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News, Real Estate, Santa Monica

Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

Posted Oct. 24, 2012, 2:14 am

Michael Edlen / Real Estate Consultant

As the rainy season is about to begin, it’s a good time to think about home maintenance issues. Since many of the most difficult and costly problems to resolve are water-related, the following actions may result in considerable savings.

If mold, for example, grows as a natural consequence of moisture accumulation in an attic or wall space, it may substantially spread undetected. During the past year alone, many local owners have had remediation and repair costs between $5,000 to more than $50,000. Another example is, if dry rot begins in exposed and unsealed wood beams, it could result in thousands of dollars of wood repairs.

To prepare for the winter season:

• Have your roof inspected. There may be worn or loose shingles, exposed flashings, gaps in vent caulking, inadequately sealed skylights, cracked or missing tiles, or other deteriorating materials.

• Clean all gutters and downspouts now. If rainwater has nowhere to go, and these systems overflow, it can create problems in adjacent roofing materials, walls, or around foundations.

• How is the drainage around your home? Does rain or sprinkler water run freely, or is it directed away from the house on all sides? Could any exterior vents or cracks allow for water seepage?

• Do downspouts dump water at the base of the foundation, or does the water go directly into underground pipes that carry it to the street?

• Does your chimney have a water cap? If not, rain will fall directly into the opening and may get into cracks between mortar joints. By the way, have you had your chimney cleaned recently?

• Check out the weather-stripping around doors and window openings, holes made in walls for new cable and telephone wires, seals around air conditioners installed on the roof or in walls.

• While considering water-related issues, have you recently checked under all counters and cabinets where sinks are installed? There may be small leaks or drips, which can easily be repaired before mold has a chance to grow.

• Be sure to check the caulking around sinks, shower faucets and enclosures, and where tile meets the tub. Caulking helps keep water from getting into walls, cabinets, etc., and causing damage.

• Have you had a pest control/termite inspection in the last year or two? If not, the cost is nominal and they will check attic and under-house areas for dry-rot or other wood-destroying organisms, besides looking for termites and noting if water-related problems could be affecting the house under showers, etc.

• If you have had a satellite dish installed in the last few years, check to see that the holes that were made in your roof or walls to secure the unit were properly sealed. Water will easily flow into the smallest gap or hole!

In preparing for winter, get your heating system serviced. Furnaces should be inspected to ensure that they are safe to operate, and regular maintenance can save money on your utility bills.

Michael Edlen has helped more than 1,000 clients achieve their real estate goals since 1986. More tips and information are available on He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or via email at

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