Judging by the rain that is sweeping up the street outside in bouncing sheets and the fact that I had to do the 100-metre dash from the car this morning, I think it is safe to say that the first hint of winter is in the air.
While Winter is no reason for you to put away your caravan, in fact it can be a great time to take advantage of the quieter resorts and tourist attractions and we know a few people who love to spend Christmas out and about, we know that many of our customers wave good-bye to us at the end of Summer until the spring. If you do put the ‘van away for the Winter then you really must make sure you close it up for the cold weather.
Winter proofing your caravan isn’t that difficult but you do need to make sure you do it right. For the last few years we have been quite lucky with the cold seasons and it’s been quite mild. However even a short cold snap can do a lot of damage and there are other considerations as well.
For the next couple of articles we will be looking at the winter ritual of putting away the van until spring.
- Drain, drain, drain. The water system is the area where you are most likely to see problems if you don’t do this right. Using the drain plug (see your handbook for where this is) open the system and let it completely drain out. New systems will drain faster but it can still take a while to finish entirely. Some people hitch up and take the caravan around the block a few times to jiggle out the last drops.
- Clean and de-crumb. A bit of elbow grease is needed around the fridge and cupboards. Make sure you get all the food and any spillage out. Bags of dried foodstuffs like raisins for example will sometimes attract vermin, but tins are OK left in the caravan. Using an anti-bacterial cleaner is a good idea for the fridge.
- Toilet routine. You should have some documentation on draining your toilet and again it is vital you fully drain it. You will probably also need to remove any cartridges or similar.
- Check all the vents are closed and secure. Open vents and windows are like signs to a dream home for spiders and mice. Also, there is always the chance that water will build up in them and by Spring you may have mildew problems.
- Pack up the cushions. If you can remove the cushions and other soft furnishings it is best to do so and bring them indoors.
- Don’t close it up. It is best to leave internal doors and cupboards open for the winter. A closed door doesn’t let the air circulate and you could find yourself with a pretty stale smelling van come spring.
- Plug up the holes. Remember to replace the inlet and outlet seals when you are done. Moisture will build up other wise and you may find yourself the host of some unwelcome creepy crawlies.
- Take away the bits and bobs. Don’t forget to remove the water filter, battery (for regular topping up over the Winter) and all your portable electrical equipment.
OK, that is a brief checklist. As always please read your handbook for the manufacturers recommendations and please get in touch if you need advice.
In the next article we will look at the outside of the caravan.