VIDEO: How to drain down your static caravan

With winter fast approaching it’s time to think about how to protect your static caravan or lodge. In this video, we visit Hoburn Cotswolds to show you the steps to take to drain down your holiday caravan to prevent frost damage.

Draining down is an important step when winterising your static caravan. It’s also a Leisuredays’ policy condition between November 1st and March 15th to help prevent damage to the static caravan or holiday lodge.

If your park is closing for winter you need to make sure you turn off the water at the stopcock and fully drain down and winterise all equipment.

Here’s are the steps to take: 

Step 1 

Switch off your heater.

static caravan immersion heater

If you have an electric immersion heater switch off the power to the unit. If you have a gas combination boiler, select the frost setting on the boiler and turn the central heating down to the lowest setting.  

setting heating to frost setting

Step 2 

Find your mains water stop cock under the caravan.

Draining down - turn off water at stopcock

Turn this off and if you can, disconnect the water feed from your caravan. This can be done by simply unscrewing the pipe. 

disconnecting static caravan stop cock_drain down

With the water disconnected, nip back inside and open all the taps, including the kitchen sink, wash basins, showers and any en-suite sinks you might have.

drain down_opening taps

Start by opening the hot water tap and allowing the water to drain completely. This can take some time, so be patient.

Repeat this process for the cold water tap.  Then leave all the taps open. If you have any mixer taps, leave them open halfway between hot and cold.  

Static caravan mixer taps

Step 3 

Go back outside and open the drain down taps underneath your caravan. There might be more than one set of taps and they’re normally found under the rooms which have a water supply, such as kitchen, bathroom and en-suites.

Drain down points _static

Be careful when draining hot water, this can still be very hot if the boiler has been recently used. If you’re unsure leave this for an hour or so before opening the drain down taps.  

Draining down_opening taps

You can either unscrew the taps to allow water to flow out, or remove the taps completely. Once disconnected, place the taps in a bowl or in a tray and leave them on the floor in the caravan. 

drain down taps on static caravan

Check to make sure you don’t have any non-return valves underneath the caravan. If you’re not blowing air through the water pipes then these need to be removed. If you’re unsure ask your park owner.

If you have a combi boiler, you might also have a sealed central heating system. You don’t need to drain this down. Sealed central heating systems contain anti-freezeTo check the levels of anti-freeze, refer to your heating handbook

combi boiler label

Central heating drain down taps are usually bigger than water drain taps, and are clearly marked. However, if you are unsure about any parts of the combi boiler, contact your park owner for help

Step 4 

Once the water has drained down, pour some non-toxic anti-freeze solution down the plugholes – just a small amount to mix with residual water from the U-bends under the sinks. Repeat this process for the en-suite and all showers. Make sure you use anti-freeze which is non-toxic, like polypropylene glycol. DO NOT use car anti-freeze.

drain down adding anti-freeze

Flush the toilets and open the cistern. Fill with anti-freeze and again pour some down the toilet.  

Step 5 

Remove the shower head, and the shower pipe and disconnect the mixer tap from the incoming pipes.

 drain down_disconnecting shower

Before leaving your static caravan make sure any exposed pipes are lagged, remove bedding and leave moisture traps to prevent damp. 

 static caravan lagged pipes

Finally, make sure all external windows, doors and skylights are closed and locked. 

If your park is open during the winter months and you’re staying in your caravan, you don’t have to perform all the steps we’ve shown. However, each time you leave your caravan unoccupied make sure you still turn off the water at the stopcock, and open all taps and the shower to let the water out, as well as flushing the toilets. 

Your park might offer a drain down service and there are also devices, like Floe, available on the market to help with draining down static caravans and lodges.  

It’s also important to remember that along with a draining down service, your park might offer a service re-connection too.

Remember, whenever you’re not staying in your static caravan you’ll need to remain drained down between 1st November and 15th March for your Leisuredays insurance to remain valid.  

26 comments on “VIDEO: How to drain down your static caravan

  1. Thank you so much, with work commitments, not been able to get down to my new caravan, this information has helped immensely.

  2. You should state that car antifreeze is illegal to use and it must be the correct type for caravans. You can be fined several thousand pounds for polluting the drains.

    1. Thank you for that. Please suggest where you can purchase anti freeze suitable for caravans. All the ones I’ve looked at are for cars. Thank you.

        1. You can also use common salt. This lowers water’s freezing temperature, in ‘U’ bends etc. Just a small amount should suffice. Better than nasty chemicals.

          1. Dislike chemicals so pleased with your comment
            How much common salt do I use and where?

  3. As a retired plumber and a seasoned caravaner I have always carried out my own drain down for the winter without any problem,after watching your video that is exactly what I have done over the years.It is also a good idea to turn off the main stop tap when you are away during the summer as a precaution.Faults can happen any time.

  4. I have drained down as per the video but I’ve also added an air valve that i connect to a car tyre pump which blows every last bit of water out. Seeing as my gas combi boiler (Worcester) has no user water, only the radiator water, is it ok to turn the heating on without refilling it? If so i could just boil the kettle for hot water during short weekend visits saving having to drain it down each time. I have a remote thermostat which showed -6 deg recently so i could turn the heating on remotely so my van would be nice and warm on arrival

  5. Hello, first year with a static so found this article very useful.
    So just looking at buying the
    polypropylene glycol keep finding
    propylene glycol which seems to have different chemical makeup.
    Could anyone recommend which make to buy and where from please.

  6. I have heard of putting salt in U bends and toilet cisterns instead of anti freeze any thoughts on this.

  7. I have been using washing up liquid mixed with a little bit of water in the toilet and drain holes our park only shuts for two weeks

  8. A few other tips not mentioned, use wd40 on sink push down plugs and keep closed. Make cover for shower plug hole and seal. Place news paper down toilet to prevent anything coming up. After toilet has been fully drained of water passed the bend. Finally close off all gas valves and gas cylinders.

  9. I have trace heating installed on my lodge. Can you tell me if this makes any difference to your recommendations for draining down, or to your requirements for insurance purposes.

    1. Hi John, no it doesn’t make any difference to our drain down requirements if trace heating is installed. You still need to take the necessary drain down steps when leaving your caravan from Nov 1st to March 15th.

  10. I’ve followed your useful guide whenever I needed to drain down. However, this time when I turned the taps on no water came out. I had been using them over the previous 24 hours. Is this a cause for concern? Am I covered by the insurance?

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