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Most of the damage that motorhomes suffer happens over the winter months, and especially without the proper winterisation methods being implemented beforehand. How the water system works on a caravan — indeed any place with water pipes — is that they are vulnerable to rupturing if the water inside them freezes. If there’s water in your motorhome’s system, it can easily burst the water pipes as it freezes. This is because water naturally expands as it moves towards its freezing point.
So, first and most importantly, drain all the water from your fresh and wastewater tanks. Here is what you should do to properly winterise your motorhome:
All of the above points are also applicable for winterising a static caravan with central heating. But with motorhomes you can also do the following to be extra careful:
And that should be it for winterising a static motorhome with central heating. Follow these points and you should be able to avoid any motorhome water pump problems in the spring. This is also a good time to go on one final voyage in your motorhome. As the reduced water will make it lighter, more economical to drive, and more stable.
The end-of-season winddown is naturally a good time to give your motorhome a good cleaning. After all, it has more than likely already been through a busy spring-to-summer period. A thorough clean is a good way to bookend the season and a way to keep the motorhome shining and inviting from top to bottom for when spring comes around.
Here is a motorhome checklist of what we always do when preparing for motorhome winter storage:
The process for how to winterise a static caravan is largely the same as above, so if you are looking for caravan winter storage tips, this guide will still be largely effective.
It’s important to occasionally inspect your motorhome from time to time — just to make sure everything is OK. Here’s what you should do:
We would recommend once every few weeks to avoid any nasty surprises in spring. People often ask us: ‘How do you winterise a class C motorhome?’ The answer is, in much the same way as any other motorhome. Follow the steps listed above and you will be fine.
If you expect the temperature will, at some point, reach zero degrees Celsius (or below 32-degrees Fahrenheit) — the temperature when water converts into ice — then you absolutely should think about winterising your motorhome.
Water ingress is the real nemesis for motorhome users. That’s why annual habitation and damp checks are so important. The habitation service is the motorhome living room equivalent of an MOT. Legally, you can get by without it — but why take the risk?
Before you step away from your motorhome for the winter it might be worth running one of these ‘living room MOTs’. You can call in a professional or use a damp meter yourself. If the damp levels are at any point higher than 15 per cent then attention is required. Professionals use motorhome damp check sheets to make sure they don’t miss anything out. And depending on how concerned you are, the professional route may be the way to go.
Here are the main areas to check for damp if you are checking yourself:
A damp meter is all well and good, but remember to trust your instincts as well. If you can smell and see what you think is damp, it is probably there.
We are often asked how to winterise a static caravan or motorhome so that it can be lived in in the winter months. We should warn you that it isn’t easy, but it is possible. Motorhomes are made to be comfortable, but their thin walls and lack of winter-resistant insulation mean that even opening the door for a few seconds can eradicate everything except body heat in seconds.
If the frightful cold will not deter you, here is what we would recommend doing to stay warm(ish) and comfortable in either a static caravan or motorhome during the winter months:
It’s no secret that the winter weather can be very cold. So in order to be comfortable during the frostiest months, you will need to know how to insulate a caravan for winter. The steps here are pretty much identical to that of living in a motorhome over the winter.
You should winterize your motorhome if you think it’s likely that the outside temperature will drop below freezing. Water freezes at 0°C or 32°F on a thermometer. It is especially important to winterize your motorhome before storing it away during the colder months.
If you fail to winterize your motorhome, then any water left behind in the plumbing could freeze as it gets cold. When water freezes it expands. This can cause your pipes to burst open, which in turn can lead to water damage. Water damage is often very expensive to clean up. Not winterizing your motorhome can lead to other problems when in storage, too. Such as, by attracting pests.
You can winterize without antifreeze by completely draining your motorhome down. That means, taking care to remove all lingering water in the plumbing. You can hire a professional to do this. Or you do it yourself by letting the water flow out of the pipes (with the help of an air compressor to blow it out); and by making sure to empty all of the water tanks — including the sewage tank — and toilet.
Add insulation by wrapping your pipes in a protective heat tape, along with a skirting to protect the underneath. Small indoor space heaters, such as electric or propane will also warm up most interiors pretty quickly.
The process of winterising a static caravan is similar to winterising a motorhome. Start by giving everything a big clean, on the inside and outside. Taking special care to remove any food crumbs from the fridge/freezer. Remove fabrics away from the walls to protect them from damp and dust. Remove everything of value to discourage thieves from visiting when you’re not around.
The most important thing is knowing how to drain down a static caravan properly. As discussed with motorhomes above, this is to prevent catastrophic water damage in the form of bursting pipes. There are similarities and differences between draining down a motorhome and a caravan, here are the differences:
Winterising a motorhome is a vital part of being a motorhome owner, so we decided to make the process as simple as possible by putting together an infographic.
It walks you through a number of things you can do to ensure your motorhome is well protected during the winter months and in harsh weather, as well as offering a few statistics about motorhomes in the UK. Check it out:
If you have any questions about motorhomes, give us a call or an email here. We would love to hear from you. Also, visit our homepage and about us page to find out why we are so passionate about motorhomes.
And if you like this blog post, check out our other blog posts that are filled with helpful tips on how to care for your motorhome, just like this one.