Holiday Home Drain Down Procedure

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Protecting your holiday home during freezing conditions is imperative. The domestic water system, shower mixer valves, taps, pipes and the boiler all require draining before there is a risk of frost. We advise that the park operator or a professional plumber should be contacted to undertake the draining and re-commissioning of your holiday home.

If you are unable to locate a suitable contractor and you are competent to drain the water system, you could use the method described below; however Russell Holiday Homes cannot be held responsible for any damage due to frost under any circumstances beyond our control.

The following method, approved by the NCC, has been developed for use with a stirrup pump that has been adapted to connect to the water inlet point of the caravan. (Stirrup pumps are available from all good caravan accessory shops). This procedure can be undertaken by one person; however it is much easier with two!

  1. Turn off the water supply at the stop tap outside.
  2. Remove the shower hose from the thermostatic mixer valve (TMV).
  3. Open the TMV's, hand basin and kitchen sink taps.
  4. Open the drain valves for the domestic water system underneath the caravan to allow water to drain from the caravan. Take care not to open the central heating drain valves as this will reduce the water pressure that has been set to enable the boiler to operate.
  5. Disconnect the supply stop tap from the caravan.
  6. When water stops running from the drain valves close them all off again.
  7. Connect the stirrup pump to the caravan inlet, taking great care not to push the grab washer along the pipe. (If this happens a new water fitting may be required)
  8. With all the taps inside the caravan open begin slowly pumping the stirrup pump. This will flush some of the water through the opened taps. When water stops flowing from the taps, stop pumping.
  9. Leave the kitchen hot tap open but close all the other taps and TMV's inside the caravan.
  10. Pump the stirrup pump slowly and steadily, water will flow from the opened tap, it may spurt out and splash so it is advisable to keep some towels handy. Keep pumping the stirrup pump until water stops flowing from the kitchen tap.
  11. Turn the kitchen hot tap off and turn the cold tap on, pump all the water out then close the tap again.
  12. Now repeat this procedure on all other taps and TMV's throughout the caravan. When opening the TMV's first turn the temperature control to the hottest setting then switch to the coldest setting when all the water has drained.
  13. When all the water feeding the taps has been blown through you will need to attend to the toilets. The toilets are drained last so that the ball valves remain closed during steps 8 to 12.
  14. Flush the toilets then operate the pump until all the excess water is blown through into the toilet cisterns.
  15. Open all taps and shower valves.
  16. Open all drain valves again, except those for the central heating system, they should now be left open to allow any excess or condensed water in the pipes to escape.
  17. Some boilers also have a drain screw on the underside, this must be removed. Please check the boiler handbook.
  18. Sponge out the remaining water from the toilet cisterns.
  19. Add an adequate amount of anti-freeze to the toilet pan, hand basin, sink and shower traps to stop them freezing. Ensure that anti-freeze does not contact the sink, hand basin or shower as it can discolour or dissolve the plastic.

Note: Before reconnecting the water to your caravan, it is advisable to open the stop tap to run the water and clear any foreign bodies that could be sitting in the end of the pipe. When the water is connected, flush the system before closing the drain valves. Next close all the taps and TMV's inside the caravan turn the water on and open one tap at a time to bleed trapped air.

By following the instructions above you will minimize the risk of frost damage to your holiday home. However, if you are in any doubt about the procedure please do not attempt to undertake the task, frost damage can be very costly to repair whereas asking your park operator or a plumber can work out much less costly.

If your holiday caravan is centrally heated the heating system should contain a special anti-freeze solution. The solution should be checked to ensure that the concentration will be adequate for the winter period where your holiday home is situated. This relieves the necessity of draining the central heating system; however the domestic hot water system will still need draining.

Russell Holiday Homes offer a Comprehensive Service Package. During each service the antifreeze solution is checked and topped up with antifreeze if required.

For further details please contact Russell Holiday Homes.

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