TOP TIPS: Protect your home this winter

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As the dark nights draw in, The Property Care Association – the trade body for building preservation in the UK – has drawn up a list of simple steps householders can take to stop winter taking its toll on their homes.

It has highlighted five areas where property owners can take action now to stop future problems in their tracks.

• Drains – Make sure drains remain clear of leaves and other debris, to enable water to escape from a building quickly, particularly during heavy downpours.

• Roofs – Check lead-work and roof tiling is in good condition and able to withstand the wind as well as rain. If anything is loose or worn, water will find its way in.

• Gutters – Make sure these are free from moss, leaves and other debris – and all properly connected up – to give water a fast exit from the building.

• Pointing – Monitor a property’s pointing and rendering regularly, as this is another area that can cause problems.

• Chimneys – Poor flashing on chimney breasts can let water stream into a property – so check this area out before the weather turns.

Mr Steve Hodgson, general manager of the PCA, said: “This information offers some simple steps homeowners can take to protect their property against the winter weather.

“By dealing with problems at an early stage, homeowners could ward off the need for more extensive repairs in the future.

“The key is to inspect regularly and prevent water entering a building.

“If in doubt, contact a member of the PCA, to get the problem accurately diagnosed.”

The PCA is a member of TrustMark the scheme supported by the Government, to help property owners find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make home improvements.