With winter comes a host of harsh weather conditions. Ice, wind and rain wreak havoc on our roads, vehicles and homes, causing expensive damage.
Repairs to frost-beaten boilers and pipes will not come cheap, so pre-empt those eye-watering bills and winterise your motorhome well in advance.
Motorhome Protect understand that a mobile home is a significant investment, one that should be protected.
It’s so much more than a regular vehicle; it’s a treasured holiday home to be enjoyed with family and friends, for years to come.
Most winter-related damage is so easily avoided – all you need to do is follow a simple winter checklist.
Of course, you can never rule out accidental damage or theft, among other risks. That’s why it’s so important to secure reliable cover.
Here at Motorhome Protect, we specialise in motorhome insurance, offering straightforward packages tailored to your needs and budget.
Better yet, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.
Take a look at our top tips on winterising your house trailer before the snow hits… don’t wait!
How do you prepare a motorhome for winter?
The best method to winter proof your recreational vehicle is to regularly use it; however, chilly winter trips don’t appeal to everyone.
Whether you’re storing your mobile home this winter, or planning on some cosy camping trips, you’ll need to take measures to protect your vehicle.
Both choices will require some general maintenance, repairs, cleaning and damp-busting.
Both have one enemy in common – ice.
How do I store my mobile home this winter?
If you know your motorhome will be standing empty throughout winter, your first consideration should be water.
Water means ice, damp and potentially huge repair bills, so we’ll start by focusing on water-related damage control.
It’s important to drain any and all water from your vehicle’s system, as leftover water could freeze, leading to burst pipes, damaged taps and showerheads, and broken heating systems.
Start by emptying your waste and water tanks, opening your dump valves.
Modern house trailers’ tanks tend to be operated via a lever or switch, while older models’ tanks are emptied using the pump.
Also make sure the cassette toilet is fully emptied, washed and cleaned, then grease the cassette’s blade with olive oil. Leave the cassette with the blade open.
Turn on all the taps in your recreational vehicle, from the kitchen to the bathroom. This helps drain the water and gets some air up inside them.
Once the outflow is no more than a drip here and there, you could try blowing compressed air inside the taps, which will help get rid of those final pesky droplets.
If your showerhead is a removable model, tip the head and hose until all excess water has dribbled out.
Before draining your water heater, refer to the system handbook.
Once you’ve located the dump valve, start emptying.
Some modern heating systems have an automatic valve controlled by a thermostat, releasing water as soon as the temperature drops below a certain level.
Don’t risk it: if you’re not using your mobile home, make sure the heater’s drained, because, one day, the system may fail – another reason quality motorhome insurance is so essential.
Get rid of any inline water filters. These are likely damp, and may freeze, damaging your vehicle’s system. You can replace them in the new season.
Make a point of checking for damp and water ingress areas, as these could spell trouble down the line, should they go unattended.
Purchase a budget hydrometer and assess any areas that may be particularly vulnerable – inside cupboard and near the roof lights, for example.
Get leakages fixed straight away, and fight the damp by keeping doors and windows ajar on relatively mild days.
Prop cupboards and cabinets open, too, while you’re stationary. Trapped air is one of the main culprits in the dampness department, so fresh air is a great remedy.
If your budget can stretch to it, consider keeping a small, thermostatically controlled heater going, set above freezing temperature.
This helps fight ice and protects soft furnishings from damp.
Ideally, try to keep soft furnishings in a warm part of your house, as this will keep them in tip-top condition for future seasons.
There are plenty of common-sense precautions all motorhome owners should take before stowing away their vehicle.
It’s hard to remember everything, so here are the essentials:
- Cover upholstery with sheets to keep dust away. Damp dust can get ingrained in soft furnishings, and it doesn’t smell good.
- Fight rust by applying silicone oil to locker hinges.
- Spray the cassette’s lip seal with a seal lubricant to keep it supple during winter and prevent sticking.
- If you can, remove your vehicle’s battery completely, keeping it somewhere dry and warm, connected to a smart battery conditioner.
- If you’re unable to remove leisure/vehicle batteries, check for unnecessary sources of power drainage and get rid of them.
- Purchase a breathable cover for your house trailer, ideally one that’s water and UV protected. This will help combat algae and mould build up, amongst other environmental factors.
- Give the external bodywork an extra layer of protection by applying exterior protector fluid.
- To keep the brakes from sticking, keep the engine in gear, the handbrake off, and chock the wheels.
- Pump some extra air into your tyres, increasing the pressure by 0.2 bar, and move your house trailer now and then, to prevent flat tyres.
- Turn gas bottles off, or remove them completely, storing them securely throughout winter.
- Switch off all gas control valves.
If you’re able to, take your motorhome out on a lengthy drive, on a regular basis.
It’s a fantastic way to maintain vehicle health: airing it, lessening the chance of the mechanics seizing up, and charging the batteries.
After a long, cold winter, you’ll be raring to get back on the road in your beloved motorhome.
So, the last thing you want is to climb aboard only to meet unpleasant odours or, worse, rat droppings.
