost of energy use, but we recommend a solar assessment to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of your site. There are many different factors to consider, including orientation to the sun, shading/tree trimming, the type of roof you have—as well as cost, maintenance, and return on investment. Another option is to purchase a piece of OPALCO’s next Community Solar project: the payback is faster, and you don’t have to manage the equipment on your property. Participants get credits on their monthly power bill based on the solar production of the project—you can invest a little or a lot and offset your energy use. We expect to have a project coming out in 2021—stay in the loop by emailing solar@opalco.com

BONUS Q: Do you have a favorite energy efficiency story or lesson you can share? 

We’re super inspired by the cool projects our members are doing. This is one of my favorites: https://energysavings.opalco.com/the-most-family-an-efficiency-oasis-on-orcas-island/ 


About OPALCO

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO) is a member-owned, non-profit cooperative utility providing energy services to San Juan County since 1937. Delivered to the islands by way of submarine cables, our mostly hydro-electric power is generated by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). OPALCO distributes energy to 20 islands in the archipelago and employs approximately 50 people in the county. Co-op member-owners elect a seven-member Board of Directors, who set policy, rates and direction. Elections are held each year prior to our Annual Meeting. The OPALCO wholly-owned subsidiary, Rock Island Communications, provides broadband Internet services in San Juan County. For more information, visit https://www.opalco.com/

A big “thanks” to Krista for her responses!
If you have questions or comments about energy efficiency issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).