Wow, what a week of wacky weather we had here in the great Pacific Northwest. Wind and rain and earthquakes oh my. The current weather situation and the threat of up coming freezing and snow had me out looking at my grandmothers house along with my own house along with all the other's that we look at each week. I have to say the wind storms do make for some interesting maintenance. I know it must sound like I'm beating a dead horse when it comes to cleaning out gutter systems but it really is important. I clean my own about every three months but after the most recent round of storms I had to do it again while I was checking the roof for damage and removing the occasional branches. I also had to go over and clean grandma's gutters for the same reasons. They fill up with leaves and other debris (you would be amazed at how many tennis balls I throw out of them in the average week) faster than most people realize and cause more damage than most people realize as well. Take a few minutes and get up there and clean those gutters. You are probably going to be up there hanging some lights anyway and can kill two birds with one ladder.
Speaking of freezing weather, it is also a good time to start thinking about winterizing. "Winterizing, an interesting word but what does it mean?" Good question and it means different things to different situations. For the average home owner here in Washington it means keeping your pipes from freezing, keeping critters out of your crawlspaces, maybe installing some storm windows and an Irish coffee. You should pay close attention to your hose bibs, crawlspace piping and if you have a tank-less water heater installed in the attic or outside the house pay close attention to the lines coming and going to it. Last winter I saw a lot of these units freeze up. If you are an REO listing agent, then winterizing means an entirely different thing. If the house is going to sit over the winter with the power and other utilities you have an entirely different set of issues. There were so many houses that either didn't get winterized last year or didn't get winterized properly that it literally haunted us all year. This year's record for the amount of plumbing leaks in a single house for us was fourteen (14). Yes that's right 14 leaks in a single house. It isn't enough to just shut off the water supply. You have to blow all of the supply lines empty with compressed air and put antifreeze in all of the traps (don't forget the dishwasher) to prevent damage. Also don't forget to re-winterize the house after it has been inspected unless you are going to keep the heat on. Hope this helps and don't put it off too long. You don't want to be left out in the cold after all. Have a great week.
Sincerely, Matt Sorensen WestCoast Home Inspection.