habitation service

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habitation service

Post by jeffg on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:31 pm

Do most of us have habitation checks every year? It seems a lot of money for checks that could mostly be done yourself.
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Re: habitation service

Post by burlingtonboaby on Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:29 pm

Hi jeff
Most new vans will come with a three/two or one years warranty, the T & Cs normally require the owner to have an annual hab check to claim for any warranty issues .
Some Members with older vans (including me) damp check and go through the habitation equipment ourselves .
Boaby
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Re: habitation service

Post by daisy mae on Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:36 pm

I have mine done every year, because I am not able to check gas etc.  I had it done at Auto-sleepers last year as I wasn`t happy with the mobile one I had the year before.

Do others consider it wise to have  it checked annually?, when MH isn`t under warranty as mine isn`t.

regards,
Marg.
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Re: habitation service

Post by bikeralw on Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:38 pm

Anyone with a good grasp of DIY should be able to carry out a habitation check on their van themselves. It's the sort of thing you do with your house without thinking about it. Being an engineer I think I do a far better job than so called professionals. Gas has been mentioned, and if you don't feel confident checking that side, by all means get an expert in. Myself, I make sure connections are tight and flexible hoses replaced now and again.
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Re: habitation service

Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:03 am

burlingtonboaby wrote:Hi jeff
Most new vans will come with a three/two or one years warranty, the T & Cs normally require the owner to have an annual hab check to claim for any warranty issues .
Some Members with older vans (including me) damp check and go through the habitation equipment ourselves .
Boaby
I should add that the Gas appliances in the van are checked bi-annually by our GasSafe engineer.  up!
Boaby
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Re: habitation service

Post by jeffg on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:21 am

Thanks for the response. I had a water ingress problem on my van (now 11 years old, but very good condition). Thought I would get a professional repair, starting with a proper survey. I chose someone from the Caravan club mag. (motorhome specialists, 30 years experience etc) Mentioned a damp problem when I took it in. I was surprised to get perfect report. damp levels better than 10%. When I pointed out where the water was coming through I was told that they only check window frames and roof hatches! Fixed problem myself (I hope).
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Re: habitation service

Post by Paulmold on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:23 am

I have an annual check since reading the small print of my insurance which states they won't cover fire damage unless I have a check by a 'Corgi' engineer (just shows how out of date and clueless they really are) so I don't want to give them a get-out.

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Re: habitation service

Post by bikeralw on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:57 am

I'd change insurance companies. Just studied the small print on my policy and there's no mention of a fire get out clause. I liken it to them saying they won't cover a vehicle unless it has an annual service by a VAT registered garage. I've done all routine maintenance jobs on all my vehicles since the day a wheel almost came off my car two days after having a comprehensive service done by a franchised dealer. Bolts on all the wheels were found to have been done up finger tight..
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Re: habitation service

Post by Peter Brown on Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:55 am

I had it done by dealer/service centre when in warranty but them myself. This year at 5.5 years old and spending a lot on tyres etc, I took the opportunity of being in the area of having the van inspected at Willersey, the philosophy being they see vans all day every day and if something is deteriorating they should spot it.

The damp check is very thorough and you get a diagram showing all the test points and the damp level recorded there. Mine was perfect apart from one point where the offside wall meets the floor where the cab joins the habitation area - at that point it was off the scale.

They didn't have time to attend to it but identified the cause and advised me how to effect a repair. This I did and monitored with the Aldi damp meter that Paul mentioned some time ago till it was dry.

So in summary, if you are competent, do it yourself but if you get a chance, every few years let the service centre have a look.

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Re: habitation service

Post by Quilter on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:38 am

For those who wish to do their own checks this is a copy of the approved list that I found some years ago. From our own bitter experience I would also suggest  checking the gas regulator washers and O rings on gas filler adapters as they are liable to crumble and cause leaks.  They cost only pence to replace anyway.


The following guidelines for the checking and servicing of a motorhome's habitation area are taken from the guidance booklet published by the Motorhome Section of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Motorhome Division of The National Caravan Council (NCC). 

The checks do not cover any part of the base vehicle, although there may be minor overlapping (such as tyre pressures, cab seats, internal lights, battery and windows) in a van conversion. The base vehicle must be serviced in accordance with the chassis manufacturer's instructions. 

