Caravan Winterization: Preparing your tourer for winter

Published in Caravanning Top Tips on   - 45 Comments

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  1. Andy clements says:

    Is it worth cleaning the van this time of the to make it easer in the spring we have van cleaner

  2. Andy clements says:

    We are first time caravan owners and have left the warm air heating on low setting would you advise this it is plugged into the mains at home

    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Andy,

      It’s probably best checking with the dealership where you bought the caravan, or check your manual for further advice.



  3. Alan says:

    Hi lucie
    It’s a buccaneer cruiser
    2000 model, it has factory fitted central heating and aircon,
    This is a new purchase and has been very well looked after, and I would like to keep it this way, any help you may impart would be great fully received.

    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Alan,

      I’ve had a look on the Elddis website for you but I can’t seem to find anything on the Cruiser. Like I say advice in this area differs depending on make and model so it’s probably best if you check your user manual or speak to your dealer. Alternatively, you could call Elddis on 0871 964 2113.

      Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.



    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Alan,

      I passed your query on to caravan expert and journalist Doug King who tells me: “The advice not to drain down is correct. If you haven’t played around with the solution in the central heating system you don’t need to drain it as it is an antifreeze mixture.”

      I hope this helps!


  4. Terence Boucher says:

    One other point I would make, is to place your chassis on axle stands and cover the tyres the serves to give added security, also saves the tyres from standing on ground.

  5. Terence Boucher says:

    One point that I would mention. Is that prior to covering your van ensure you have it serviced especially for damp. Prior to going away to France in 2011 we had the van serviced as usual, on our return I cleaned the van and when dry put our cover back on. Due to constraints we have not used it for two years, I took it off recently cleaned the van (no pressure hose) and on checking inside found the bottom wall between the fridge and cooker was damp. I called our service engineer and on inspection he noticed that the outer fridge grill was showing possible mastic had degraded and that was where damp had come in. On taking the grill off it was noticed that in the top lh corner mastic was in fact missing! very possible that when being made a small portion had been missed. Consequently the centre piece of wood had become damp and a cost of £900 to renew the inside lhs completely. My advice therefore is to ensure you have the van serviced before putting the cover on and possibly have a check on your outer grills. The problem had possibly occurred in France where we had very heavy rainfall, who knows, although we did have regular servicing and damp meters applied. could have been a slow build up over the years.

  6. Alan says:

    We have a central heating system with rads in our van,
    We have been told this doesn’t need draining down over winter
    Any advice please?
    Thanks guys

    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Can I ask which make and model you have? I’ll pass your query on to the relevant manufacturer. Guidance on this area often varies so it’s probably best seeking expert advice.


  7. Vic Holamn says:

    Can you seal off the floor vents during the winter to prevent damp air getting in? We store the caravan at home and open up to air quite regularly, but still see signs of slight mould forming on cushions which we stand sideways on the floor. Thanks

  8. Raymond Carey says:

    When caravan stored away for winter make sure to take everything including curtains seats to protects from mould. With regards to the advice as in above comments, Do not puts bowls of salt during the winter as we previously done this for years on our older caravans, this can cause the screw area to rust, yes bad rust and mould on wood. Please make sure you use the proper item which can be bought at your local caravan accessory shop, we bought the kill rock moisture traps and was able to buy a refill bucket 2.5 kg which should be sufficient to dehumidify a closed room up to 40 cubic metres for up to 6 months, can be used for kitchens bathrooms and anywhere in the house, the refill bucket cost £13.00 and the units are about £5.00 each but you can use them year after year.

  9. sid says:

    were is the drain plug for composs amega 482

  10. jane s says:

    are the blinds up or down for winter ,i put 7 humifiers in my caravan when i went back in spring i had somemould in bathroom area any tips

  11. D Walker says:

    1st year having a caravan really good info. thanx 🙂

  12. Colin P says:

    I jack-up the van with wheels off ground – will this avoid problems?
    Door opened as often as possible throughout winter – will this avoid damp?

  13. Colin Schofield says:

    Revised address for keepfloeing.
    [email protected]

  14. Mervyn Stannard says:

    I would back up Colins comments on the floe system for draining have used on my Bailey Ranger this year and got over 1ltr out of the system

  15. Colin Schofield says:

    Have just used the floe system on my coachman, dead easy! 20 mins, all done. £44 quid from makers direct, web address they also make a digital thermostat about £19, although I have not yet tried this. but intend to. I have no connection with them, but have found the MD Jason very friendly and helpful.

  16. Dick Harrison says:

    I didn’t tell Ruth that the filter is not easy to disconnect. It might need two water-pump pliers to release the Speedfit connectors and also arms that bend always. I have looked at the Filtapac and it seems that using that as a replacement would make the operation much easier next winter!

  17. Graham Coulson says:

    A dehumidifier sounds great, but , watch out for how much they cost to run !!, they are not cheap. I have one and it works very well but i have stopped using it due to the cost.

  18. Dick Harrison says:

    The filter is somewhere in the between the water connection and the taps. On our Bailey it is in the cupboard beside the Fridge under the sink but it may be on the other side nearer the water inlet.

  19. Nigel Bancroft says:

    I have been considering putting a dehumidifier linked to a timer within the caravan during the winter period. Has anybody got any information about this method.

  20. ruth mcnulty says:

    I don’t know what or where the water filter is. Can someone explain what I should do to disconnect it please?

