The caravan drain down is a phrase thrown around across caravan parks around the world but as a new caravan owner, you might be feeling a little unsure on what this task entails.
At Allens Caravans, we have an extensive history of maintaining caravans and caravan parks, spanning over 50 years. During this time, our expert staff have helped thousands of park residents drain down their static caravans before the winter break, assisting them in ensuring that when they do return to their caravan home, it is in tip-top condition.
Using this experience, our team has put together this detailed guide on everything there is to know about caravan drain downs, including why they're important, what happens if you don't do one and how to undertake a drain down efficiently. Use this as a detailed resource to refer back to or, if you're looking for holistic advice covering everything about winter caravan care, check our full guide here.
What is a Caravan Drain Down and When Should You Complete One?
Caravan drain downs do exactly what they say on the tin. The purpose of drain down is to drain all of the water and fluid from your caravan's pipes and plumbing in preparation for winter. This is done to prevent freezing water from causing damage to your caravan, which can lead to expensive repairs.
Draining your caravan should be considered a priority a few weeks to a month before winter sets in. For holiday home static caravan owners, most parks will have rules and guidelines on exactly when caravan drain downs should occur, but for independent mobile home owners in Europe or the United States, early November is typically a good idea.
What Can Happen if You Don't Drain Your Caravan?
If you neglect to drain your caravan there is a very serious risk that after the winter break, you will return to water-damage. If water or fluid is left in the pipes over winter, there is a risk that it will freeze and expand. This could result in burst pipes, which will need to be replaced upon your return.
Additionally, once the water in the system eventually melts, it escapes through the burst pipes, flooding your mobile home and causing sometimes irreparable water damage. In the best-case scenario, not performing a caravan drain down will just leave you with a few water stains and an expensive repair bill; however, in the worst-case scenario, you may find your caravan is now completely unusable.
Do You Have to Complete a Drain Down Yourself?
In short – no. Many holiday home parks offer winterising services to help you prepare your caravan for the colder months, and these services usually include a drain down. However, the majority of park operators will simply offer advice and guidance rather than complete the caravan drain down for you, so it is worth getting a baseline understanding of how it works, and then ask for help when and where you need it.
How to Conduct a Caravan Drain Down
Having covered when and why drain downs are so important, we can finally cover exactly how to complete one properly. Note that all caravans are slightly different and if you are unsure about any of the following steps you should ask your park operator for advice.
Most static caravans will have a water pump connected from the outside. Simply turn off the pump and disconnect it to remove the water supply.
These should be found underneath your mobile home, though specific locations vary from caravan to caravan. There can be multiple sets of drain down taps, so make sure to look properly. Once located, either unscrew them to open the taps or remove them completely to be as thorough as possible. Additionally, ensure any non-return valves are removed, as these can sometimes prevent water from draining effectively.
This includes kitchen taps, bathroom taps and any others. Be sure to do both hot and cold taps. The water will drain directly out of the drain down taps and onto the ground beneath the caravan.
This can take some time but leave the shower head hanging down to try and achieve the best initial results.
This is the best way to ensure the shower is completely clear of fluids.
If possible, use compressed air to blow through the pipes and ensure all water has been removed. This is especially important if you expect the weather to be especially cold over the winter.
U-bends in sinks and toilets can be difficult to clear, even after being blown through. Anti-freeze is an effective failsafe method to treat any remaining water molecules in the plumbing and prevent them from freezing and causing damage. Note: do not use anti-freeze that is designed for cars, and always check that what you are using is non-toxic before utilising it in your caravan.
This is an important final step as it will help keep the cold out and reduce the risk of water freezing in your mobile home.
By following these eight steps you are sure to protect your caravan and keep it in perfect shape during the winter break.
If you are looking for a beautiful holiday caravan park to explore, be sure to check out our range of available locations across the UK. With some of the most luxurious caravans nestled in areas of incredible natural beauty, our Allens Caravans parks are the perfect choice for seasoned mobile homeowners and newcomers alike.
Get in touch with our dedicated team for more information today or learn more caravan management tips on our blog.