Over summer, there’s not too much that can go wrong in your static caravan. Plus, if it does, you’re more likely to be there to sort it out or limit the damage.
But what about in the winter when you may not be there? What can you do to help prevent damage happening in the first place and make sure you come back to your caravan with it in the same state you left it.
We’re here at Cheddar Bridge campsite to walk you through some handy tips for protecting your static caravan over winter. Not only from the serious stuff like water leaks but from the little cosmetic stuff too. Follow these tips and when you come back to your ‘van for the summer, you can start enjoying yourself straight away.
Air the caravan out
On the last day of your time in your caravan, open all the doors and windows to let some fresh air around the caravan. You’ll probably want to do this any way as you’ll be cleaning and will probably prefer the smell of fresh air to the smell of cleaning products!
Secure the caravan
Locking the front door would be a pretty silly thing to forget, but while you’ve got all your windows open to air the caravan out, it’s worth checking the locks and seals to make sure the windows are equally secure. It’s worth doing this a week or two before you leave for the winter to give yourself time to fix anything which may be broken.
It’s also wise to take anything valuable home with you and open wardrobes and bedroom doors. This will show anyone looking to break in that there’s nothing of value left to take. Also, leaving internal doors open will help improve the airflow around the caravan while you’re away.
Keep it clean
No one wants to start their summer with cleaning, so make sure you leave the caravan as clean as possible before you leave. There are also a few things you can do to stop the caravan getting mildewy and grubby while you’re away.
Remove net curtains and pull regular curtains back to stop them getting quite so moist from condensation over the winter.
In the bedrooms, you can vacuum pack duvets, sheets and pillows to stop them smelling of damp or getting dusty. You can pick up vacuum storage bags for next to nothing and you’ll save yourself storage space too.
Keep out unwanted guests
One of the great things about owning a static caravan is that they’re usually located in or near a wooded or grassy area. That of course means you will be sharing that area with the odd bit of wildlife. Generally, the wildlife will stay where it’s supposed to but occasionally, it will come indoors, make itself a cup of tea and put its feet up.
To stop this happening, you can block the various gaps in the caravan which may let little critters in. This includes checking sky lights, roof and chassis for loose joints and gaps. You can even drain down the toilet and stuff it with newspaper to stop any hardy insects coming up from below. You can do the same for your sinks by simply putting the plugs in.
Preventing frozen pipes
This is an important one. If the winter is harsh, left over water in pipes can freeze, expand and split pipes. The water then continues to flow and floods your caravan.
Some sites will offer a drain down service at a relatively small cost. However, you can do it yourself with relative ease and for free!
There are a few stages to this.
First, shut off the water supply at the stop cock. If there's no drain down tap you should disconnect the pipe above the stop cock so that water in the pipes is free to drain down.
If there are any drain down taps, find them under the caravan and open them. These are generally under the kitchen and bathroom areas but your caravan handbook should provide the location.
Next, turn on all the taps, including the shower and leave them on.
Once the water has finished flowing, put the plugs in all sinks and shower trays to prevent any wildlife from setting up home for the winter.
Check with the handbook to see how to drain the water heater. There should be a drain down valve on the water pipe.
Now the water is switched off, flush the toilet. This empties most of the water from the cistern you just need to makes sure that any water left has been treated with the antifreeze.
Disconnecting the gas supply
Disconnecting the gas is another very important task but is far simpler than draining down your caravan.
Simply turn off and disconnect the bottled gas supply and store the canister safely. It is important not to leave the gas connected. Some people light one of the gas rings once they’ve disconnected the gas supply until the flame dies they can be certain there's no gas left in the piping.
Of course there is loads more you can do to prepare your static caravan for winter so join the discussion on our Facebook page or search the website for more tips, guides and videos.