Storing Your Caravan Over Winter
With Christmas festivities behind us and the new year upon us, we are sure to expect some of the UK's coldest weather in the not too distant future. For those of you who are waiting it out for the warmer spring and summer months ahead, storing your caravan correctly is a must. Join us today as we take a look at the best ways that you can keep your caravan in great condition during storage this winter, so it is fresh and ready for spring.
If you have read any of our previous articles on keeping your caravan mould free and dry during periods of non-use, you will know how important airflow and ventilation is. But, there is such a thing as too much ventilation. Firstly, leaving too big a hole in your caravan (such as a window slightly open) can make a handy entrance for anything from the neighbours' cat to thieves. We recommend leaving all windows and doors firmly closed during any period of storage. Most modern caravans will be fitted with a sufficient number of vents to allow for optimum airflow. If you notice your caravan does not have any vents or airflow ports make sure you install some before leaving your caravan unused for any lengthy periods.
Air vents allow air to pass through a caravan and stop the build-up of moisture by allowing humid air to escape. The supply of fresh air to your caravan will also help avoid bad smells accumulating inside. All of the air vents in your caravan should be uncovered to allow optimum airflow. You should also remove as many of the soft furnishings from your caravan as possible and keep them in a cool dry place throughout the storage period. If you are unable to get some of the furnishings out of your caravan, make sure they are away from the walls. Walls can sometimes attract moisture and experience a build-up of condensation which over time will affect their integrity.
Before leaving your caravan in storage, make sure you give the inside a thorough clean including hoovering to pick up any crumbs which could attract mould or even rodents. This will make sure your caravan is nice and fresh when you come back to it in the spring. Finally, switch off, empty, and clean your fridge. You should also open the door to allow air to circulate - do the same with any wardrobes, cupboards, and draws.
Dry it Out
The damage that can be caused by frost and ice should never be underestimated. Throughout storage in the wintertime a caravan is exposed to the harshest conditions the British weather can throw at it – this includes sub-zero temperatures. Freezing weather might be the cause of a few cold fingers, but it can do a whole lot more to the water systems in your caravan. When water freezes into ice it expands, and if that expansion is in a sealed unit (like the water pipes in your caravan) it won’t think twice about creating its own pressure relief valve – in the form of a big crack in your pipework!
To avoid the risk of freezing damage, the best solution is to remove the culprit and get that water out of there! This means fully draining down your caravan water systems. Thankfully there are specially developed drain down kits that can be used to easily remove any water from the tanks and pipes of your caravan. You should also make sure your taps are turned on and the showerhead is removed to avoid the chance of any water being trapped. Don’t forget to empty the toilet too! Once you are satisfied all of the water has been removed you can replace any water tank lids to stop anything from getting inside them.
While caravans are designed to put up with the very worst the British weather can throw at them, giving them a helping hand during the harshest months of the year can go a long way. Covering your caravan during the winter months has a whole range of benefits, from protecting the bright exterior of your caravan to avoiding damage to your lovely cosy interior.
Caravan covers are specially designed to allow for that all-important airflow by being waterproof yet breathable. Their soft internal coating will ensure there are no areas where rubbing or wearing occurs on either your caravan or the cover. Their strong and durable material is designed to deal with the very worst weather and gives an extra level of insulation against freezing temperatures.
They are simple to fit and need little maintenance throughout a storage period. You can also rest safe in the knowledge that the cover will protect against the risk of leaks that could otherwise damage your caravan interior. We would recommend giving your caravan a good wash down with some caravan cleaner before covering it for the winter. This will remove any dirt and debris which would sit between the cover and the caravan and wear away at your caravan exterior!
Shutting Down & Shutting Off
We would always recommend fully shutting down and switching off as much of your caravan as possible before storing it for the winter – the more you switch off, the less risk there is for issues during storage.
Switching off your caravan electricity and removing the battery is a great practice throughout the winter if it is not connected to your alarm system (you shouldn’t remove it if it means your alarms no longer work!). Taking the battery out of your caravan will give you a chance to easily charge your battery and keep it in a more insulated and drier environment to keep it in top condition.
If you can’t take the battery out of your caravan there are a few things you can do to keep your caravan protected. Firstly, you can isolate the electrics by using the isolator. Unplugging any appliances is another step you can take to give you that extra level of peace of mind.
Your gas systems are another risk when storing your caravan. And the best way to deal with that risk is to remove your gas cylinder – this might take a little effort, but it eliminates any risk of gas leaks or problems. If you decide to leave your cylinder in your caravan, make sure all of the valves are fully closed and the regulator is disconnected with any caps in place.
When you visit your caravan during a period of storage it is a good idea to switch on a heater or even the stove to bring a little warmth into the caravan and reduce the amount of dampness the builds up. Make sure to switch everything off once again when you leave.
Your tyres are another important part of your caravan to protect through a period of storage. The first thing you should do is make sure your caravan is left on a suitable pitch, it should be on level ground to avoid areas of increased pressure. The corner steadies should be placed in pads or blocks to help spread the load of your caravan and stop any sinkage. Using tyre covers can reduce the degradation of your tyres and provide more insulation against extreme temperatures.
During the time you are storing your caravan, you should turn the wheels occasionally to avoid flat spots forming. This is a great time to check the pressure in your tyres – this should be kept at the maximum recommended tyre pressure.
Find all of your caravan storage accessories at Autoleisure, we stock everything you need to keep your caravan in great condition throughout the winter months. For any help or advice on storing your caravan this year get in touch with us today!