Tag Archives: san juan county

How to calculate appliance energy usage

Kitchen AppliancesI conduct Residential Energy Audits on behalf of OPALCO, the local utility provider in San Juan County. Oftentimes, homeowners are completely unaware of how much it actually costs to run a particular appliance. But, it can be calculated easily!

If you’re trying to decide whether to invest in a more energy-efficient appliance or you’d like to determine your electricity loads, you may want to estimate appliance energy consumption. You can do so with this formula: Wattage × Hours Used per Day ÷ 1,000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption (1 kilowatt [kW] = 1,000 Watts). Multiply this by the number of days you use the appliance during the year to determine annual consumption. To calculate the annual cost to run an appliance, multiply the kWh per year by your local utility company’s rate per kWh consumed. Note: use eight hours as an average daily maximum wattage time for a refrigerator. Although turned “on” all the time, refrigerators actually cycle on and off to maintain interior temperature. For typical wattages of various appliances see our chart.

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: WINTER WAVES

As a home inspector, I’m often on the road, traveling around San Juan, Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties. Along the way, I’m often awed by what I see. On the first Saturday of the month, I plan to share some of these great scenes with you. 

I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery, too! Take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, tag it with #AllIslandsLife, and share via social media.

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

WITH SOME BEETLES, YOU CAN’T JUST ‘LET IT BE’

John, Paul, Ringo, and George. Yep, you know them as The Beatles. 

“Hey, Jude.” “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “All You Need Is Love.” The list goes on and on.

Evidence of their remarkable impact as the most influential band in the world is easily found in their catalog of timeless hits. 

Unfortunately, there is another kind of beetle that has also left a wide, not-so-positive mark: the anobiid beetle. For homeowners, anobiid beetles are the enemy. Don’t believe me? Just listen to its nicknames: “powderpost beetle,” “furniture beetle,” and my personal fave—“deathwatch beetle.”

Not exactly the “Fab Four.” 

During a recent inspection in San Juan County, I encountered deterioration and apparent anobiid beetle activity/damage noted at some of the basement wood windows and sills.

While these little buggers can cause lots of damage, remember this simple rule: bugs love moisture. If you take care of your moisture problems, you take care of your bug problems.

If you have questions or comments about possible insect activity/damage or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

QUIT BUGGIN’ ME: STAY ON TOP OF YOUR INSECT ISSUES

Insect-damaged structural elements in a home, yikes! It’s widespread in older homes but can happen with any home or structure. The common denominator is ALWAYS elevated moisture, which leads to insect activity. Wood destroying insects are attracted to moisture and seek it out, so it’s imperative to keep your home dry.


Elevated moisture from plumbing leaks, water intrusion in the crawl space, and improper ventilation can all lead to insect activity and damage. If you see piles of dust or what looks like sawdust in your home, you may very well have an insect problem requiring further evaluation, repair, and treatment.


I always recommend homeowners have someone look into their crawl spaces and attics once annually, looking for signs of water, elevated moisture, or wood destroying insect activity. Wood destroying insects in our area include carpenter ants, Anobiid beetles, and Pacific Dampwood termites. All of these insects are attracted to moisture, all seek it out, and all eat or damage wood structures.


If your home is dry, these wood-destroying insects have zero interest in your home. ZERO! Keeping moisture away from a home is the single most crucial factor in helping prevent wood-destroying insect activity and damage.

If you have questions or comments about bug infestations or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

BOO! HOME INPSECTION HORROR STORIES

In the spirit of the spooky season, I’ve compiled a few home inspection-related stories to get you in the mood. Just remember: home inspection reports don’t have to be scary as long as you keep them in context. 

Happy (scary) reading! Boo!

Author: Family Handyman

Title: “110 Super Scary Home Inspector Nightmare Photos

Recommended Because: When you are a seasoned home inspector, you see it all. This is a catalog of some seriously scary things—including many examples of things I’ve come across in my career (I’m not kidding).

Author: Realtor.com

Title: “10 Scariest Things a Home Inspector Might Find in Your House

Recommended Because: A nice rundown of things that go bump…in your bank account.

Author: InspectorPro Insurance

Title: “Top 3 Scary Home Inspection Stories

Recommended Because: Snakes. Rats. Haunted houses. Home inspectors share their scary stories. 

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect). 

ARE YOU PROPERLY MAINTAINING YOUR WATER HEATER?

It’s easy to take hot water for granted, but did you know it’s important to maintain your water heater annually? Whether you have a tankless or conventional water heater—electric, propane or gas—annual maintenance is essential for safety reasons, efficient/reliable operation, and to extend the serviceable life of the appliance. Here’s a great DIY resource giving tips and advice about maintaining water heaters. 

And, here’s a tip: If you have an electric water heater, consider purchasing replacement elements and thermostats (they’re inexpensive) and storing them next to the water heater. In this way, you’re prepared to quickly and easily replace elements/thermostats to restore hot water without making a long trip to the hardware store (fingers crossed that they have what you need). You’ll be a hero restoring hot water quickly, trust me! Finally, if you ever notice that your water heater tank is leaking or corroding, that’s your tell sign that the water heater is at end-of-life and requires replacement ASAP.   

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

MORE HANDYMAN FLUE PIPE WORK: CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT GETS WINDY?

Sometimes, I see the nuttiest things when it comes to handyman repairs. Case-in-point: I recently came across a pair of metal corrugated flue pipes on a rooftop in San Juan County that penetrated the chimney chase.

Aside from having an “alien-like” quality in appearance, they were also not properly terminated or secured.

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: BARREN BOAT

On Saturdays throughout the year, I hope to give you a peek of what I see as a home inspector traveling around San Juan, Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties through photos and videos I’ve taken along the way.

I’m sure if you know or live in Northwest Washington, you probably feel the same about how special it is here. That’s why I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery!  Simply take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitteror Facebook.

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Fun Fact Friday!

  • On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac bun.
  • The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.
  • The bagpipe was originally made from the whole skin of a dead sheep.
  • In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose.

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: FERRY LIFEBUOY & WIN A $20 GIFT CARD!

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 with #AllIslandsLife will have a chance to win some fun prizes, such as a $20 gift card to Starbucks (which happens to be this month’s prize)! 

To be eligible for this first contest and a chance to win a whole lot of caffeine, please tag your imagery by Feb. 25, 2019. We’ll announce the winner in our new, shiny newsletter, so make sure to subscribe using the signup form below.

Subscribe to the All Islands Argus Newsletter

* indicates required
Email Format

View previous campaigns.

Do you have questions or comments about island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).