The leaves are starting to fall from the trees, the fireworks are in the shops and there is a distinct chill in the air. That means it’s the end of the caravanning season and time to start thinking about putting your caravan away for the colder months. But it’s not just as simple as parking your caravan up for the winter. Here is our handy guide to getting your caravan safely through the winter months:
Is it safe?
Check with your insurer before storing your caravan for the winter. If you are storing it away from its usual spot you need to know it’s still covered by the insurance. If you are renting somewhere, check with the owner they have public liability and occupiers’ liability. You may also want to fit a security lock to one of the wheels whilst it is stored and do check all the windows and roof lights are closed and secure.
Does it need a checkup?
This can be the perfect opportunity to get your caravan serviced before putting it to bed for the winter. Here at Roundstone Caravans we can perform a routine service for you as well as a number of other services including damp checks to ensure you do not return to a mouldy caravan come the Spring!
Where will it go?
You may be keeping the caravan at home or you might be renting a pitch for it over the winter period. Wherever you decide to put it, check the area carefully. Make sure it is away from any trees where sap could drip or branches could fall and damage the caravan. We get a great deal of rain in the UK over the winter months so you don’t want to leave it in a low lying area which may flood. Finally, ensure that it is away from buildings where roof tiles may slip off and hit the caravan as this could be very costly to sort out.
Clean and tidy inside?
Before putting your caravan away for the winter give it a really good clean inside. Vacuum the floors and wipe the ceilings and walls down with an antibacterial agent. Put the blinds up so the springs don’t stretch whilst they are not used for a while and take soft furnishings out and store them elsewhere if possible. If not, use dustcovers and pull down fixed beds and lift mattresses to allow airflow to all areas. Empty and clean all the cupboards thoroughly so as not to attract vermin and leave the fridge and cupboard doors ajar. Spray WD40 on any hinges, wiping away the excess and open all the vents, again to allow air flow around the caravan.
What about the utilities?
Electrics – leave these on if possible so you can fire up the heating a few times over the winter. If this is not possible then disconnect all plugs and isolate the electrics. Remove the battery and take it home to keep it charged and in good condition. If you have security dependent on the battery being in place, leave it in the caravan and charge it every six weeks to ensure it will work.
Gas – turn the electrics off whilst disconnecting this. Close the valve, ensure the pipes are safe and tangle free and store the cylinder in the gas locker. Make sure the cylinder is 2 meters from any ignitable material and away from toxic and corrosive substances. It should not be near any heat sources or buildings.
Water – the water needs to be off but the taps should be left on to air the system. Mixer taps should be positioned in the middle and open all plugs and drains. Any filters should be removed and you can sterilise these over the winter whilst the caravan is in storage. Clear the pumps so there is no water remaining and clean all water containers really well to ensure they do not become mouldy over the winter.
Waste – the waste tanks need to be emptied fully and cleaned before the caravan is put away. The system should be thoroughly flushed through and the valve blade cleaned and dried then lubricated before being left partly open.
What about the outside?
if you caravan has any awnings then these should be washed and dried throughly before storing for the winter. Watch out for any lubricant drips or leaks on poles as these could stain the awning during storage.
Do not pressure wash your caravan as this can be too harsh on the paintwork. You should use a specialist caravan cleaner to wash the vehicle to ensure it does not scratch or damage the outside. An overwinter wax coating can offer additional protection against the elements. if you really want to look after it. Whilst you are cleaning the caravan, do check for damage that needs repairing before the winter and also for damp patches as these can cause mould if left untreated. Roundstone Caravans offer damp checks if you need assistance with this.
A cover is important to protect your caravan from the harsh winter weather – a purpose made one is best as it will fit perfectly and all the vents etc will be in exactly the right place to ensure airflow whilst it is covered. If you do not have a purpose made cover then please make sure you use a breathable cover as they encourage mould and collect moisture – you don’t want to take the cover off in Spring to find a nasty surprise waiting for you! The colour can also make a difference – a green cover can blend in more, deterring would be thieves as it does not highlight the caravan as much as a white cover.
So that’s it then until Spring?
Not quite – you’ll need to check your caravan every six weeks during the winter period. The tyres need to be turned to ensure they are not damaged by resting in the same place for several months. Plus if you haven’t removed the battery, this will need charging too and if the electrics are connected then a quick blast of the heating will help keep the caravan nice and dry inside. It’s also worth making these regular checks just in case mould is starting to take hold as you can take early preventative action.
Need some more help with over-wintering your caravan? Don’t worry; our team of friendly professionals will be happy to help you. It’s this kind of customer service that stands us apart from the rest. Come and visit us in Southwater, West Sussex or call us on 01403 730218