Reference should also be made to: 

1. Any owner's manual or equivalent supplied with the vehicle by the motorhome manufacturer. 

2 Appliance manufacturers' leaflets. 

3. Driver s handbook or equivalent supplied by the chassis manufacturer. 
A vehicle is accepted for service at the dealer's discretion. 
Any defects, repairs, adjustments, cleaning or lubrication required will be noted on the check list. 
The customer's approval will be obtained before any work is done. 

Not all of the equipment mentioned in this manual is fitted as standard to every motorhome 

Any work carried out following the check, and the sufficiency of the work in the check itself, is subject to the contract between the customer and the dealer. The National Caravan Council (NCC) & SMMT and their member companies are not part of this contract, and accept no liability in contract, tort or otherwise, other than death or personal injury due to negligence on their part. 


SECTION 1 
BODY MOUNTING 

1.1 BODY TO CHASSIS 
Examine all fixings retaining the body to the chassis - this may be direct or through a sub-frame. 
Where practical, all fittings should be checked to ensure they are all present and correctly secured. 

1.2 BODY TO CAB 
Examine joint between body and cab for signs of movement and soundness of sealing media. 

1 .3 BODY RETENTION (Dismountables) 
Check serviceability and tightness of body retaining gear. 
Check serviceability of body support struts and mountings. 
(Note - whether it will be necessary to demount the body to check the 
body supports must be agreed between dealer and customer). 


SECTION 2 
WINDOWS 

2.1 WINDOWS 
Check window glazing rubber or sealing for cracks and general condition. 
Check for satisfactory opening and closing. 
Check fixing of top hinge rail on top hung windows. 
Check for good weather seal when window is closed and latched. 
Check catches and stays for satisfactory operation. 


SECTION 3 
DOORS 

3.1 EXTERNAL DOORS 
Not including base vehicle doors. 

3.1.1 SECURITY 
Check that hinges and catches are satisfactory and that, when latched, doors are held securely shut. 
Check that keys or internal latches lock the doors correctly. 
Check that any device fitted to hold a door in the open position is satisfactory. 

3.1.2 SEALING 
Check all door seals for cracking and general condition. Check correct closing to give a weather-tight seal. 

3.1.3 CHILDPROOF LOCK 
Where a door is fitted with a childproof lock, check that an appropriate warning notice is fixed adjacent to the door. 
Appropriate warning notices are available from motorhome manufacturers. 

3.2 INTERNAL DOORS 

3.2.1 SECURITY 
Check that hinges and catches are satisfactory and that, when latched, the door is held securely shut. 

3.2.2 SAFETY 
Check that any device fitted to hold a door in the closed position can be operated from both sides to open the door in an emergency. 


SECTION 4 
ATTACHMENTS TO CHASSIS OR UNDERBODY 

4.1 CORNER STEADIES 
Check that attachments to chassis are secure. Ensure steadies work freely and satisfactorily. 
Lubricate screw to ensure correct operation. 

4.2 FOLDING/RETRACTABLE STEPS 
Check that step pivots are satisfactory and not worn. Check that, when closed, the retaining mechanism holds the step securely. If fitted, check warning device is working. 

4.3 UNDERFLOOR WATER TANK MOUNTINGS 
Check mounting frames are secure to body. Any fastenings that require releasing to remove the tank should be free of rust and operate freely. (Removal, flushing, cleaning and replacing of tanks will be carried out at the prior request of the customer or will be done subsequently with other work). 

4.4 SPARE WHEEL 
Remove spare wheel. Check for damage. Check tyre pressure. 
Check mounting frame for security to body and for secure retention of 
spare wheel. 

4.5 WHEELBOXES 
Check for damage, corrosion, water seepage, signs of tyre rubbing. 

SECTION 5 
ATTACHMENT TO BODY EXTERIOR 

5 1 ROOF LIGHTS 
Check security, general condition, and that sealing has not deteriorated. 

5.2 ROOF RACKS AND LADDERS 
Check security to body and general condition. 
Check roof for damage adjacent to rack. 

5.3 MOULDINGS, TRIMS 
Check security. Check sealing has not deteriorated (see section 6). 

5.4 FLUE TERMINALS, AIR VENTS 
Check security. Check sealing has not deteriorated. 
Check that these are not blocked. 

SECTION 6 
INTERNAL 

6.1 BODY SEEPAGE CHECK 
Examine for moisture/water staining of areas under windows, at side of roof and at corners which could indicate water seepage problems. 
A moisture meter should be used where appropriate. 

