With the winter months rapidly approaching, it's time to start getting organised for closing down your static. We've put together a few helpful-hints:
RULES & REGULATIONS:
- Check with your park if they require the full "drain-down" to be done via them, if you are able to source elsewhere, or if they allow you to do it yourself! Usually you are required to put your decision to the park in writing, or they will automatically do it for you and you will be charged accordingly!
- Check with your insurance company that you are still covered if you decide not to use your park's services.
- You'll probably find if you have your insurance through the park, part of your insurance contract is for the park to process your drain-down.
- Make sure you are aware of your park's "visiting-hours" over the closed season: some allow owners on park between certain times, others don't allow owners on park at all:- so it's worth checking before you make the trip to check on your Holiday Home only to be turned away at the gate!
- Stack all your seating cushions in a "tipee" fashion, away from all outside walls. If you have room, don't stack them on the floor, as the covers may get a bit mouldy from the damp underneath the Holiday Home. If you have room at home to store them: perfect, (but not terribly practical for most of us!)
- Take any curtains or net curtains down to avoid mould through the window condensation, (good opportunity to wash them through for next season!)
- If you have blinds, apparently it's advisable to leave them "up" as it can damage the mechinism if they are left "down" for long periods of time.
- Move all mattresses away from the outside walls.
- If you have bedding, either take home with you or store in vaccum-sealed bags, again away from outside walls or the floor.
- Pretty obvious really, but turn all appliances off and un-plug!
- Clean out your fridge/freezer and defrost. Leave the door open over the winter to prevent any nasty smells when you return to re-open!
- Clean the microwave and the oven and again, leave the doors ajar.
- Turn your boiler off. If you have central heating, some recommend that you leave it on the lowest setting over the closed period.
- Most of the bigger parks will still have security and other staff on site throughout the closed season, some of the smaller parks close down completely. Regardless: most will advise that you remove all valuables from your Holiday Home, or at least move them "out of sight."
- Some parks will provide a window sign stating that no valuables are inside, which is useful. (You can always print your own off, if the park don't use these!)
- If you do leave curtains or blinds up, most parks will advise you leave them open. This is so any passing "wanderers" can see there is nothing of value inside, but is also useful for the security staff to keep an eye on things.
- Don't forget to lock all doors and windows as you leave!
- Give the Holiday Home a good clean: it helps to minimise the risk of mould or bacteria forming over the closed season.
- Remove all food! If you are leaving canned goods, stand them on paper in your cupboards to prevent "rust-rings!"
- DON'T cover any vents: these have been specifically designed to prevent any furry-friends from visiting but they will help to eliminate condensation.
- Do a quick visual check around the outside of the Holiday Home and keep an eye open for any obvious potential problems over winter.
- Clear any debris from the guttering, which will allow any rain water (or snow) to flow through the drainage system and reduce the risk of roof-flooding, which in turn could lead to leaks into your Holiday Home.
SALT v CAT LITTER!
- Usual advice is to leave bowls of salt dotted around the Holiday Home, (window-sills especially), to absorb the moisture inside your Holiday Home.
- Some owners have found cat litter works better!
- Whichever you choose, add some washing powder to the bowls and your Holiday Home smells a lot nicer when you re-open!
- Larger parks may even offer salt free of charge, so do check before you head to the local supermarket to get yours.
- Most "pound-shops" also sell dehumidifying plastic tubs, which also work well, but don't use them as your sole source of anti-condensation!
- If you do decide to drain-down yourself, it's not that difficult!
- Turn the electricity supply off: at the internal fuse-box, (usually in a wardrobe), and at the outside box.
- Turn the gas supply off. Ideally any gas canisters should be stored inside, but this is not practical for most and even the parks themselves do not do this!
- Turn the water supply off, (usually a stop-cock underneath the Holiday Home.) Then turn all the taps, (and shower), on and leave them until they run dry. Leave them turned ON and ensure no plugs are in situ. Flush the W.C until there is no water in the cistern. Don't forget your outside tap if you have one!
- Find your Holiday Home's drainage taps, (usually under the Holiday Home), and turn on to drain any water left in the system and the pipes. Leave these drainage taps OPEN. (You may need a spanner to turn them.)
- Pour antifreeze down every sink, the shower & the W.C - it doesn't hurt to follow that with salt! This helps to reduce the risk of any residual water left in the system freezing over the winter months and causing problems when it thaws!
- Some recommend putting crumpled newspaper into the toilet bowl to prevent any furry visitors...
Then it's time to say a final farewell to your beloved Holiday Home until next season!
BUT IT DOESN'T STOP THERE!
- Just because your Holiday Home is no longer open, doesn't mean that guests stop looking for their next holiday!
- So get cracking and fill as many dates for next season as you can NOW! It will make your life a lot easier next year!
- Check through your booking forms and Terms and Conditions, (and if you haven't got any: OH MY GOODNESS: WHY NOT!?) and make sure they are all up-to-date for the forthcoming season.
- Make a start on any replacements you may need for next season with regards to utensils, bedding etc so it's not all a last minute rush when you open up again and nothing gets forgotten.
ALL TOO MUCH?
- Of course, if advertising your Holiday Home and dealing with the rentals is all getting a bit too much: there is a simple solution for you!
- Jump on board with us at Als Van Managed Rentals and we'll oversee it all for you!
- We offer a full management service, from finding your guests, to booking them in and dealing with the paperwork and payments through to their actual arrival and departure.
- We have some basic information on our website here, but we have a much more detailed pack drafted out which we can email over to you, for you to read at your leisure!
- "Handing over" your rentals is a big decision to make and it needs to be the right option for you! We only want "Happy-Owners" on board with us at AVMR!
- We ARE looking to take on more properties over the closed season and can deal with any type of Holiday Home, in any location, so get in touch!