Winter Touring Tips

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Ash, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Ash

    Ash Trader - Service & Repairs Life Member

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    Consistently sub-zero temperatures can leave your caravan with cracked taps, split pipes and even damage to the water tanks and systems themselves – bringing your winter escape to a premature end. The best way to avoid this sort of damage is to prevent these services from freezing by keeping the caravan warm and well-insulated. Remember to check your caravan insurance policy for information on winter damage.

    This isn’t a problem when you actually in the caravan, but if you are planning on staying out for the whole day and temperatures are struggling to climb above freezing, it’s worth thinking about leaving the heating on very low just to keep the ambient temperature inside the van well above freezing.

    The likelihood of seriously sub-zero temperatures obviously increases at night, so even if you’re warm enough under the duvet, again it’s worth leaving a little bit of mains heating on to make sure the pipes don’t freeze.

    Most caravans’ Achilles heal in the depths of winter is the external water carrier or Aquaroll, which is very vulnerable to freezing in the conditions experienced in the UK last winter.

    The solution is to wrap the container in insulating material like fleece or down. Caravanners use everything from plastic bubblewrap to old duvets or quilted coats, but in extreme conditions, even these sort of measures may not be enough.

    If your van also has an onboard water tank, like a Bailey Pegasus or Swift Challenger – or provision for one – like the Bailey Olympus, it’s worth investing in the extra kit you need to operate it. These tanks will typically hold 20-30 litres of water under the seats, thus benefiting from the warmth inside the van and remaining unfrozen.

    You’ll also need to switch from Butane to Propane cylinders. Propane operates at a high pressure than Butane and can still be used when temperatures plummet as low -40 degrees Centigrade. This also means changing the regulator – as it won’t be interchangeable between the two cylinders. Speak to your regular gas supplier about getting set up for winter touring and make sure you follow all the safety procedures. Upon returning the caravan to the driveway or winter storage compound, to eliminate the risk of damaging water heaters, pipes and other services, it’s a good idea to drain down all the water systems – including easily overlooked items like the toilet flush reservoir water heater and toilet cassette.

    Once you’ve got rid of any residual water in the pipes, return the taps to the central ‘open’ position so they can release any pent up pressure caused by the expansion/contraction action of repeated freeze/thawing.

    Consult the manual relating to your specific make and model of water heater to locate the drain-down valve and make sure every last bit of water drains out.

    In early March, give everything the once-over and check that all the water, gas and electric systems are fully functional, so that when the first warm weekend of spring arrives, you’re ready to make the most of it.:Smile:
     
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