That’s why it’s best to perform a cleaning blitz before locking up.
Follow these 5 top tips:
- Thoroughly clean out the cassette and use a tank cleaner – this will help remove limescale build-up, as well as any nasty smells.
- Totally empty your fridge, removing all food and cleaning every inch, so there’s nothing left to attract unwelcome visitors, such as mice.
- Keep the fridge propped open, to avoid mould growth.
- Strip the cupboards bare – leftover food means vermin.
- Clean your mobile home’s exterior, and apply a coat or two of wax.
How do I prepare my mobile home for winter camping?
Even if you’ll be using your recreational vehicle during winter, water-related problems are still a top concern, as is staying warm.
On top of this, you’ll need to take every precaution to ensure your motorhome is safe on the road.
Winter roads are often wet, icy and dangerous, with the potential for snow, mist, hail and poor visibility.
Accidents can and do happen, so make sure you have reliable motorhome insurance.
Now, let’s take a look at our top winter camping tips…
When you’re venturing off on winter trips, you want to feel assured you’ll have running water and a working heater.
Some mobile homes have a double floor. Beneath the main floor there will be a heated cavity, within which the water systems are housed.
Some vehicles have fresh water tanks on-board, which can access heat from the general living quarters.
Other motorhomes have underslung, external fresh water tanks.
These need insulating, and, if you haven’t got one already, a tank heater.
Insulation alone is not enough, as it will only delay the freezing process: once the tank’s contents freezes, it’ll take far longer to melt than it would in an uninsulated tank.
It’s relatively straightforward to fit electrically heated mats to external fresh water tanks, should you need to.
Heating an external tank uses ample energy, so camping far from power supplies for an extended stretch of time is not a wise move.
You can also insulate external pipes, your waste tank, and your pipe and tank heaters – make sure you protectively wrap the drain valve, too.
At night, empty the waste tank and leave the valve open, placing a bucket below to catch any waste output during the night.
Consider pouring a saline solution down the sink just before bed, as this will help combat any lingering smells.
Condensation can become an issue, so ensure a ventilation mesh layer is placed beneath your mattress.
Consider purchasing a product like the Pingi Moisture Killer, a condensation-absorbing bag.
Use a top-quality external windscreen cover to combat condensation forming on the inside of the windscreen.
Winter means thick woolly jumpers, hats and scarves. However, during the long, cold nights, layers aren’t really enough – you need heating.
If your mobile home doesn’t have a heating system, you’ll have to bring an electric heater.
Be warned, these guzzle energy, so make sure you’re near to a reliable hook-up – you don’t want to deplete your gas or diesel supplies.
Try to get hold of a duel-fuel heater, if possible.
Whether you have an electric heater or a water heater, ensure they’re thermostatically set to kick in around 10˚C.
You don’t want your water heater freezing up, and some automatically empty when the temperature falls below a certain point – a thermostat should prevent this from occurring.
Here are 4 more heat efficiency boosting tips:
- Go for carpeted floors and place carpet underlay within bed lockers.
- Wheel arches are prone to heat loss, so insulate if possible.
- Pack plenty of warm blankets, hot water bottles, thick jumpers and socks.
- Resist the temptation to block your vehicle’s vents as this could pose a safety risk.
You could also use a radiator flush treatment, available for purchase online and in stores.
This is an effective way to clear sludge, rust and other blockages from your mobile heaters, keeping them in optimal condition.
Staying safe on the road
A winter mobile home holiday means driving on roads that are often wet, icy and dangerous.
Having reliable motorhome insurance is vital, as it protects you and your investment from costly bills, should road accidents or damage occur.
Consider purchasing winter tyres, as these have a superior grip on the road.
A house trailer is a larger than average vehicle, so it’s more vulnerable to collisions.
Winter tyres have a greater tread depth, containing a higher percentage of silica and rubber. They lessen braking distances and the chance of blowouts.
Whether or not you use winter tyres, it’s illegal to have tyres with a tread depth lower than 1.6mm, although experts recommend maintaining a minimum of 4mm in wintertime.
You’re less likely to aquaplane or lose grip on the roads – in a sizeable mobile home this is a real risk.
Make sure you only drive in an optimum condition, and avoid driving in extreme weather, especially when the roads are icy or snow-covered.
Pack a safety kit, including the following:
- First aid kit
- Adequate food and water supplies
- Snow shovel
- High-vis vest
- Wind-up torch
- Warning triangle
During winter, snow chains are legally required in some countries.
If you’re planning a motorhome trip abroad this winter, make sure you have suitable snow chains on board. T
hey help prevent accidents on ice or snow-covered roads, and are easy to use.
Simply drape them across each wheel, securing with clips. They’ll gradually align as you slowly drive forward.
Protect your motorhome this winter
A motorhome is a big investment, so even if it’s out of action during the winter months, ensure you’ve got dependable motorhome insurance.
Motorhome Protect can arrange specialist cover, which may include the benefits such as:
- Up to £3,000 cover for camping personal effects
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
- Unlimited cover across all EU countries
Give yourself peace of mind, and look after your mobile home this winter – get a quote today.