​Top tips for preparing your caravan for winter storage

As we anticipate the nights drawing in, powering up the central heating, and retrieving the “big coat” from the back of the wardrobe, caravan owners should also be thinking about safely storing their caravans for the duration of the winter months.
 
Whether you’re new to caravan ownership or a seasoned professional, this is not as simple as it may sound. Owners need to take precautions to make sure that their pride and joy greets them with a sparkling exterior and clean, odour-free interior when they are reunited in the spring.
 
Whatever steps you take to store your caravan, we would primarily recommend that you always refer to your caravan handbook for any guidance particular to your model of caravan, and also your insurance policy to ensure that you’re compliant in terms of security and care of the vehicle.
 
BCH Camping have many products available for all aspects of caravan storage so we’ve put together the following guide:
 
How do I care for the exterior of my caravan while it’s in storage?
  • Firstly, give your caravan a really good clean so that any areas that need attention are exposed. Fenwick’s Caravan Cleaner is suitable for all surfaces, and can also be used for a once-over when you return to your caravan in the spring. One bottle contains enough for up to 40 washes.
  • Once the caravan is clean and any damage has been treated, you need to apply a protective layer over the caravan to avoid the build-up of algae and moss. Fenwick’s Over Wintering is an exterior protector which does the job brilliantly and also makes that subsequent spring clean easier.
  • To protect all the nitty gritty mechanical and electrical connections such as car to caravan links, wipe them over with petroleum jelly, grease or WD40.
  • Any exterior light fittings should be checked and cleaned
  • Protect your hitch and handbrake from the weather and dirt. We would recommend the Kampa Hitch Cover which beads water on contact, thereby protecting the hitch and handbrake form rain and snow. Because the cover is breathable, the moisture is able to escape quickly, which reduces the potential for corrosion.
 
Is there a cover that I can put over my caravan for the winter months?
Yes, BCH Camping supply a range of covers for caravans, although we would also say that the above suggestions for preparing your caravan for the winter are still best practice in conjunction with the use of a quality cover.
 
Our Royal Deluxe Caravan Cover Range is available in various sizes: The range is heavy duty and breathable, providing superior protection against weather, dust, bird lime, tree sap, airborne pollutants and heat. The plastic fastenings make for quick and easy fitting and removal, making this range the ideal choice as a practical solution for protecting your caravan through winter.  

Tips for protecting the interior of your caravan through winter
  • Wash and vacuum your caravan throughout (as well as being great preparation, you never know what you mind find!).
  • Leave all cupboards, wardrobes and lockers open to encourage circulation and avoid a build-up of damp.
  • Leave fixed beds open, also to allow for circulation.
  • Keep the fridge door open to prevent the formation of mildew.
  • Either store cushions away from the caravan in a dry place, or leave them standing to allow the seating to breathe.
  • Close all curtains and blinds to reduce sun bleaching. If, however, the blinds are spring loading, they should be left in the open position as leaving them closed for a long period of time may stretch the springs.
  • Position moisture crystals around the caravan to draw up moisture, particularly near the toilet or shower. Kontrol Crystals come in 500g packs and can be contained in a Kontrol Streamline Moisture Trap for easy positioning.
 
What precautions should I take to safely store my caravan toilet and water systems?
This is the not so pleasant part, but no less necessary!
  • Drain all hot water tanks and any portable water containers.
  • Leave all water taps in the open position, and remove the shower head.
  • Run the on-board pump if you have one, but refer to the manufacturer’s handbook for how to do this.
  • Drain the chemicals from the toilet cassette.
  • Remove the waste tank and clean it out.
  • The valve blade between the toilet and the waste tank should be cleaned with a seal lubricant (not petroleum jelly or vegetable oil), then left partially open to prevent it sticking shut.
 
Safely winter-proofing your caravan’s gas and electricity supplies
Safety is obviously a priority, particularly in relation to the gas and electricity used in a caravan.
  • Leave all electrical items in the ‘off’ position and disconnect any plugs.
  • If possible, remove the battery unit, take it home and recharge it every so often. If, however, you need the battery to power a security system or tracker, you will need to recharge it on site or have a spare battery to swap it with.
  • Valves on the top of gas cylinders should be closed. Caps should be fitted over the ends of any open pipework.
  • If you are putting your caravan into storage you will need to check the storage company’s gas cylinder policy, as some prohibit the storage of cylinders.

Additional practical tips for caravan storage over the winter
  • Winter is the best time to have your caravan serviced by a reputable service centre, as that is their least busy time and it doesn’t affect your caravanning plans.
  • Spread out and clean your awning in a dry area.
  • Site your caravan on level ground to avoid damage to the tyres. If possible, it is also worth turning the wheels every couple of months.
  • Don’t site your caravan under trees, or other precarious positions where there is a chance of any falling debris damaging your caravan.
  • When you clean your caravan, don’t use a jet wash as there is a chance that the power of the water can damage the exterior. Always use cleaning products recommended for all caravan surfaces.
 
Whilst all of the above may seem like a lot of work, particularly considering that you’re already depressed about the short days, cold weather and that big coat, preparation for the winter is crucial to have a caravan that is ready for use as soon as the first Snowdrop flowers in your garden. The benefits will far outweigh the time given over to preparing your caravan sufficiently.
 
If BCH Camping can provide any additional help or information with regard to this, or any other matter, please do get in touch. We’d be delighted to hear from you!

September 29 2017 | Garth
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