Sustainability Now

Welcome Fall!

Welcome to Fall! Now let’s get our homes ready for the change in season. Given early Fall’s mild weather, it is the best time to work on some of those exterior projects. A bit of early prevention is sure cheaper than repairing water damage later.

So, lets take it from the top; climb up on the roof (or get a young and healthy helper) to check the flashings (the metal stuff) around your vent pipes sticking up out of your roof. If you see any holes, go get some of the roofing tar sold in buckets from a home improvement store. Are there any missing shingles? Rainwater coming in through the roof will always ruin your day, not to mention your pocketbook. And while you’re up there, make sure the chimney hasn’t moved. Don’t laugh, they do, and the holes created or falling brick can be a serious bummer.

Head back down to the edge of the roof; how do the gutters and downspouts look? Full of leaves and other debris? Clear them out. If the water from your roof can’t flow off, it will find another way down, and that will probably be into your walls. Much better to give water a clear path into the gutter and down spout and away from your home. Does your downspout end right next to your house? You don’t want all that water rotting away at your home’s foundation. Pick up one of those inexpensive (plastic) diverters to move the water at least a couple of feet away. That little investment will be a whole lot less than hiring an engineer and contractor to rebuild a section of your home’s foundation.

Missing (some) gutters? Now would be a good time to shop around. Gutters and properly directed downspouts are possibly the single most important device protecting a home’s foundation from rain damage. Water should always be directed at least two feet away from the foundation.

Since you have the ladder out, also check above and around all your windows and doors. If you see any cracks, pick up a can of silicone, not just the inexpensive caulk and fill in all around the cracks. Water loves to slip in behind windows and rot out walls.  Once you are on the ground, take a walk around your house and look for any cracks, holes or opening on or above the foundation walls. Pay special attention to where pipes or wires go through the walls. If you see any holes, use more of that silicone and fill them in. Then check the walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering. When paint begins to do that, it no longer works as a protection against winter’s elements. Keeping your house in tip-top shape is greener and cheaper than rebuilding damaged sections. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Dav Camras is the owner of HouseSmart Green Solutions (, has extensive experience in the technical aspects of green science with an MS in water and wastewater treatment, certifications as a HERS Whole House Rater, Certified Green Building Professional and BPI- Building Analyst. To promote greener living, Dav started HSGS, a home energy consulting firm.