6.2 FURNITURE 
Check furniture is securely fixed. 
Check door hinges, catches and stays for satisfactory operation. 

6.3 DINETTE SEAT/BEDS 
Check seat bases for security of fixings and for damage. 
Make up beds according to manufacturer's instructions and check for 
rigidity and safety. 

6.4 UPPER BUNKS 
Check there is a secure means of access to upper bunks and that, where applicable, protection against falling out and entrapment is provided. 

6.5 CURTAINS/BLINDS/NETS 
Check track is secure and curtains draw freely without snagging. 
Check blinds and/or nets for correct operation. 
Check flyscreens in roof lights and air vents. 

6.6 CAB SEATS 
Where cab seats form part of the living area and/or bed layout they should be checked for security of attachment, smooth and easy operation of seat slides, swivels and seat back operation. 

6.7 FIRE EXTINGUISHERS 
Check condition and expiry date. If an extinguisher is not fitted, inform the customer of the advisability of such equipment. 

6.8 FIRE BLANKET 
Check position (should be near cooker). 
If one is not present, inform the customer of the advisability of such equipment. 

6.9 ADVICE TO OCCUPIERS WARNING NOTICE 
Check presence and condition and advise accordingly 
The wording and the layout of the notice should be set out as follows: 

ADVICE TO USERS 

VENTILATION 
NO NOT OBSTRUCT THE VENTILATORS WHICH ARE FITTED; YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON THEM 

IN CASE OF FIRE 
1. GET EVERYONE OUT 
2. TURN OFF OUTSIDE GAS VALVE OR OIL VALVE (IF FITTED) 
3. DISCONNECT THE MAINS ELECTRICITY SUPPLY 
4. RAISE THE ALARM AND CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE 
5. TACKLE THE FIRE IF SAFE TO DO SO 

FIRE PRECAUTIONS 

CHILDREN: DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE 

MEANS OF ESCAPE: MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE LOCATION AND OPERATION OF THE EMERGENCY EXITS, KEEP ALL ESCAPE ROUTES CLEAR 

COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS: KEEP THEM CLEAR OF ALL HEATING AND COOKING APPLIANCES 

FIRE FIGHTING: PROVIDE, AT LEAST, A 1 KG POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHER, THAT COMPLIES WITH BS 5423 BY THE MAIN EXIT DOOR, AND A FIRE BLANKET NEXT TO THE COOKER. MAKE YOURSELF FAMILIAR WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS ON YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND THE FIRE PRECAUTION ARRANGEMENTS ON THE CARAVAN PARK. 


6.10 PORTABLE OR OPEN FLAME HEATING EQUIPMENT 
Check for its presence. The customer must be advised against its use. 

SECTION 7 

ELEVATING ROOFS 

7.1 LIFTING MECHANISM 
Gas struts or spring struts should be checked for corrosion (particularly on the piston rods of gas struts), smooth operation when operating roof up and down and to ensure that they support the roof when fully up. Check attachment points of struts to body and roof. 

7.2 CANVAS SIDE WALLS 
Check for satisfactory attachment to body and roof. 
Check for splits or holes, particularly at fold lines. 
Check that the canvas stows satisfactorily when roof is lowered. 
(A waterproofing check will be done at the prior request of the 
customer). 

7.3 SOLID SIDE WALL 
Check sides and end panels fold up and down correctly, that they seal against each other where appropriate and that retaining mechanisms are satisfactory. 
Check all hinges for security and freedom from strain. 

7.4 LOCKING OF ROOF 
It is important to ensure that when the roof is in the travelling position, it is safely and positively locked down. Any locking retaining mechanism should be carefully examined. 

SECTION 8 
GAS SYSTEMS 

8.1 CYLINDERS AND REGULATORS 
Establish that the cylinders and regulators are compatible. Butane (blue) cylinders should have a regulator stamped with the pressure 11" WG (28 m bar) and propane (red) cylinders should be stamped 14" WG (37 m bar). Check that the regulator is controlling the gas to the correct pressure for the type of cylinder fitted. 
Check cylinder compartment vents and gas drop hole in the floor are free from obstruction. 
Check seals on internal doors. 

8.2 HOSE AND PIPING 
Check any flexible hose is of an approved type. Check its condition and for any evidence of cracking. 
Check piping for condition, damage and correct support. 
Carry out an overall leak test. 

