Static Caravan Drain Down & Frost Damage Advice

It’s every caravan owner’s worst nightmare – returning to the park  after the winter close down to find that a burst pipe has caused catastrophic damage! At this time of year it’s really important to consider the impact of frost damage and ensure that you are prepared.

At this time it’s important that you are prepared, and to take the necessary measures to protect your holiday home whilst unoccupied against frost damage.

Firstly, check your insurance policy to see how cover is provided during periods when the caravan is unoccupied, you should be aware of any exclusions or restrictions which apply.

Next, refer to your ‘Manufacturer’s Handbook’, this will provide specific guidance about your system. If you are unsure about conducting the process yourself, ask your park for assistance – many offer a winterisation service and it’s worth considering if you don’t have the ability, time or equipment to undertake the drain down.

Locating the stopcock is a very useful exercise. If it is easily accessed, make sure that you turn it off whenever you leave the caravan, especially if you have arranged for the park or a contractor to undertake the full drain down. Turning off the mains water supply will significantly minimise any damage caused by any burst pipes in the interim.

Lots of our members are happy to do their own drain down, if this if something you are considering then here’s our guide:

  • Turn off the gas supply.
  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Locate external water drainage plugs underneath your caravan and open them.
  • Turn on all taps including the shower and leave open. Make sure that nothing obstructs plugholes and leave the showerhead in the shower tray or bath.
  • Flush the toilet and ensure that all water is drained from the cistern.
  • The pipe work should be ‘blown through’ using compressed air to make sure that all water has been removed from your holiday home.
  • It is advisable to add a small amount of non-toxic anti-freeze or salt into any remaining water in the bowl or toilet as well as traps in the sinks and showers.
  • Ensure that any water heaters are drained. Having already isolated the gas supply, turn the water temperature control to position 1 (warm) and then having a suitable container below the drain valve, allow the water content to drain by unscrewing the drain down valve. The drain down valve should not be replaced until the water heater is used again.

It is also advisable to ensure that all exposed piping is adequately lagged. When returning to your holiday home, simply reverse the procedure above.


  • It is imperative water systems are drained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations to avoid a potential disaster and that it is carried out in a competent manner. We recommend that you employ the services of either a qualified local engineer or instruct the park to undertake the drain down.
  • If your holiday home is fitted with a hot water central heating you should note that it is a self-contained pressurised system. A qualified engineer should maintain it regularly. DO NOT remove the drain plugs to your central heating system.
  • If you have any doubts, consult your park manager for further advice or for direction to a recognised tradesman.

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  Published on 10 November 2017 By Dan Ellacott

About Dan Ellacott

Dan plays a key management role within NACO and also assists with our Advice Team and magazine production.