Spending time in your caravan is a great way to enjoy the summer months, but it can be daunting to think about the winter. What do you need to put away? How do you prepare for cold weather?
Don’t worry – we’re here to guide you through preparing your caravan for winter so you’ll be ready to set off once the weather warms up.
Clean the interior
Start by giving everything a thorough vacuum, clean, and wash. Not only will it prepare your caravan for the next season, but it’ll help you check through each room, cupboard and hiding spot to see if you missed any belongings.
Leave any cupboard and wardrobe doors open to improve airflow and reduce the chance of mildew.
Inspect your windows
Any damaged rubber seals will let moisture in and lead to some serious problems, so make sure your window seals aren’t damaged or in need of replacing.
Store your gas safely
If you’re keeping your caravan at a storage site, check their rules around gas storage. Some will allow you to keep them inside the van, some will have designated storage cages, and some won’t allow them on-site at all.
Either way, make sure that the gas valves on top of the cylinders are closed (or that the regulators are disconnected, and any open pipework is capped off, depending on your cylinder type.)
If you’re storing them yourself, remove the gas cylinders and keep them somewhere cool with plenty of ventilation. They should be kept upright on a flat surface, and don’t store them in a shed, garage, or cellar.
Keep your fridge door ajar
Make sure your fridge and freezer doors are propped open (many caravan fridges will have a specific latch for this purpose.) Keeping them open helps the air to circulate and stops mould and mildew from building up inside.
Clean and drain the cassette toilet
You’ll want to thoroughly drain and clean your cassette toilet, so it stays fresh and hygienic over the winter.
The flush tank holds the water that flushes the toilet, so this needs to be drained and cleaned. The cassette holds the toilet waste, so give this a thorough clean with a dedicated cassette cleaner.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: the chemical you add to the flush tank to mask odours when you flush is usually pink, while cassette chemicals which break down waste and neutralise odours inside are usually green or blue.
Drain down the water system
Draining down your caravan involves getting rid of any water left in the system to prevent it from freezing inside the pipes and causing costly damage. We’d also recommend cleaning the water system first to make sure it’s sterilised.
To do this, add the correct amount of cleaner (we recommend Puriclean) to your water tank, making sure to remove the filter if you have one. Flush each of your taps briefly to allow the mixture to treat each pipe and tap, then shut them off and wait an hour or so for the cleaner to work. You can then empty the water system, refill it with fresh water, and drain the system again to remove any chemical residue.
To drain the system, turn off the water supply and switch the boiler off. Then open all the taps inside your van, including the shower, to drain any water at the start of the pipes and open your drain valve to release this water.
Leave the taps open to prevent a buildup of moisture and bacteria, and position any mixer taps halfway between hot and cold.
If you have a plumbed toilet, flush it to drain the cistern. There will still be some water remaining in the bowl, but don’t remove this – it stops any odours coming back from the soil pipe. Instead, put a small amount of antifreeze into the bowl to prevent this water from freezing. Add a small amount of antifreeze to the remaining water in the sink and shower traps too.
Modern methods of draining down can also include electric pumps that push any last drops of water out of your pipes.
Remove your batteries
Unless it powers any security systems, you should remove your 12v leisure battery and store it somewhere cool and dry. Be sure to check it regularly and charge it now and again to keep it healthy – this NOCO GENIUS charger is perfect for caravan leisure batteries.
You can also remove standard batteries from things like clocks and other electronics to save wasting charge.
Use a dehumidifier
Adding a dehumidifier will help to prevent any dampness, by capturing moisture in the air. You’ll just need to check it periodically to empty any water that’s been collected.
Upgrade your security
If you’ve got space to store them, remove any valuables like your TV and smart devices. Consider fitting visible security cameras – even dummy ones will act as a great deterrent.
If you’re keeping your caravan on your driveway, a security post will help make sure it stays put.
Invest in a caravan cover
A caravan cover will guard your van against rain, tree sap, general grime, and even UV fading – plus help to minimize any physical bodywork damage.
If you do use a caravan cover, make sure it’s a breathable fabric – this will allow moisture to escape from the inside, preventing a buildup of mould.
Protect your tyres
You’ll want to ensure your tyres are ready for another year of adventures, so whether you’re leaving your caravan in storage or on your driveway, make sure it’s on level ground to prevent uneven tyre wear.
Lower the corner steadies onto blocks and chock your wheels to keep the van secure. You should leave the handbrake off to avoid the brake seizing.
Make sure your tyres are well-inflated and without damage before storing your caravan – you could also invest in tyre covers to keep them more protected.
We’d advise visiting your caravan to turn the wheels now and again, which will help to avoid flat spots. You can also top up the tyre pressure if needed at the same time.
And there you go – you’re ready for a stress-free winter break. Now once spring and summer arrive, you’ll have a sparkling clean caravan to return to!