Last December, many parks on the East Coast and in Wales were torn apart by a series of tidal surges. Although these kinds of conditions are hard to predict, one thing we can expect as we move into November is a significant drop in temperature.
Holiday caravans are less insulated than standard homes and residual water can easily freeze, causing pipes to burst, water to escape and damage to your boiler and holiday home. So with this in mind, now is the time to start thinking about preparing your holiday caravan for winter. Leave things too late and you could return to your park to find substantial damage to your unit.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of winter damage…
Switch off and drain down
If you don’t plan on staying in your static caravan or lodge during winter, before you pack up to leave you should always turn the water off at the stopcock.
Next you need to ensure all equipment is fully drained down. To do this, open caravan drain plugs, turn on the taps and shower, flush the toilet and remove residual water from all equipment. Combi boilers should be drained as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. There’s no need to drain sealed central heating systems containing antifreeze but you should check antifreeze levels at least once a year.
In following these simple steps, you can prevent a burst pipe, leak or worse!
Set central heating system to frost control
If your park remains open in winter months and you plan to use your static caravan or lodge, we suggest leave your central heating system set at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature to avoid frost damage in between your visits to the caravan.
Remember, central heating systems cannot be relied on as the only precaution, as an issue with the pilot light, gas supply or drop in pressure could cause the boiler to fail. You should always turn the water off at the stopcock and follow other precautions (Leisuredays’ customers see prescribed precautions under the section ‘Staying Covered’ below) if leaving your static caravan unoccupied during winter, even if only for a short time.
Carrying out simple precautions is also a great way to ensure your holiday caravan insurance cover remains valid throughout the winter. If you are a Leisuredays customer here are the important dates you need to be aware of and a quick reminder of what to do…
Between 1st November – 15th March whilst your park is closed for winter:
- Turn the water off at the stopcock
- Drain down and winterise all equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
Between 1st November – 15th March whilst your park is open, whenever unoccupied:
- Turn the water off at the stopcock
- Turn on all taps and the shower to let all water out
- Flush toilets, ensuring all water is drained from the cistern
By taking these actions you are ensuring that you minimise damage to your holiday caravan and your policy protects you.
Although the following are not conditions of our insurance policy, you may want to consider these additional precautions to protect a holiday caravan in winter:
- Ensure exposed piping is adequately lagged.
- Add a small amount of antifreeze or salt to remaining water in the toilet, sink, bath and shower traps.
- Leave external water drainage plugs open.
- As mentioned previously, set your central heating system to anti frost setting to avoid frost damage
- Unplug any electrical devices including large white goods.
- Remove any bedding, clothing or soft furnishings from the caravan or lodge completely or store them in a place where air can circulate to avoid damage from damp or mould.
- Prop open all internal doors and cupboards, and slightly pull out all draws to encourage air to circulate.
- Remove or hide from view any valuable items such as Televisions or Hi-Fi’s. Then leave curtains open so that any would-be thieves can see such items have been removed.
- Completely empty and clean any fridges or freezers and leave switched off with the door slightly ajar. Remember to drain any ice or chilled water dispensers built into your fridge.
- Ensure external vents are clear of debris.
- Remove any food stuffs which might attract vermin (mice etc).
- Close and lock all external windows and doors.
- Lubricate door hinges and window locks with a dab of petroleum jelly to ensure they open smoothly when you return.
Have you winterised your caravan? Do you have any winterisation tips to share?
Share them in the comment box below.