Awnings

Ensure that the awning is washed and clean and completely dry before storing for winter, if you do not do this it could result in mouldy patches on the awning, or worse. It is better to store the awning in the house rather than the van if you can.


Central Heating

Most caravans now have central heating systems, but any gas appliance could be dangerous if left on overnight. Low wattage electric convector heaters are a safer option, and can be used all day for background heat.


Gas

Butane (blue cylinder) is liable to freeze when temperatures fall below zero, so you would need to carry propane (red cylinder). Modern caravan appliances work equally well on butane or propane, however you will need a different regulator, as these are not interchangeabe. Propane can be used all year round so there is no need to switch back to butane for the summer

Water

In sub zero conditions, the outside water container may well freeze so you will need a secondary container inside the caravan. There are several commercial kits available to help you achieve this. If you have a big enough caravan you may want to install an onboard water tank. Many new caravans and motorhomes are fitted with a fresh and waste water facilities inside a locker, accessible from outside the caravan, which should protect against freezing.

Waste Water

To prevent freezing of the waste tanks or porta-potti, it is acceptable to add car-type anti-freeze. Salt is an alternative for plastic waste containers, but it is corrosive and should not be used in toilets with valves etc. Waste pipes should be lagged, and kept as straight as possible to avoid them holding pools of water with could freeze.

Tips

Make sure you fill the kettle at night just in case. At least you can face the morning freeze with a cuppa in you

Most modern caravans are double glazed and have well-insulated walls, floor and roof. A porch awning would be useful as an 'air-lock' to prevent winter winds entering the caravan or motorhome direct when the door is opened. A porch awning is useful for storing wellies, winter coats, sledges etc.


Condensation can be a problem, so bowls of moisture absorbing crystals (available from DIY outlets) could be placed strategically around the van.
Avoid excessive moisture production. especailly when cooking or washing. Even if it is cold, ensure free ventilation when cooking or showering.
High-tog quilts or arctic sleeping bags should ensure a warm and cozy night, even with no heater on.
Fire Safety
With extra electric appliances in use, make sure that adequate fire safety equipment is to hand.

Fridges
Thoroughly clean the fridge/freezer with bicarb of soda or anti-bacterial liquid. Leave the door propped open to avoid pressure build up and a stagnant smell.

Water Inlets
Plug all water inlets and waste outlets to avoid smell and creepy crawlies coming in

Wheels:

It's a good idea to place your van on axle stands, thus removing the weight from the suspension and giving it a rest so to speak, but more important, it takes the weight off the road tyres there fore alleviating the flat spot, wall damage and possible tyre renewal in the new year Just do a check with your insurance company both van and household to ensure you are covered
Before doing this check your insurance as most policies say you need to have wheelclamps fitted .Do not leave the caravan on the corner steadies



Why do I need a Caravan Cover?


When laying your caravan up for the winter, it’s important to remember that a good deal of damage can be done whilst it’s not being used. If your caravan is stood outside, it is open to damage from UV light, frost, wind and general wear and tear the elements throw at us during the winter months.

If you are lucky enough to have undercover storage, you still need to consider the amount of damage animal faeces can do or just dirt and grime collecting on the outside of the van. Dust is great scratching material if someone rubs along side your caravan.

So What do I Need to Look for When buying a Cover for my Caravan?

First and foremost, the cover needs to repel rain, water, snow and ice. Not only that, you will also want to protect your investment by stopping bird excrement and tree sap getting to the painted surface of your caravan as they can cause irreparable damage to your paintwork.

Secondly, it needs to be breathable. Please be aware that there are many cheaper covers available that are made from materials that will cause your caravan to sweat which does cause long term damage. This can lead to damp which will adversely affect the residual value of your caravan dramatically.

Finally, you need to make sure the inner layer is made from a soft and lightweight material that will NOT scratch the paintwork of your investment. This is crucial as a number of comments have been posted on forums and caravan news websites where owners have complained about terrible scratching on windows and doors of their caravans.


Ultimately, using a good quality caravan cover will protect your investment from the harshness of winter, potential damage from tree sap, animal excrament and it will make your job of cleaning and polishing the outside so much easier in the spring.

If you would like to maximise the residual value of your caravan when it's time to trade it in, click on the link that suits the size of your caravan and be safe in the knowledge that your van is well covered and protected this winter.

Preparing your van for winter
Laying up a tourer for the winter is simply a mix of common sense and good housekeeping.

Start with the interior - give it a scrupulous hovering and wipe down plus remove anything that will go off as well as giving the cooker and fridge a thorough clean. Leave the fridge's door open along with the cupboards to help prevent musty odours.

Cut up an onion and place it around the interior as it absorbs odours. A dehumidifier is a fine investment, and it also helps combat dampness.

To keep the van's interior free from mildew, remove and store as much of the loose furnishings as you can. Remove all linen, blankets etc. Open all cupboard/locker doors. Ensure all rooflights and windows are shut. Check fixed ventilation points are not obstructed

Drain out the water tanks. Remove the showerhead and tap heads open all taps to reduce the chance of them cracking up over the winter.

Water System
The water heater must be drained - depending on what type of heater you have the drain plug valve is located either externally by the bottom corner of the heater or under the bed locker next to the water heater. When the plug is removed or the valve opened the water heater should then empty.
The submersible pump should be stored in a dry place.

