To highlight where problems are most common, the PCA has identified ten areas for action.
James Berry, PCA’s technical manager, said: “Autumn is a good time of year to prepare properties for the winter ahead.
“Bad weather can turn small issues into bigger problems if they are not addressed at an early stage.
“By taking action now, emerging problems can be resolved so that they don’t escalate.”
Ten tips from the PCA to protect homes this winter include;
- Think about ventilation – good air quality makes for a pleasant living environment. Winter is a time when air becomes more laden with water, meaning that issues such as condensation, and even damp and mould, can take hold. Ventilation fans and air management systems are at the front line in tackling this, so make sure service and repairs are up-to-date and the correct equipment specified for your property’s needs.
- Keep woodwork protected – If external timber rots or degrades it can mean specialist repairs or even a replacement is needed. Ensure wood is coated with a protective finish, to protect against water and frost.
- Watch chimney flashings– A common property problem is water entering a building at the point where lead flashings meet at the joint with the chimney stack if they are not properly sealed. It can stream into a building, damage wallpaper and other coatings and be generally unpleasant.
- Keep roofs tiptop – Keep on top of roofs by ensuring that any cracked or slipped tiles are dealt with. If the situation is not addressed, then water has an easy route into the property. If there is no secondary underfelt, then the problem can be particularly damaging.
- Make a getaway – Gutters and downpipes need to be properly maintained to ensure they give water a quick escape route from a building. Even a small blockage can cause problems. Drains should be free from moss, leaves and debris. Take the time during a maintenance inspection to check the entire system is properly connected with no faulty joints.
- Pointing and rendering – If damaged, loose or eroded, this can provide a way for water to enter a building, particularly in driving rain. Pay particular attention to the weather-prevailing side of a property.
- Window and doorway openings– Check-out sealing between the frames and masonry as it can deteriorate, providing an area where rain can enter.
- Keep gardens in check – The weather this year has created an environment for vegetation to thrive. Now it should be checked or cut back to prevent its growth into areas such as weak pointing.
- Drains– Gulleys and drains need to be able to let water flow on the fast-track. If it cannot escape, due to leaves and other debris, then localised flooding can occur, particularly during heavy downpours.
- Drives and paths – Again, surface water must drain away from a building quickly, so check and clear away any build-up of leaves on drives and paths.
More details about the Property Care Association can be found at www.property-care.org/