Preparing caravans, motorhomes and park homes for winter
With Autumn almost at an end, anyone with a motorhome, caravan, park home or other type of mobile home needs to ensure they are prepared for the cold, wet winter months ahead.
This is especially true if you do not intend using your caravan or mobile home until Spring arrives and if you haven’t already there is still time to get prepared – if you act now.
Preparing now could save you some unpleasant surprises and reduce the chances of having to make an unwanted claim on your motorhome insurance or static caravan insurance.
The first thing to do is remove all valuable items. TV’s, hi-fis and other electrical goods make for tempting targets for thieves and are easily damaged by cold and damp.
It is also important to clean thoroughly, especially cupboards and other places where food has been stored. Anything left behind – even crumbs – could attract vermin or lead to an unpleasant smell on your return.
Do the same with the fridge and thoroughly clean it thoroughly using disinfectant. Once you’ve finished, leave the fridge door slightly ajar for ventilation. It’s also a good idea to de-grease the hob and oven and leave small cupboard doors slightly open for ventilation too. However, close larger doors to prevent warping.
It’s also important to drain the water heater thoroughly ensuring that no water remains inside and leave all drain cocks and taps open. Flush out any water pipes with sterilising fluid and do the same to any waste pipes using a stronger disinfectant.
It’s also vitally important to make sure that the toilet is emptied and sterilized and cover up any external drain pipes to prevent insects from getting inside using a fine mesh.
When it comes to caravan electrics, remove the 12v battery and clean it, remembering to top it up with electrolyte fluid if necessary. It then needs storing over the winter in a dry and cool place.
Gas cylinders should also be disconnected and preferably removed from the caravan and stowed away in a cool and well ventilated location.
Finally, remove any furnishings such as curtains and cushions to prevent mould.
When it comes to the outside of the caravan or motorhome, thoroughly wash it down to remove any mud and salt to prevent corrosion and examine the caravan for any wear and tear and make any necessary repairs before storing it away.
If possible, the caravan should be jacked up onto axle stands with the wheels off the ground and, ideally, the wheels should be removed and stored in a cool place. Corner steadies should then be lowered onto the ground and the handbrake left off. If you are unable to do this, fit a good wheel lock or hitch lock as this will aid security and again reduce the risk of needing to make a claim on your caravan insurance or motorhome insurance
When it comes to storing your caravan or motorhome there are many options available, from your own drive or garage, to specialist caravan storage sites.
Whichever option you choose, make sure the company that provides you with caravan insurance or motorhome insurance is aware of its location.
Many of the tips listed above will also apply to static caravans and park homes. With the dark nights comes increased risk from thieves, so it worth asking your site manager about security arrangements over the winter.
In fact most site managers will provide you with all you need to know about preparing for winter
It is also advisable to check with your provider of park home insurance that you are fully covered against break-ins or damage caused by winter storms.
As with caravans, it is important to remove all valuable items and give your holiday home a thorough clean.
Completely draining the water system will also help prevent burst pipes and unwanted park home insurance claim. Some park homes will have central heating systems that contain anti-freeze and whilst draining is not necessary, they should be set at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer and serviced regularly.
An alarm system is also a good idea, it will alert the site owner or manager if there is a problem; but don’t forget to leave him or her with a telephone number where you can be reached!
John Maitland Started in the energy efficiciency business, but moved to the insurance industry 15 years ago. Specialising in caravan insurance, motorhome insurance, landlord lnsurance and travel insurance.
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