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Subject Topic: Winter Shut Down Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Baguette95 on 18/10/2013 at 9:11am
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We're off to our van at 1/2 term, last holiday of the year. We will put antifreeze in the loo cistern & switch off the water, but as this will be our 1st winter shut down, does anyone have any tips/tried & tested advice? Thanks

Message posted by amara 520 on 18/10/2013 at 4:35pm
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Switch of the water then flush the toilet(s), as the water is off they will not refill until you turn the water on next year, put the anti freeze in the toilet bowls, also down the sinks in order to leave the U traps full of anti freeze,, this also applies to the shower drain as the trap is usually outside the van. Drain off all water lines using the drain taps under the van, have all taps open when doing this to allow air into the system, if van has central heating there should be anti freeze in the system, do not drain the system down. If no central heating system drain the boiler to prevent it freezing over the winter. Take off the shower hose at the taps or put the shower head in the tray. Would also advise to uncouple the shower thermostatic valve, this is built into the hot and cold taps in the shower and this will not drain when by itself. even when both taps are open  If it freezes it is probable the cassette will split as it is only usually "monkey metal".Leave fridge/freezer doors open to prevent mould growth, close lids on toilets, maybe wipe round bowl rim with bleach before closing lid.

Leave all taps open when van is shut up and leave a note to remind you the taps are open so you do not put water back on with all taps open. If the taps are the single lever type leave them in the central position so both hot and cold sides will be open, leav eplugs out of sinks.

Pull all cushions mattresses away from outside walls

Leave all doors to bedrooms etc open to enable some air circulation and put bowls of salt in each bedroom and living areas to absorb condensation that will occur whislt van is closed for the winter. If you have an outside tap leave the tap open.Leav ecuratins only partially closed to allow the van to warm up when (if) the sun shines over the winter months. If possible put a thick blanket round the boiler. As an alternative to anti freeze you can use concentrated windscreen washer fluid (its cheaper)

When putting water back on next year, close all taps, open stop valve slowly about one turn, you will here the toilet cisterns filling. Check for water leaks in the pipework under the van, if all OK open sink taps etc , as there will be air in the system there will be some "spitting" as the water displaces the air.

If it is easy, disconnect the water stop valve from the caravan supply to prevent anyone turning it on whilst you are not there, this sometimes can happen if site staff need a water supply and you have an outside tap they can couple up to.

Turn off electricity at the consumer unit in the van, this is usually in a wardrobe.

Hope this helps.


Message posted by Baguette95 on 18/10/2013 at 8:54pm
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Many thanks Amara, great advice.

Message posted by amara 520 on 23/10/2013 at 8:27pm
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If you are limited on storage space at home for the caravan bedding/pillows/cushions  etc we have found that the vacuum storage bags (from Dunhelm and other stores) are very useful. Just put the bedding etc in them and suck the air out using a vacuum cleaner. They can be left in the van without the contents getting damp and do not take up much space.We just leave ours on a bed

Message posted by Scampi on 04/11/2013 at 3:07pm
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Is your 'van on an established site?  If so, ask at the office (or other owners) about a professional drain-down.  It costs us around 70 to have ours done (includes having it all reconnected, etc, next spring), but our insurance does not cover us for frost damage during the closed season if the 'van has not been fully drained down.

At our last visit before drain-down, we clean thoroughly, pull cushions and matresses away from the walls, unfasten curtain tie-backs, leave cupboard, wardrobe and fridge/freezer doors open,and bring home bedding, etc (it's safe to leave electricals on our site over our close-down season, but on some sites it's best to bring it all home - check with other owners).  We leave electric and gas on as our central heating boiler has a frost protect setting.

Carefully check your insurance policy - if you don't follow your insurers 'rules' for over wintering your 'van, they won't cover you, and that could be en expesive mistake.


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