The UK is moving quickly into the winter months so getting your motorhome, caravan or static caravan prepared now is important.
Some will want to carry on camping through the wind rain and snow. Some campers will want to store their caravan or motorhome for the winter months and for these people it’s the ideal time to winterise.
Spending time doing these things on your motorhome, caravan or static caravan will ensure it’s kept in tip-top condition with no nasty insurance claims. The cold weather can cause problems such as freezing water in pipes, engines seizing up and tyres deflating.
Here at Coast Insurance, we thought that we would offer you some advice to help you when it comes to preparing your caravan static caravan or motorhome for the winter. From draining your water systems, to where you should store your caravan, this guide will hopefully come in handy at this time of year, when the frost begins to bite.
The most common damage that occurs is water freezing and burst pipes. If you leave water in the system over the colder months then it can freeze and cause damage to the pipes. You will need to drain the water form the system.
When draining the water from your caravan or static caravan you will want to begin by turning on all of your taps. If you have mixer taps turn them to a middle position so as to drain both hot and cold water.
You should also open all of the drain valves and remove any of the drainage plugs, which are usually on the exterior of the caravan. Be patient as this draining process can take up to an hour. Some people find it useful to remove the plug after their last trip of the season, allowing it to drain on the journey home.
Leave all taps open as this prevents a build up of pressure. Pay attention to internal water tanks, onboard pumps, basically, you are trying to remove any traces of water from your caravan.
This will include the toilet. If you have a cassette toilet then you will want to thoroughly drain it and clean it before you store the caravan for winter. You should then drain the flushing tank. You can do this using the drain tube – if it has one. If it doesn’t then you should simply flush as much water as you can through the system and into the cassette waste tank, which can then be removed and emptied out.
Your gas systems require as much care and attention as your water systems. It’s very important that you close the gas valves on the top of your cylinders and disconnect your regulators. You should fit cloths or caps over the ends of any pipework that’s left open.
Gas cylinders should be stored carefully out in the open and away from buildings. They should be kept away from heat and corrosive, toxic or oxidant materials, they should be kept at least two meters away from open drains. It is very important that you switch off any engines and electrical equipment before you begin handling the gas cylinders.
It is a good idea to hook your caravan up to a 230V electricity supply during the winter as this allows you to keep your battery nice and healthy and to power up your heating every now and then. If you’re leaving your leisure battery in the caravan, then you should ensure that it is isolated from all 12V equipment. You can do this by using its isolation switch or by simply disconnecting it.
Switch off all electrical goods that are a battery drain. If you have a TV aerial booster, make sure that this is disconnected too for the same reasons.
If you are able to, remove the battery and take it home with you, charging it every five or six weeks – once a battery becomes fully discharged, its storage capacity will never be able to be fully restored.
Prevent mould and damp inside your caravan or static caravan. The last thing you want is to return to a mouldy interior come spring. Air circulation is paramount. Keep blinds open, the fridge door open.
Give your caravan a clean. This will ensure there is no mould already growing and you may find that odd packet of biscuits in the cupboard you forgot about, you don’t want to leave those in there for the winter.
Take as much of the soft furnishings home with you. If this isn’t possible prop cushions upright not touching walls. You can get breathable covers for the furnishings you can’t remove.
It is always a good idea to give the whole outside of your caravan a thorough clean, it’s a good idea to use substances that are specifically designed for use on caravans. It’s also best to avoid using pressure washers as they can damage your caravan pretty quickly. When cleaning thoroughly you will spot damage. This needs to be addressed before the winter. A good wax will keep the wet off the paintwork.
It’s never a good idea to leave the tyres resting on the same piece of tread for long periods of time. You should think about turning the wheels every six weeks or so, just to prevent any lasting damage occurring. Sunlight can also be damaging to rubber, so it is worth ensuring that no direct sunlight is on your tyres during the winter months. Don’t use plastic bags to cover your tyres as it may cause condensation to build up.
You could remove the wheels and support the axles with axle stands for a period, storing the tyres somewhere safe and dry. If you do decide to do this, however, it is worth bearing in mind that some caravan insurance policies will not cover you in this instance.
If you are going to use a cover then it must be a breathable one, this will give your caravan extra protection over the winter months. The other option is a waxy protective coating that can be applied before winter at low cost and cleaned off in spring with ease.
Most people will either store their caravan at home or inside some form of storage facility. These facilities tend to be specialist storage sites or campsites. This will offer you added security during the colder months and will allow you a bit more space on your driveway.
A caravan storage site can help you store your caravan or motorhome through the winter. The Caravan Storage Site Owners Association is a great place to start.
Before paying for storage make sure you are happy with where it will be stored, ie not under a tree, avoiding any potential damage. As well as checking the plot on which your caravan will be stored, you will also want to look into the other things on offer. Will your caravan have access to battery charging facilities for example? All of this is worth checking out beforehand.
Lastly, Don’t let it become out of site out of mind. Make sure your caravan insurance doesn’t run out during the winter months. Give us a call at Coast Insurance we will be happy to help you with all your insurance needs.