Drain all water carriers completely and leave the plugs off to avoid unwanted smells
Cassette Toilet
The top tank should be drained (the drain point is normally inside the external door).Empty and clean out the toilet but refrain from using strong bleach as it will leave black residue stains.Leave the toilet slide open to stop it freezing to the base.

Shut off the gas supply and remove the tourer's battery. The latter requires regular trickle-charging from a domestic charger.

It used to be advised that the caravan should be supported on axle stands to take the weight off the suspension and tyres. If possible, then do so, but it's not strictly essential for such a short period of time.

Do ensure, however, that the tyres are correctly inflated so flat spots can't easily occur.If possible, leave the handbrake off so that it can't seize on, plus grease the mechanism as well as the van's corner stays. Other maintenance points include the jockey wheel if it hasn't been greased.

Which Gas do I need?




There are many good gas supply companies, but for use on the move the best choice is one which distributes nationwide, especially if you can only use the smaller bottles. Calor is the market leader and the company supplies both Butane and Propane. Butane, usually in blue bottles, is heavier than Propane, and more energy can be stored in a given bottle size. Propane, although lighter than Butane, has the advantage of remaining usable under freezing conditions and is therefore the best choice for winter motorcaravanning. Butane stops working as the temperature falls towards 0° C whereas Propane works well at very low temperatures indeed. Since Propane also works OK at normal temperatures many motorcaravanners like us use Propane all year round

BP launched the revolutionary new BP Gas Light propane cylinder to the UK caravan market at the National boat, caravan & outdoor leisure show at the NEC Birmingham in February.BP Gas Ligt cylinders weigh approximately half as much as traditional steel cylinders because they are made of ultra-tough composite materials rather than metal. The attractive design is also semi-transparent so you can see the gas level at a glance and know when you need to change the cylinder. BP Gas Light is available in two sizes - the larger size contains 10kg of propane and the smaller holds 5kg of propane. 10kg cylinders are currently available through a nationwide network of stockists. From April, the 5kg cylinder will be gradually rolled out across the country, exclusively for the caravan market. In addition, April 2006 will see the launch of a new BP Gas Light website where customers will be able to order and pay for a cylinder to be delivered straight to their door. If you can remove all gas cylinders do so and store in an adequately ventilated location. If not ensure that all cylinders are fully turned off and the gas compartment is locked. Remember when storing Butane gas, it begins to freeze at temperatures below 4 degrees C. Propane does not.

 


Don't allow snow to collect under the caravan, and keep the mains cable free moving or it may become frozen to the ground.
Keep moving parts of the caravan, like the handbrake, jockey wheel, corner steadies etc. well oiled to prevent seizing. If it is safe to do so, leave the caravan handbrake off to avoid it seizing


Winterising tip
cover the chimney cowl on the caravan roof with a small plastic bag to prevent rain, sleet or snow from entering and causing damage. Secure bag with either a plastic tie or wire strap. (Rubber bands work ok but they easily perish and fail). Using a brightly coloured bag is a visible reminder BUT always attach a note to the fire to remind yourself to remove the bag before putting the heater back into operation.

Tyre Care

Care of your tyres If your caravan is parked in the same position for several
months the tyres may develop flat spots.To avoid this happening, either
remove the wheels or raise them off the ground. But, before doing either check
with your insurance company that you will remain insured. Some insurance
companies insist you must have a wheel clamp fitted when the caravan is not in use – you can’t fit one if the wheels are not there.They may also object
to some types of winter wheels that interface with the chassis hub.
If you can’t remove the wheels move the caravan occasionally to reposition the tyre load on a different part of the tyre.While the wheels are removed take
them to your nearest tyre specialist. They will give an expert inspection of the tyres and re-balance the wheels as well. Ensuring your caravan wheels are
balanced will help the handling of your unit and reduce tyre wear.


Member Tips

Beejay wrote

Cover the fridge vents with winter covers to prevent overcooling. With Thetford 400 series toilets rotate the filler neck to drain out the 150cc that remains even if the tank itself is empty. If using gas for the Truma heater, ensure the top of the chimney stays free of snow. Buy some oil filled radiators for the van and awning. These can be left on, unattended, as there is no flame or hot element and are ideal for drying towels. Boot sales usual have them, the 500 & 750 watt versions are ideal. Use car lock anti freeze sprays to keep locker locks free of icing up. Scrounge a small, solid top pallet for outside and put an "astroturf" type mat on it.


lauriesandra Wrote
Completely drain off the water system after each trip. Dont forget to leave ALL your taps open with mixers set in the mid position.
Again after each trip, drain off WC flush water or use a Thetford approved anti freeze additive - NOT CAR ANTI-FREEZE.
Whilst away, at night bring your pump indoors so it doesn't freeze up, and put it back on first thing in the morning.
If snow or frost on the ground, regulary lift your electric hook up cable to stop it from sticking to the ground.
If using the gas water heater, don't forget to take the flue terminal plastic cover off first!
Personally, I would NOT have the gas fire on whilst we are asleep in bed. If the flue outlet becomes obstructed or blocked with snow, ice, or what have you, you might not wake up again..... ever!Open all internal doors and cupboards to allow the air to circulate.