HOWEVER British caravans are fully insulated, double glazed and have good heaters so why not go away in winter? – there is a video at the end of this article about winter caravaning.
The following article tells you all you need to know about winterising your caravan.
This article is about winterising your caravan (aka preparing your caravan for winter). Yes, we know you can still caravan in winter, and indeed quite a few people do, but the majority of people store the caravans over the winter months. So this guide is aimed at the winter storage route (although we will cover the winter caravanning in another article).
So, if your caravan is not going to be in use over the winter months, here are some precautionary measures that you can do to winterise it. This will ensure your caravan survives the winter, saving you from costly repairs and ensuring that when you roll it out come springtime, it is practically ready to go.
Winterising the caravan water system
One of the most important things to do when winterising your caravan is to drain the water system. When water freezes it expands, this expansion usually causes water pipes to rupture and causes serious damages to the plumbing components. Draining the system via opening all the taps and removing the drain plug will usually suffice, this will allow gravity to drain the system. There are ways to drain the system via pressure and/or blowing through the system, but seek guidance on those systems and they can damage plumbing components or blow out seals quite easily.
Using the gravity drain method, it can take a while for the system and associated components to completely drain. When it has done so and there is no more water dripping out, replace the drain plug. It is also good practice to leave the taps open, which will prevent a build up of pressure in the plumbing system.
Obviously anything which holds water should be drained, from toilets, waste water tanks, kettles, etc. Anything with standing water risks freezing and expansion.
Winterising inside of the caravan
There are not many issues on on the inside of the caravan when it comes to winter, they can sit there quite happily in prolonged minus conditions. But there are a couple of issues that arise with long term storage, which is also the case of storing your caravan over winter. Mould and stale air is one of the main issues. So everything should be wiped down with an anit-bacterial cleaner to prevent damp or mould spores forming. This includes cupboards, refrigerators/freezers, worktops etc. Cupboards, wardrobes, fridges etc should all be left open to allow air to circulate.
One of the best methods of keeping the interior nice and fresh when in long term storage is the use of a dehumidifier. If you keep a dehumidifier on a low setting in the caravan and check it/empty it every few days or even once a week, this helps enormously. You can generally leave all your soft furnishings and upholstery in the caravan if you have a dehumidifier running through the winter.
If you don’t go down the dehumidifier route, you can remove the largest items of upholstery and store them inside the house to prevent them smelling a bit damp or musty in the spring.
One of the other issues in long term storage is of the rodent variety. Mice. They find ways in anywhere. An empty caravan for 6 months makes a wonderful home to mice. So it is a good idea to bait a few traps on the caravan floor and check them once a week. While it won’t stop mice finding their way in, it will stop them making a nest in your caravan and breeding hundreds more. Personally, I have used many different types of bait, and I could write an entire article on it, but I can tell you one of the most successful I have used is Chocolate spread (like nutella). Mice go crazy for it and they can’t pinch it off the trap like cheese or solid baits, so it is very effective.
To prolong the life of the leisure batteries. Either put the leisure batteries on a trickle charge over winter, or charge them fully then bring them in the house or garage for storage.
Finally, the last point is common sense really, remove valuable items from your caravan and ensure it’s locked and secured.
Winterising outside of the caravan
Its always a good idea to give the caravan a good clean before storage. If you have an awning then washing and thoroughly drying it will ensure it does not get mouldy whilst in winter storage.
Also, although its not as much of a problem these days, it is still good practice to chock the wheels and leave the handbrake off to prevent it sticking.
With regards to tyres, you should check the pressures in the tyres every month or so and inflate them where necessary. You can also roll the caravan forward a foot or two so a fresh part of the tyre is making contact with the floor. This prevents the tyres squaring off.
Also be aware if it snows heavily to remove excess snow of the roof of the caravan.
There is a small amount of effort on your part in winterising your caravan. But it is well worth it in our opinion. It can save a great deal of of money in costly repairs, mice infestations or worse still flooding and or collapsed roofing. It can greatly extend the life of your caravan and everything in it. It is a very worthwhile practice. Also, the more you do it, the easier and faster it becomes.
Originally published on caravan-marketplace.co.uk