AS EVENINGS darken and temperatures drop, a trade body is urging householders to protect their homes from seasonal weather.

The Property Care Association says a few simple measures can save a great deal of money and hassle later on.

“Winter weather has a habit of turning small issues into significant problems," said chief executive Steve Hodgson. "For example, a blocked gulley can soon lead to flood damage if heavy rain falls, while exposed timber can start to rot and degrade without some form of protection.

“Our advice is to take the time now to ensure issues don’t escalate into costly repairs and, should a problem occur, to seek out a professional contractor, such as a PCA member, to ensure the works are carried out correctly."

Here are the trade body's pointers for winter:

1 Exposed timber can decay without a protective finish, so make sure any wood outdoors has a barrier to protect against water and frost.

2 Chimneys can provide an entry point for damage at the point where lead flashings meet with the chimney stack. If not sealed tight, water will stream into a property.

3 Cracked or slipped roof tiles provide an easy route for water to enter, and the damage can be exacerbated if there is no secondary underfelt.

4 Check gutters for blockages and ensure drains are free from moss, leaves and debris.

5 Damaged or loose pointing and rendering can let water to enter a building, particularly in driving rain. Pay particular attention to the weather-prevailing side of a property.

6 This year's warm summer may have deteriorated the seals between window frames and masonry. Check to see if there are any gaps where rain could enter.

7 Cut back vegetation to prevent it causing water penetration of external walls or growing into weak pointing.

8 Surface water needs to drain away quickly from homes in heavy downpours, so clear away any build-up of leaves on drives and paths.