When you first buy a static holiday caravan, you may assume that it’s going to weather years to come. Hopefully, that will be the case! However, there are always going to be a few things you’ll need to prepare for. Much of this falls to British weather, including winter preparations. Maintaining and running a holiday caravan means being vigilant for any issues or factors which could affect the stability of your unit. Whether this is ensuring your chassis is stable, or preparing your property for snow or storm conditions, it pays to be alert.
In this quick guide, we will take a look at what you need to know about maintaining your static holiday caravan regularly. We’ll also consider which responsibilities fall to you, and which fall to park operators. Naturally, you are going to want to keep your caravan looking great and working at a standard you can be proud of. Therefore, many of these types could just be common sense to you!
Before we look closely at one or two specifics, it is a good idea to consider some general caravan maintenance tips for all year round. Static caravan maintenance may sound like it is going to be arduous or tricky to arrange. However, providing you are proactive and know which areas need your support the most, it’s unlikely you will have any trouble.
Here are a few general tips which may help you in the milder months. We’ll cover the winter side of things a little further down.
This list, of course, is just a collection of ideas. Many caravans are different from one another and will need specialist support and care. Therefore, do be sure to take your time and take good care of your static holiday home. Your holiday park staff will also help you in getting started with regular maintenance.
All static caravans will have a chassis. This will generally either be galvanised, painted, or somewhere in between. It’s important that you check and maintain this regularly for rust and other damage. On the whole, galvanisation will protect your caravan against most concerns such as rust, meaning that if you have the option to invest in galvanisation outright, it is well worth the investment.
Regular static caravan maintenance you should undertake includes paint spraying, if applicable, and regular oiling and greasing. This will help to maintain the stability of your caravan. In any case, you should be checking for any signs of loosening, corrosion or rust. Chassis can also damage easily, which means you should always be vigilant. Lubrication of your caravan’s corner steadies and oiling of its hitch head, jockey wheel and general wheels should also take place.
If you are concerned about static caravan maintenance in relation to the chassis, do always ask your park operator for advice. They may be able to put you in touch with a specialised, local contractor who can spray, oil and lubricate your caravan. In any case, learning how to maintain this part of your property doesn’t take much time, and it is always relatively easy to do.
Draining down involves switching off and releasing any excess water you may have left in your systems before you vacate for the winter months. Some parks are willing to drain down for you, however, there is a process which you can follow. But why should you drain down?
Essentially, a drain down will help to prevent any damage caused by burst water pipes or freezing during time when you are away. If you have water left in your caravan’s systems and something happens while you are not on-site, you could risk severe damage and rising costs. To avoid such scenarios, it’s handy to drain down completely.
If you’d like to drain down on your own, make sure to switch off all water and gas systems as well as supplies before you get started. Then, make sure your water plugs for external drainage are clear and opened up. Please note, if you have a self-contained central heating system, do not drain this down on your own, or take out the plugs. What follows next is a full draining of water from the caravan before you leave.
You’ll then need to turn on all your water spouts and facilities, such as your taps and your shower. All water should drain freely. You must also flush your toilet, at least the once, to ensure that your cistern is fully drained.
You should also drain any systems or fixtures which contain water. This will include heating systems and tanks which you may have in your property. Don’t take any chances.
It’s also advisable to blow air through piping. Ultimately, you need to make sure that there is no risk of any excess water still to spill out. If you’re going away in winter, you’re going to need to get your pipework insulated and lagged. Using salt in your water, or any you have left, will also prevent freezing.
It’s a good idea to make sure an experienced drainage expert handles your drain down. While you are free to drain everything on your own, you may risk contractual or warranty agreements by doing so. Therefore, always consult your park operator, first, for advice before you leave.
Snow isn’t always a guarantee during a British winter, but it is always a good idea to be prepared. If snow or ice settles at your pitch or around your caravan, it is your responsibility to handle it. However, holiday park staff will need to make sure that you can easily access the park safely and with plenty of accessibility during winter.
This is backed in UK law, meaning that you can always expect to access your caravan with ease during all weathers. However, do make sure to take advantage of additional winter care and support from your park if it is available, even for an additional fee. It may be worth paying for peace of mind in this circumstance.
Vacating your holiday caravan for the winter? Maybe you’re staying on-site. In any case, maintenance for the colder months is key.
You should make sure, as stated, to drain down your property if you are leaving it during winter. You should also be ready to secure down any loose items and to clean your caravan itself, as well as any decking or skirting you may have. Check everything on the outside of your property thoroughly. Is it all safe to leave for months at a time? If there is any room for doubt, check again. Take care of loose items and fittings by putting them into storage.
Cleaning and checking your exterior property is important as it means that you’ll prevent debris build-up or any chance of water letting in. This also means making sure everything is sealed up and locked properly, windows and doors included.
Inside your caravan, make sure your vents are cleared, that any food and drink is removed, and that, again, anything loose is accounted for. Maximise air circulation by ensuring vents aren’t being blocked by household items. Clean out your white goods and leave the door open on your fridge freezer to prevent mould growth.
Before you leave, do also turn off the electric! When you come back, you’ll need to assess for any potential damage and take immediate action. Therefore, it makes sense to make things as easy on yourself as you can. In any case, your park operator will be on hand to give you advice. For example, they may be able to help with tree branches and natural obstructions which could cause you hassle.
All of the above advice applies to heavy storm conditions, too. Anything not fixed down is at risk of causing serious damage. Once a storm passes, do also check your guttering and anything that may be dislodged from your roof.
Static caravan maintenance takes time and effort. However, it is worth protecting against risks to safety, as well as any potential costs which may arise along the way. If you are in any doubt of what you need to go, ask your park operators for advice right away. For further reading see our article on ‘What to Remember When Buying a Holiday Home’.