Overwintering

Johnsais

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I am wondering about overwintering. Some are fastidious, others seem not to worry. I am planning on using the van as much as I can over the coming months, we were out last weekend, planning a few nights away at the end of the month, and then using it to visit all the family at Christmas (living in it as opposed to just transport). Once January rolls around we will try and get out at least once a fortnight as we have since we got the van in July. We waited long enough for it, we are going to bloody well enjoy it! We’ve already done 4000 miles since we picked it up in July and that’s mostly been staying within Wales.
We live about 3 miles from the sea and rarely get heavy frosts. The van is new, a Swift Escape 664, and seems pretty well insulated, all pipe work underneath is lagged, it has tank heaters, etc. Next year it will be kept under cover once I get the shed built so it is only this season.
So, bearing in mind it is going to be used reasonably frequently, do I need to bother with draining it all down? Are there minimum requirements which should be done to prevent damp/freezing/infestation? I want the ability to still jump in and go when the mood takes me without major planning.
Sorry for all the questions. Newbies can be such a pain can’t they?
 

barryd

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I would keep an eye on the weather forecast and just drain it down if it looks like there is going to be prolonged subzero temperatures. I never bothered for years when I first got my van. Ignorance is bliss then one year we came to use it one Christmas (2010 I think) and it had been arctic for about a week. We got to the CL in the Lake District and nothing worked. The showerhead fell to bits (just take it off) because it had water in it (plastic) which had frozen but the worse thing was the water in the pipes behind the bathroom was solid ice. Nothing split or burst but it took three days to thaw out. In the end I pointed a fan heater at the walls where the pipes were and eventually all was ok.

Now I empty everything if I am not using it over winter or there is a big freeze. I disconnect the shower head, leave the taps open and disconnect each side of the Sureflow pump and stick a pan under the ends. Then I take the bung out of the water heater outside and let that drain (some have a release valve I think) I only do this when I know its going to get nasty though and stay that way. The odd night down to zero would be ok plus our van is quite sheltered where its parked. Same for us this year. Hope to use the van over Christmas and New Year so will just keep an eye on the forecast. Its not a big job though.
 

r4dent

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I always drain down if the MoHo is not being used for a week whatever the season. That way my water is fresh. Don't forget the boiler and the toilet flush. Only takes a short time to refill.
 

Obanboy666

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I use mine at least every fortnight over the winter months and always empty water tanks and truma boiler. I usually do it on my last morning away if on a CS site or at home if wilding. It takes me no more than five minutes, open fresh water tank drain tap, wait till it empties which is no more than 3/4 minutes then open all taps in the mid position, open the boiler drain tap and switch pump on. Wait till no water coming out of Truma drain valve, activate toilet flush which uses the main water tank, job done.
Its not worth the risk imho not draining down for the sake of 5 minutes work.
 

GMJ

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I'd be draining down between trips personally. The owners of a previous MH of ours didn't and we got lumbered with the bill for a rebuild of the Truma boiler which was warped due to ice.
 

jann

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It's better to keep a full tank of water rather than leaving a tiny drop in which more likely to freeze.If you are not going to use it at all,then you need to drain thoroughly and blow the last drop of water out.
We don't drain. We keep a heater on in winter on a thermostat,with doors open to circulate the warm air.The van is in daily use ,it is parked next to a wall on two sides.We may think differently if it was out in the open.
 

GMJ

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Given that water expands when it freezes I would never leave a full tank personally. A tiny drop wouldn't be as much of a problem if it froze (depending on where it is sitting in your system obviously) I reckon but a full tank freezing could well cause a great deal of damage.
 

wildebus

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I'm away in the Motorhome right now for a few days but I reckon while this won't be the last time I use it until next spring, it is much more likely from now on to be day trips rather than overnighters, so will be a drain-down when I get home and just carry bottles of water for drinking/cooking and spray bottle for loo use.
 

Tookey

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Back to the best knowledge base around…

I am wondering about overwintering. Some are fastidious, others seem not to worry. I am planning on using the van as much as I can over the coming months, we were out last weekend, planning a few nights away at the end of the month, and then using it to visit all the family at Christmas (living in it as opposed to just transport). Once January rolls around we will try and get out at least once a fortnight as we have since we got the van in July. We waited long enough for it, we are going to bloody well enjoy it! We’ve already done 4000 miles since we picked it up in July and that’s mostly been staying within Wales.
We live about 3 miles from the sea and rarely get heavy frosts. The van is new, a Swift Escape 664, and seems pretty well insulated, all pipe work underneath is lagged, it has tank heaters, etc. Next year it will be kept under cover once I get the shed built so it is only this season.
So, bearing in mind it is going to be used reasonably frequently, do I need to bother with draining it all down? Are there minimum requirements which should be done to prevent damp/freezing/infestation? I want the ability to still jump in and go when the mood takes me without major planning.
Sorry for all the questions. Newbies can be such a pain can’t they?
You say you hardly get frosts, everything is insulated/lagged and you plan to use it during winter........well I would do 'diddly squat' personally 🤷‍♂️
 

Robmac

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Do you have unlimited mileage on your insurance?

If not remember to keep an eye on what you are clocking up and ring them to increase if necessary.
 

Johnsais

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Good replies from everyone, thank you. I always empty fresh and waste tanks after each trip but will in future ensure taps are drained too. Must check manual on how to drain the Truma too. Definitely better safe than sorry.
 
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witzend

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Must check manual on how to drain the Truma too. Definitely better safe than sorry.
Perhaps not all but a lot of Trumas have a auto drain valve which drops the water in the boiler as it nears freezing point if your planning to use it during the winter most people disable it for when vans in use yours probably looks like this one found nr boiler

3010431-800px.jpeg
 
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barryd

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If you do drain down, beware of the dreaded in your face blowback when you connect everything up again and turn on the taps. Of course this could just be me but every time I connect everything up again and fill up air gets in the pipes and you can guarantee as the water starts to spatter into the Kitchen sink it will suddenly with great force explode into the sink as it disperses an air bubble and all over the place and you. :D Gets me every time.
 

barge1914

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It's better to keep a full tank of water rather than leaving a tiny drop in which more likely to freeze.If you are not going to use it at all,then you need to drain thoroughly and blow the last drop of water out.
We don't drain. We keep a heater on in winter on a thermostat,with doors open to circulate the warm air.The van is in daily use ,it is parked next to a wall on two sides.We may think differently if it was out in the open.
Beware power cuts!
 

colinm

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For us the differance between a quick drop of tanks (and Truma) and 'full drain down' is opening taps (with power off) and blowing down them. Hardly onerous, of cause it might be more work for your Swift.
 
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