Static Caravan Drain Down: Are You Winter Ready?

Static caravan drain down list – find out all you need to know about winterising your holiday home with this quick and easy checklist!

Winter is here and the winds have turned bitter, and many holiday homeowners are choosing to snuggle up indoors. Whether you’re planning on staying in your holiday home over Christmas and New Year or not, static caravan drain down is something that everyone needs to consider before holiday parks shut for the winter.

Find out all you need to know about static caravan drain down from why it’s needed, how to do it properly, things to look out for and what happens when the season starts again in the new year!

What is a static caravan drain down?

This process consists of draining water from all the pipes, boiler, and any other functions to protect your holiday home from frost, ice, and cold. This is because, during cold weather, when your caravan is unoccupied, any remaining water could freeze over causing burst pipes, cracks, and other damage.

Do I have to do a static caravan drain down?

Winterising your holiday home is normally strongly advised by your holiday park operator or is a compulsory procedure. This is because ensuring extra protection over the winter months is in keeping with your insurance policy, and a failure to do so can void your cover. Not only is performing a static caravan drain down wise to keep your insurance and holiday park providers happy, but it’s your best bet against protecting your pride and joy from damage.

There would be nothing worse than returning to the park in the new season to find damp and mould, or frozen pipes, which could lead to bursts, cracks, and floods. If you need more advice on how to perform a static caravan drain down, it’s best you consult an expert – either a qualified plumber on your holiday park or a member of the sales team who knows more.

How do you drain down a static caravan?

Here are some basic steps to ensure your holiday home is winter-ready – you can even download our quick guide as a PDF below and save it to your phones!

1. Clean everywhere 

  • Clean all surfaces in the kitchen, bedroom, toilet, and lounge areas
  • Hoover up debris, then mop floors
  • Remove all fresh food from the kitchen to prevent rodents and pests
  • Disinfect fridge/ freezer and leave doors ajar
  • If leaving tinned foods, line your cupboards with paper to prevent rust rings

2. Remove valuables

You wouldn’t want to leave essential items like medications, electronics, or sentimental things on show anywhere while you’re away. Make sure you take all valuables (TV’s, laptops, games consoles) with you, and leave your curtains open to show that inside is empty. Consider leaving a sign in the window that says all valuables have been removed too.

3. Prevent damp

Damp is the nemesis of holiday homes over winter, so avoiding excess moisture is key. Start by moving all soft furnishings (once you’ve cleaned) to the centre of the room, away from walls and ceilings. Turn mattresses on their sides and try vacuum-packing duvets, sheets, and pillows. Consider removing curtains then wash and store away in air-tight bags over winter.

4. Switch off electric

Unplug all electrical appliances and clean sockets. Locate the mains switch (which should be in one of the bedroom cupboards) and switch off. Make sure the electric is disconnected throughout your holiday home.

5. Disconnect gas

Turn off the gas, disconnect the bottled supply, and store the canister somewhere safe. It’s crucial the gas isn’t left on, so try lighting one gas ring on the hob before disconnecting the gas: if it dies, there’s no gas left in the piping.

6. Drain down is crucial. Any water left in the pipes over winter can freeze, causing the pipes to expand and then split. Water can still flow through split pipes, leaving your holiday home at risk of flooding and water damage. Here are 3 easy steps to stop this:

Taps

  • Switch off the water supply at the stop cock
  • Open drain-down taps under caravan (make sure this isn’t the central heating pipes!)
  • If your van doesn’t have a drain down tap, disconnect the pipe above the stop cock
  • Turn on all taps (& shower) and leave them on until the water has drained out.

Plugs

  • Once the water stops running, pour anti-freeze down the drains & put the plugs back in. This will prevent wildlife creeping up.
  • Consider disconnecting the shower hose and shower head to ensure no water is left in them over winter.
  • Drain the water heater (check your handbook!)

Pipes

  • Now the water is switched off, flush the toilet to allow for the extra water to be freed from the cistern.
  • Pour some antifreeze down the loo and close the lid.
  • Some stuff scrunched up newspaper in the S-bend to ward off unwanted visitors.
  • Pour antifreeze down each wastepipe & stuff with paper.

7. Clean the roof

Leaves stuck in the gutter is a sure way of welcoming excess water and damp into your caravan. Start by clearing debris from the roof (wearing gloves and using a sturdy ladder.) Spray the roof and gutters with a diluted, all-purpose cleaner. Wash off dirt with a brush, dunking in a bucket of warm water to clean. Once its dirt-free, consider waxing the roof to seal & finish.

8. Protect exterior

Once the roof is clean, work your way down, using a sponge and a high-quality cleaner like Autoglym to remove all grime and dirt. Use a soft long brush for places you can’t reach, and wash in horizontal lines. Rinse off with a hose pipe or by throwing buckets of warm water over. Open the skylights and windows and clean under the edges with a 2-inch brush.

9. Lock windows & doors

It’s a good idea to wipe down the windows with a sponge, Care-avan’s Window Cleaner and plenty of water, to remove this season’s grime. You’re nearly done packing up, so lastly inspect all window seals, before closing tight & locking from the inside. Make sure the roof is watertight, and check the anchorage underneath your van.

10. Inform the park

You’ve packed up, drained down, and are certain everything is safe. It’s always worth checking up on your annual insurance policy, to make sure the park’s security systems coincide with your coverage and you’ve done everything right. Contact your park manager with any problems, & always get repairs fixed before leaving for winter. It’s always best practice to let the park know that you’re heading off for winter, and to let them know that you’ve drained down correctly!

Can I get a professional to do it?

If you’re not 100% sure of what and how to perform a static caravan drain down, it’s no problem at all to ask one of our certified plumbers to help. Contact your park reception directly, or call us on 01745 342 264 for more information on how to book a drain down, and leave the rest to the experts!