  21. peter scott says:

    no need to buy new water filter, just get a refill kit, either from caravan dealer or Fitapac

  22. A Reed says:

    We have a timer on our motorhome that comes on every night on economey 7 also we have a frost watch heater that comes on during the night and a dehumidifier running during the night – 7 years of this along with a cover has proved to be perfect

  23. Mike and Bev Parrott says:

    Have been a caravaner for several years.Just bought a new swift 565,so many new additions compared to our old ‘van, so we are very grateful for all your advice and other comments,some of which we were aware of but equally some that we wer’nt aware.Thanks and keep on puting your ideas forward people, its nice to share so we can all be at the top of our game.

  24. Brian Ellis says:

    Regarding battery charging, we leave our battery connected year round via an electronic timer which is set to come on 24hrs per week. Enough to keep the battery in top condition, rather than having to remember to plug.

  25. Eileen Holt says:

    I keep my caravan at a friends house so I have a small solar panel in my front window which is connected to the battery to trickle charge it during the winter months.

  26. Graham Coulson says:

    If you take the battery out remember not to store it on a cold concrete floor as this could damage it. Thetford had a lot of problems last year with split toilet tanks , even if drained there was still some water left. They have a free upgrade drain pipe for some models , contact thetford and they will send you one free.

  27. Neil says:


    With regards to your two questions, we know that leaving a caravan plugged into the mains isn’t possible for some people, and perhaps more importantly that leaving a free standing electric heater on for so long could be a potential fire hazard, even if left on frost setting. However David’s advice above on using a greenhouse heater seems worth bearing in mind, as these devices are specifically designed to be left on permanently and have a very low heat output.

    That said, if you don’t have any electronic security that relies on it then probably best to just take the leisure battery, or if you do, then just plug your mains lead in overnight now and again to keep the battery topped up.

    Or you could just follow the tips above to avoid dampness or freezing, rather than relying on an electric heater.

    thanks for your comments,

    Caravan Guard

  28. Dick Harrison says:

    We thought we had done everything but the WATER FILTER froze and split last winter. We now disconnect it so it has no residual water trapped in it. (Yes I know they recommend that it is replaced annually but they are not cheap and we haven’t used it much this year!)

  29. David Hinchliffe says:

    The Flow system is very good, but costs about £40, mine is free. keep putting great articles in your news letter. Thanks David

  30. Neil says:

    Nice tip David!

    The “Floe” systems do a similar thing but using an electronic air pump, and will ensure that every last drop of water is flushed out.

    We’ve not tested the system ourself but the Caravan Magazine reviews have been nothing but positive:


    Caravan Guard

  31. David Hinchliffe says:

    In response to another questioner, we leave our van connected to the electric supply and have done so for the past 3 winters, with out problems, we also put in an electric greenhouse heater on frost setting when the weather gets very cold. hope this helps. David

  32. David Hinchliffe says:

    One point not mentioned, to get all the water out of the van, close all taps, take the head off the shower and blow down the shower pipe, I got another litre of water out using this method, don’t forget to open tapes again afterwards, I also remove the filter as these can hold water, keep the filter to put in when you sterilise the pipes next spring, then replace it with a new one. Good article.

  33. J Button says:

    Really helpful advice for us who are facing the first winter with our caravan. We had thought of most of it, but some really useful things we hadn’t.

    Just two questions – we have been advised to keep the mains lead plugged in all, the time to keep the battery charged. Do you agree with that?

    Secondly, a magazine article (sorry, no idea where or when) suggested putting a small electric heater on frost setting in the van, on the basis that the electicity it used would be far less than reparing any damage caused by ice or damp. What do you think?

    Many thanks, James

  34. peter hicks says:

    I used a breathable cover for the first time last winter and was all good. The cover needed a few patches where it rubbed on projections ~ used the bag for patches ~ but the van was clean & tidy this spring.

  35. D thomas says:

    Good helpful article on ‘winterizing’ the caravan – some things I hadn’t thought of.

  36. Neil says:

    Glad you’re finding the advice useful guys.

    With regards to caravan covers, we think they’re a great idea providing you go for a high quality breathable one. In fact, the caravan covered in snow in the photo belongs to a friend of Caravan Guard, and they have now purchased a breathable cover after the amount of snow we had last winter!

    It’s also a good idea to go for a cover which is specifically designed for your caravan as it will not only fit perfectly, but should also have a door zip, meaning you can still check inside the caravan sporadically through the winter.

    thanks again for everyone’s comments,

    Caravan Guard

  37. mike sheldrick says:

    We have as first time caravaners adhered to the letter for winterising our caravan. We was wondering if to buy a caravan cover but some say no and some say yes what would you do ?
    Great advice to us newbies thanks.

  38. judith connors says:

    Good easy to understand advice. Thank you.

  39. Maz Tucker says:

    Thanks for the advice, we packed our caravan away at the end of October, there was a copy of things we didn’t do but most of the important ones we can happily say done. Thanks for the good advice.

  40. Ian Fleming says:

    Thanks for this advice as first season caravan owners it’s excellent and very easily followed

  41. Mervyn Stannard says:

    I would have thought that it was not a good idea to have a battery on charge in the house as a battery gives off a highly explosive gas when being charged it is recommended that when charging a battery it should be done in a well ventilated area.

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