Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - HOME ADVICE -

It doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re still en­joy­ing sum­mer sun or live in one of the wet­ter, cooler ar­eas, this is the time to look at win­ter-proof­ing your home.

The old say­ing “a stitch in time saves nine” ap­plies es­pe­cially to prop­er­ties. Putting some­thing right now when it re­mains mild and there is still plenty of day­light to work by is a lot eas­ier and cheaper than wait­ing for the storms and snow that are bound to ex­pose weak­nesses.

Lloyds Bank Home In­sur­ance says: “Win­ter may be the last thing many peo­ple want to think about af­ter the na­tion has basked in a long, hot sum­mer. How­ever, tak­ing some time out now to in­spect your home and carry out some es­sen­tial home main­te­nance can save un­nec­es­sary has­sle and ex­pense fur­ther down the line when the tem­per­a­tures drop.”

In­sur­ers such as Lloyds sug­gest you give your home an an­nual “MOT test”.

Cars can fail on small, easy to fix things, such as a bro­ken light bulb. It’s the same with your home – lit­tle items are im­por­tant as they can lead to worse.

So, pen and pa­per in hand, take a walk around.

Look for leaves and other de­bris in gut­ters which can cause wa­ter over­flows, damp walls and pos­si­ble rot or fun­gus.

In­spect brick­work – if point­ing is miss­ing, it’s easy to re­place. The al­ter­na­tive is damp.

Deal now with small amounts of rot­ten wood – to­day’s two-part fillers work well but if it’s a large prob­lem, you’ll have to re­place.

Put a fresh coat of wood preser­va­tive on gar­den build­ings – you could even change the colour! Re­place any bro­ken shed win­dows – or, at the very least, water­proof them with duct tape.

De­pend­ing on where you live, take in gar­den fur­ni­ture this month or next. It will last much longer. If you can’t store it, buy a pur­pose­made cover – less costly than re­plac­ing ta­bles and chairs – ev­ery year, there are ac­ci­dents when peo­ple sit in wooden chairs which col­lapse from rot.

Fences are often the first ca­su­alty of storms and in­sur­ance gen­er­ally won’t pay. Find­ing some­one to do this work af­ter a win­ter storm can be dif­fi­cult – and ex­pen­sive. So sort it now.

Some­thing wrong with your roof? It’s bet­ter to get it fixed now rather than wait un­til you have a snow and storm cri­sis.

In­doors, check draught-proof­ing on doors and win­dows and also look at light bulbs – re­place those that are bro­ken – you’ll save money with low-en­ergy LEDs.

What might be a rel­a­tively small, quick job now could be a real prob­lem once win­ter sets in

In­sur­ers may not pay out if lack of main­te­nance is to blame for prob­lems. Some jobs you can tackle your­self, such as re­pair­ing a win­dowsill, but if you do need to get a pro in, make sure you find qual­ity trades­peo­ple to do the job

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