Homeowners beware: tenting for termites requires huge amounts of water and power adding expensive, hidden costs. Termite fumigation is standard practice in Hawaii and other places with termites before a property can be sold and for routine maintenance. Our recent experience tenting our off-grid home allowed us to see firsthand how this resource-intensive process works, without any forewarning from the company.
Most home service providers, like carpet cleaners and yard keepers, bring their own tools, fuel and water, but not termite controllers. We were required to provide them with water and electricity for 24 hours while our house was tented and fumigated for termites. Little do we know how much of our water and power they would use. Here’s the breakdown:
Termite treators use water to fill bags that weight down the fumigation tents after they have staked the tents. Each of these bags requires about 10 gallons of water. A tent for an average-sized house could use up to 100 bags. Our 1,000-square foot cottage needed about 50 bags, or 500 gallons of water. Think kid-sized swimming pool.
They also needed water to blow across the fans. They turned on our spigot and turned it off about 12 hours later. This used over 3,000 gallons of water and drained our water tank dry. This nearly burned out our water pump.
They also required continuous 24-hour electricity to power the fans and blowers. They drew from our 7,000-watt generator and solar power system. All together, fumigation sucked back about 100 KwH of electricity. This is equivalent to 3-5 days extra days of power usage for a typical household in the US. It’s like adding another week to your power bill.