Advice to Keep your Caravan Safe this Winter
Well, I am sad to say the summer season is over already and the sunshine seems to have hidden behind the clouds for the last week or so in favour of rain. Christmas will be here sooner than we know it and it will be time to firstly remember to turn off our water supply each time we leave over the autumn months and then it will be time to winterise our caravans.
For many new owners, it’s a daunting prospect, so here’s a quick guide to help you.
Why do I need to turn off the water?
Most insurance policies will stipulate that you MUST turn your water off at the stop cock and open your taps each time you leave your caravan vacant between 31st October and 1st March. If you don’t and something happens, you won’t be covered so always remember to do it before you go.
It’s quite simple and takes a couple of minutes. Locate your stop cock under the caravan and turn it in to the off position. Then nip back inside and open up all the taps to remove residual water in the pipes. When you return, turn the stop cock back on again after you’ve closed the taps.
Why do I need to Drain Down?
Here in the UK, temperatures fall below freezing point over the closed season and this means if there is water in your caravan’s pipework, the boiler, the cistern, pan and shower, it’s at risk of freezing. Consequently, your pipes could burst and other damage can occur such as cracked sanitary ware, damaged boilers and burst shower valves; resulting in floods when the water is reconnected.
A drain down will remove all water from your caravan’s system and will ensure items such as boilers, showers and toilets are prepared accordingly. A drain down comprises disconnection of the water supply, disassembly of your shower fittings, a blow through of the system to remove hot and cold water, disconnection and drain down of the water heater in non-centrally heated vans and the anti-freeze levels topped up in centrally heated vans and anti-freeze is placed in key areas such as the toilet pan and cistern and the shower and sink traps.
Don’t take the risk, always drain down. Your holiday park will offer this service but you can also use your own insured contractor. If you’re an owner at Hopton, message me for details.
So, what is Winterisation?
Winterisation is basically preparing your caravan for the winter/closed season to protect it as much as possible. It takes a little bit of time but it is worth it. Condensation can cause mould and mildew damage that looks and smells horrible. It’s important to minimise it and contain as much moisture as possible, here’s our 20 top tips to help to avoid problems:
- Turn off the stop cock
- Arrange a drain down via Haven or privately
- Buy damp traps and/or put bowls of salt in every room
- Vacuum pack up your duvets, linen and soft furnishings
- Take down your voiles/curtains to prevent mould
- Raise any blinds to help prevent damage to the mechanism
- Roll up rugs
- If you have a sofa bed, open it out fully
- Place all your sofa cushions on the sofa bed in a pile away from the walls
- Move mattresses away from external walls
- Open internal doors and cupboard doors to aid airflow
- Ensure air vents are open and not covered
- Disconnect shower hose and head
- Remove all food from cupboards, fridge and freezer
- Open the fridge and freezer doors and wedge open, unplug them too
- Remove valuables and wrap your audio-visual equipment to prevent moisture getting in
- Lock your external windows, skylights and doors
- Turn on your alarm if you have one
- Put up a no valuables left here poster
- Check and clean gutters
If you have any other winterisation top tips for owners, please share them in the comments box below.