One of the joys of owning a caravan is the ease with which you can take a break, at a moment’s notice, at any time of year. However, for many caravan owners, late autumn is the season when it’s time to take a rest from touring until the better weather arrives in spring. If you’re planning to give your caravan the winter off, then it’s essential to prepare it properly so that it welcomes next year’s adventures in as good a condition as it is now.
Carry Out A Thorough Clean
Over the course of a winter, any traces of dirt or bacteria left behind can lead to a mildew problem or worse, so give your caravan a deep, thorough clean. Disinfect all appropriate surfaces, and vacuum all upholstery, curtains, and carpets. Empty cupboards of all contents so that you can vacuum and wipe them clean, and only replace dry and non-perishable items. Turn off the refrigerator, empty it of all contents, and then wipe through with disinfectant before leaving the door ajar until it’s to be used again. Finally, clean the hob and/or oven thoroughly using a de-greasing cleaning fluid. Ensure all surfaces are totally dry before closing your caravan.
Drain the Water System
If your caravan is going to be left inactive over winter, then avoiding burst pipes will reduce the chances of springtime heartache. To reduce this risk, switch off any pumps or heating systems, and then open all the taps and shower heads to let air into the system and increase draining efficiency. Next, drain the vehicle’s fresh water tank per instructions. Once draining is complete, leave all taps and shower heads in an open position over winter, so that any small amount of remaining water in the system has room to expand if it freezes. Also, remember to drain the waste water system, and use plugs in sinks and the shower basin to stop smells from entering the living area during the months of inactivity.
It’s advisable to keep you caravan’s vents open to allow circulation of air, but only if your vehicle is being kept in a relatively sheltered location. Vents should be left shut if there is a chance of rain or snow being blown in, or in locations with a high salt content in the air. It may be possible to leave vents open on a sheltered side of your caravan, while closing them against the prevailing wind. It’s also a good idea to leave some water-absorbing crystals inside your vehicle to reduce condensation build-up, but only if you have regular access to replace saturated crystals.
Power and Fuel
Before any extended break, all self-powered devices should have their batteries removed to prevent leakage. Unless your caravan needs a power source through the winter, for example to operate a security system, then the main battery should also be removed and stored in a safe, dry, cool location. The same applies to LPG canisters and other fuel containers.
Finally, choose as suitable a spot as possible for over-wintering. Although your options may be limited, it’s best not to leave your caravan under tree branches, or close to slated roofs, where there’s a risk of damage being sustained in a storm. In particularly exposed areas, some form of tethering may be a good idea to stop your vehicle being blown over, while if possible do not keep your caravan in a location at risk of flooding.
If all the above steps are carried out carefully, your caravan should spend the winter safely, and be ready to go when the days get longer and it’s time to hit the road again.