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Holiday home owners guide

Owning a caravan holiday home provides you with the opportunity to create a relaxed, tranquil and luxurious lifestyle. Needless to say though like any other luxury, your holiday home does need regular inspection and routine maintenance. Below is some simple but effective advice which will help you ensure you have many happy holidays.

Insurance: Johnston’s Caravans Ltd also provide insurance to cover Storm, Theft, Debris, Accidental and Flood damage. These are all things which are out of our control and some of the risks which caravan insurance will cover. Most parks stipulate that you must ensure your holiday home is adequately insured and that you provide proof of this annually. Insurance is one of the most important ways to protect your investment.

Frost Protection: Whilst your caravan holiday home is unoccupied, even during the season we recommend that it is a good habit to turn off the water supply to your unit. Off season when frost is high risk it is important to properly drain down the water system through the drain valves on both the pipework and the water heater/combi boiler. Johnston’s Caravans Ltd provides a professional frost protection service and then re-connects the unit prior to the start of next season. If your holiday home has a wet central heating system it is imperative that the boiler be serviced regularly to maintain a satisfactory level of anti-freeze protection in the sealed central heating system and that same aspect of the combi-boiler also

Condensation: Whether its the air we breathe, the gas flame under a kettle or a hot morning shower, moisture is added to the atmosphere in a holiday home from a wide range of sources, when this warm moist air finds a cold surface condensation is formed. This is a well known threat in holiday homes and needs to be taken seriously. Excess moisture can gather to result in mould mildew, musty smells and even panel discolouration/damage. the single best weapon when combating condensation is good ventilation, regardless what other steps are taken, if proper ventilation is not maintained moisture will inevitably collect. Repairs and replacements can be costly, therefore as with most things prevention is better than cure. Some simple steps to keep condensation under control include: never block any fixed vents! When using the shower always keep the door closed and use the extractor vent or open vents as appropriate. Always dry clothes/towels outside where possible or inside with the window open. Double glazing greatly helps as the inside pain is much warmer than in single glazing thus the main trouble spot where condensation gathers is much less prone to creating moisture. Using the central heating for longer periods of time at a lower setting is much more beneficial than short hot blasts which can allow cold spots to remain where moisture could gather. When away from your holiday home for extended periods of time, leave internal and wardrobe doors along with drawers open to aid air circulation. Leave curtains and nets open to allow heat from the sun radiate into the unit and ensure all fixed air vents are not obstructed. Where furniture is free standing move it away from walls, stand mattresses and cushions up on end, away from walls to expose as much surface area as possible. Double glazing does help in reducing but not eliminating condensation. The best way to reduce condensation is to have adequate ventilation which provides regular air changes and in doing so reduces the moist air content.

Chassis: If your caravan on the beach front or is particularly exposed to the salt air it is definately worth having the chassis greased to protect against rust. Caravan manufacturers now offer a galvanised chassis which may be worth considering when upgrading your caravan holiday home. Anchor points and tie downs should be inspected periodically for corrosion.

Routine Inspection and Maintenance: To keep your caravan in top condition it is recommended to routinely inspect for any effects of leaks, especially after winter storms. Particular interest should be given to areas around vertical side joints (including those above/below windows and doors), the four corners, bay windows, skylight systems and along the roof gutter joints. Gutters should be kept clean of sand/leaves etc. Window/door catches should be operated and oiled as required. Check fire extinguishers to be in good order and fire escape windows/doors are accessible and opening.

Gas Installations: It is recommended that gas appliances be checked for safety and serviced as necessary on an annual basis by a registered engineer. Any holiday home newly sited and commissioned for gas should come with fire extinguisher, smoke alarm and two carbon monoxide alarms as standard safety equipment, these are all items which can be fitted to your holiday home during gas service/safety checks. Only an engineer who is registered as a Registered Gas Installer Of Ireland (RGII) is legally permitted to carry out ANY works on a gas appliance or installation. Their registration is very easy to verify on the RGII website.

Once you have purchased, what to expect at point of handover

Having chosen your holiday home and park the dealer should arrange delivery to your chosen plot and make all arrangements regarding  delivery, positioning on plot, securely blocked and tied to the anchor points by means of chain and shackle, (with tensioners used solely to tension, not secure the chain ties). Following this connection to services, including water, waste, electricity and ensuring that the gas installation has been pressure tested and passed all safety inspections, with a safety cert issued by an RGII engineer. The owner’s handbook and all instruction books for the gas appliances MUST be handed over, and where present the proper operation demonstrated to the customer. There should also be a full set of keys for the holiday home including any external storage lockers.

Possible pitfalls to avoid 

Since a holiday home which has been maintained in good order may appear to be younger than it actually is, verifying the correct model year is very important as it will impact both the value and the life you may expect to enjoy it on your chosen park. At point of manufacture all holiday homes are fitted with means of identification; data badge serial/chassis numbers, initial electrical inspection certs and original owner handbooks also will identify the model year. If these have been removed it may be cause for suspicion, other means of identification include gathering data badge info from any appliances fitted at point of manufacture. With over 50 years’ experience in the industry Johnston’s Caravans will happily aid you should you have concerns regarding the age of any holiday home.

When purchasing a holiday home it is important to buy from a reputable dealer to be assured that the unit will have undergone any necessary structural maintenance and to have peace of mind for any aftersales requirements.


There are a number of options and types of insurance cover for your holiday home, ranging from market value to a full reinstatement new for old type policy. Johnston’s’ Caravans Ltd can arrange insurance to cover Storm, Theft, Debris, Accidental and Flood Damage. These are all things outside of our control and some of the risks caravan insurance will cover. Most parks stipulate that you must ensure your holiday home is adequately insured, and that you provide proof of this annually. Insurance is one of the most important ways to protect your investment.