Some people prepare for winter by buying a new coat or getting different tyres fitted to their car. But what about a property? Static caravans, like people, are susceptible to the elements and need special attention during the colder months. Not taking precautions could lead to burst pipes, mould, or even vermin entering your lovely home.
If you are a new caravan owner, winter preparations might seem a little daunting. But fear not! Willerby is here to hold your hand through the process.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caravan ‘drain downs,’ why they’re essential, and how to complete one with ease. So, you can leave your caravan for the winter, safe in the knowledge it will be in tip-top condition when you return in spring.
How can I prepare a static caravan for winter?
The most important thing to do is drain down your caravan. This simply means removing all the water from your caravan’s pipes to prevent damage during a cold snap.
That may sound like something you want to put off, but, trust us, you should make it a priority from early November.
What happens if I don’t drain my caravan?
Failing to drain down your caravan could result in significant, irreversible damage. If water is left in the pipes over winter, there’s a good chance it will freeze, causing the material to burst. A flooded caravan is not the way anyone would want to start their perfect holiday!
Now that we know what drain downs are and why they’re essential — let’s learn how to complete one successfully.
How to drain down a static caravan:
- Turn off the water supply.
First, locate the water pump. This is typically connected from the outside. Turn off the pump and disconnect it to stop the water supply.
- Open the drain down taps.
You will find these underneath your caravan. Remember, there may be multiple sets of drains, so have a good look. Unscrew or remove the taps altogether to open.
- Turn on all taps in your caravan until fully drained.
It may seem counter-intuitive to leave taps running, but make sure they are turned on until completely dry. If you have a mixer tap, leave this open halfway between hot and cold.
- Flush the toilet and turn on the shower until they are fully drained.
This may take some time, so be patient!
- Remove the showerhead and pipe to allow complete drainage.
Sometimes this isn’t possible, but it’s the best way of ensuring all fluids are clear from the shower.
- Blow through the pipes.
If you have access to compressed air, blow through the pipes to get rid of any remaining water.
- Pour non-toxic anti-freeze down the toilet and plug holes.
The anti-freeze will bond with any leftover water residue. It’s worth mentioning that anti-freeze designed for cars may not be suitable, so should use a non-toxic variety for your caravan.
- Make sure all windows and doors are locked
It may seem obvious, but many people often overlook this final step. All it takes is one window left open for damage to occur.
If you’re still unsure how to complete a drain down, some holiday parks offer a winterising service. Other parks may just provide advice. In either case, use this guide as a step-by-step, so you’ve covered all bases.
What else can I do to protect my caravan in winter?
Winterising your caravan prevents mould, mildew and vermin entering your home.
Here’s a handy checklist for keeping your static caravan in good shape:
- Move furniture to the centre of the room, and stand any cushions on end. This improves air circulation.
- Prop open any wardrobes, cupboards and interconnecting doors.
- Place small salt pots around the caravan to absorb moisture and prevent damp.
- Double-check all windows/skylights are closed tight.
- Unplug all white goods.
- Remember to clear out all food from your fridge and cupboards.
- Turn off electricity at the mains.
- Remove all bedding — this makes your caravan less attractive to vermin looking for somewhere warm and cosy to hibernate! It may also be worth investing in vacuum storage bags if you can’t take bedding and other fabrics with you.
- Lag all exterior pipes with insulating foam sleeves to protect them from the freezing temperatures.
- Leave your curtains open. Many static caravan owners do this to prevent break-ins.
- Make sure all gutters are clean and free from debris, allowing water to drain easily.
These are all simple tasks that take minutes to complete, and will save you hassle in the long run!