Owners' Advice: Preparing for Winter...
As the winter approaches and the evenings start to draw in we must bear in mind the ways that the seasonal weather can affect our static caravans and how we can best protect them at this time.
You may be on a park that doesn’t close for the winter, although most of you will be – either way it is important that you take adequate storm & security precautions, as both are of paramount importance.
As they say, “prevention is better than cure”, and we hope that the following is of use to you…
• Remove soft furnishings and curtains to protect from damp.
• Stand seat cushions up on end to allow air to circulate around them.
• Ensure all fixed ventilation is not obstructed and that internal doors wardrobes and cupboard doors are left ajar to allow an uninterrupted flow of air to circulate throughout the interior.
• Clean and empty the fridge and freezer and wedge open the door.
• Remove all foodstuffs to avoid attracting vermin.
• Turn off the electric supply.
• Check all windows and doors are tightly closed and ensure nothing is trapped in them.
• Ensure any loose items are safely secured.
• Ensure that vents are never obstructed - this is a vital safety precaution where gas is used.
Clean the outside of the caravan to prevent the build-up of dirt. There are many specialist products available for this, however a lot of you are happy with a bucket of soapy water and a brush. Check the seals & seams are all in order to prevent storm damage, water ingress and ensure security. Check that any skylights, windows and doors are secure and sealed correctly. If possible, ensure that all guttering is cleared of any debris or obstruction. If the chassis is accessible, take a look at the anchor points and jacks.
Any aerial brackets should be checked. If your caravan is in a particularly exposed position you may want to remove the aerial over the winter period.
Other Items that should be checked & secured are:
• Storage Boxes
• Gas Bottles
• Garden Furniture
Any loose items should be locked away in your sheds/storage boxes or in the caravan itself to prevent potential damage to your caravan or any neighbouring caravans from debris hitting the external panels etc.
If you are on a site were it is necessary to have your unit anchored, the anchor points should also be checked.
Also be aware of any trees or plants that surround your caravan. If the proximity of these causes you concern, you should advise your park both verbally and in writing.
It is also extremely important to know what your insurance policy covers to make sure you have taken sufficient precautions yourself – some policies will place conditions on storm and winter weather cover.
After the event…
Check for detached, displaced or cracked guttering and replace or repair it as soon as possible to avoid water leaking onto vulnerable areas or steps/pavements which can then become very dangerous during a freeze.
Look for loose, dislodged or missing panels. Also check your roof for punctures and loose panelling. Damage to your roof leaves your caravan open to the elements and could cause damage inside which may not become apparent for some time.
If you are concerned, or have difficulty with the assessment of your caravan, ask your park manager for advice and assistance.
Cracked or suspect tree branches in close proximity should be checked to avoid subsequent danger or damage to you or your caravan.
Make sure that you get professional advice from a tree surgeon if in doubt.
National Association of Caravan Owners