Winterisation – Prepare Your Motorhome For The Big Chill
Most people will pack their motorhome away for the chilly winter months – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’ve got a suitable motorhome and it’s adequately prepared, you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors all year round.
There are some advantages to winter adventures; fewer traffic jams and more space at campsites to name but two. If you want to get a bobble hat on and embrace the elements, here are a few considerations.
It’s widely accepted that European motorhomes are built to a higher standard to UK vehicles. That is important all-year round, but especially so in the winter.
For a HYMER to be classed ‘winterproof’, the central point of a vehicle, one metre above the interior floor in the middle of the living area, must heat up to a comfortable 20°C within two hours – and the temperature difference at five other measuring points inside the vehicle must not exceed 7°C.
To be fully winterised, it’s the same procedure but the starting temperature is -15℃ and after two hours the plumbing should all be working normally.
German vehicles tend to have double floors with radiators running through them, which makes a huge difference to the temperature of the interior.
If you need to boost your heating, an electric heater can be effective, but does increase power consumption.
All premium German motorhomes are primarily made with aluminium sides rather than fibreglass.
Tanks and pipes
Choose a motorhome where the fresh water tank is housed inside the vehicle. This makes it far more unlikely that your water supply will freeze up, which is the biggest danger of winter roaming. Living without running water is no fun.
The other consideration is your waste water tank. If that is externally located, make sure it is suitably insulated with a jacket, as well as covering the pipes and connectors with insulation. Low-power internal and external heaters can be purchased to protect your waste water tank.
Some high-end motorhomes will have heated elements to prevent waste water tank freezing as standard.
A winterised motorhome will have high grade insulation on all pipes. Motorhomes with double floors don’t need pipe insulation as such. On other vehicles, concentrate your efforts on the pipes which are flush with the exterior walls.
Use propane in cold weather, as propane has a higher boiling point than butane and gives you a higher gas efficiency.
Lubricants, Fluids and Tyres
Before you head out on your winter excursion, ensure you have good quality oils and anti-freeze in place. A screen wash with a low freezing point is also a good idea.
If it’s likely to be particularly cold, extra precautions could be taken in damp conditions by keeping the door and window seals dry and, once opened, wiping down regularly. Keep the locks lubricated to limit the chances of getting locked in.
Whatever you do, get those winter tyres on and take a grip mat in case you find yourself on a sodden or snow-covered campsite.
Don’t forget those extra winter warmers – a good quality duvet, an external thermal insulation screen and bonnet cover and a rubber door mat will make all the difference.
A thick curtain pulled around the cab can help as a lot of heat is lost through the windscreen and put silver screens on the windows.
Keep the de-icer, windscreen scraper and shovel handy.
Most importantly, take extra caution and drive safely.