Winter Precautions.

When the weather is colder (not just in the depths of winter) we drain the fresh water system each time we return home, opening all the taps and not forgetting the hot water dump valve(s). We had a single, manual, valve on the Autoquest but have both manual and automatic on the Burstner. A tip I picked up from Don Madge is to take off the shower head and blow down the hose to empty it of water before leaving it laid on the shower tray to allow any residual water to drain. It is also a good idea to run the pump momentarily with the taps open to clear the system and to operate the toilet flush if it takes its water from the main tank.

Apart from emptying the fresh water system the grey tank, toilet cassette and flush tank (if separate) need to be emptied. We also open cupboards, lockers and drawers and raise the fixed bed and bench seats to allow airflow and avoid cold spots/condensation.

Reading some forum posts, it appears that some people use a clothes peg or clamp to stop the automatic dump valve operating when the temperature drops. That is their choice but it would invalidate any warranty (and cause an expensive repair) if the hot water tank were to freeze. When we are camping in frosty conditions we leave the water heater on low. We've found it doesn't use much gas and it certainly avoids problems, with the bonus that I don't have to wait to have a hot shower in the morning.

When we first had the Autoquest we used to leave a small oil-filled radiator on overnight to keep the temperature above freezing (our van is parked on the drive so we have an accessible hook-up socket). We then wondered whether it was really necessary so decided that we would use no heat the next winter. That turned out to be the winter of 2010/11 when we had the worst winter for years at home, with more snow than normal and for longer than normal. We experienced no problems so haven't used winter heat, when the vehicle is just parked up, since then. We do, though, sometimes use the heating (or, at least, water heating) on low overnight the night before a trip if low temperatures are forecast - but that just enables me to fill up the water tank the day before when we want to be away early (using the heater safely stops the dump valve from opening).

The manual for the fridge in the Autoquest said that winter vent covers may be fitted when the outside temperature falls below about 10 deg C and must be used when the outside temperature is below freezing. The manual for the fridge in the Burstner says they should be fitted when the ambient temperature falls below 8 deg C.

When we first had the Burstner we found that the fridge was a bit inefficient with covers fitted when night temperatures were low but sunny weather meant day temperatures were higher - so it may be necessary at some times of the year to put the covers on in the evening and take them off in the morning.

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Last updated: 24 October 2016