8.3 APPLIANCES 
In general, the checking of gas appliances can be divided into the following: 

1. Cleaning
2. Operation of controls
3. Correct flame structure
4. Flues
5. Flame failure device 
6. Security 

8.3.1 CLEANING 
Where appropriate, remove cover(s) to gain access to heat exchanger. 
Clean away any fluff or foreign matter. Reassemble and test. 
Clean flame viewing window. 

8.3.2 CONTROLS 
Check that all knobs etc. work smoothly and are secure on their spindles. 
If gas taps require greasing to ease stiffness, use only approved LPG grease. 
Check that appliances can be brought into service using the normal controls. 

8.3.3 CORRECT FLAME STRUCTURE 
Check that all pilot flames burn quietly and clearly. 

Refrigerator: With the refrigerator gas control turned to maximum, the colour of the flame should be predominantly blue. 
Instantaneous Water Heating: The main burner flame should be of even height and blue in colour. A flame burning yellow will allow sooting to occur. 

Ovens: The oven flame should burn quietly and be of even height, mainly blue/green in colour. If the gas is propane, the flame will normally develop yellow tips as the burner heats up. If the gas is butane, a small amount of yellow tipping will be seen immediately after lighting, increasing as the burner heats up. 

Grill Burners: It is normal for the flames on this type of burner to develop yellow tips as it heats up, particularly on butane. 

General: A flame lifting away from the burners is an indication of too high a pressure, although it may happen with grill burners whilst the frets are heating up. 
A yellow flame will cause sooting and is an indication of too low a pressure. 
Providing the regulator and piping have been checked and found satisfactory the above faults should not appear. 

8.3.4 FLUES 
Flues should be examined for security of fixing and for correct attachment to appliances and flue terminals. They should be free from damage and corrosion. 
Check for leakage of flue gases into the vehicle. 

8.3.5 FLAME FAILURE DEVICE (FFD) 
Where fitted, the FFD should be checked to ensure satisfactory operation. After the appliance has been successfully checked, allow time for the thermocouple to cool. 
Attempt to relight the appliance by turning it on without pushing in the gas control knob. (Do not override the FFD). If appliance does not light, FFD is satisfactory. 

8.3.6 SECURITY 
Check appliance is securely fixed to the vehicle/furniture and will be free from rattles. Where applicable, check that water pipes are satisfactorily attached with no sign of leakage 

8.3.7 PROTECTION OF ADJACENT SURFACES 
Check that surfaces adjacent to open flame cooking appliances have adequate protection. 

8.3.8 INSPECTIONS 
It is recommended that inspections are carried out by a qualified fitter 
trained to, for example, CORGI (Confederation of Registered Gas Installers) or Calor standards. 

SECTION 9 
WATER SYSTEM 
Before operating the water system, a visual check of the following items may show up an obvious leak source. 

9.1 FRESH WATER TANK CONTAINER 
Check condition, fill tank and check for leaks. 
Check the external filter and filter pipe to tank. 
Check for satisfactory venting. 
Check condition and presence of filter cap. 

9.2 WASTE WATER TANK 
Check drain tap is clear and working. 
Check condition and presence of drain hose. (The water tank will be drained, flushed, cleaned and charged with a measure of toilet fluid/disinfectant at the prior request of the customer. 

9.3 FILTER PUMP 
When applicable, remove filter and replace. 
Check the in-line pump for security and condition. Remove the 
submersible pump from tank, check condition. 
Check pump inlet and outlet are clear and not obstructed. 
Check delivery hose and electric cable are secure and satisfactory 

Operate pump. Check all piping for leaks. 
Operate taps and shower. If a hot water system is fitted, it can be checked for leaks etc. using cold water. 
(Note - Aerated water from tap could be due to a leak on the suction side of the pump). 

With water running through the drain pipes, check for leaks and satisfactory draining of water from sinks etc. 

9.6 COUPLINGS AND FLUIDS. 
Check that the appropriate markings are used - blue for fresh water, grey for waste water. Ensure a sealing off cover is supplied for each coupling. Check that filler positions are designated "petrol", "diesel", or "water" as appropriate. 

9.7 TOILET WASTE TANK 
Check that any fixed tank intended to receive discharge from a toilet is fitted with either a level or full indicator. 

SECTION 10 
ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS 

10.1 EXTRA LOW VOLTAGE 12 VOLTS (excluding vehicle) 

10.1.1 BATTERY/IES 
Check battery/ies for condition. 
Check connections, wires, fuses and relays appertaining to the habitation electrics. 

10.1.2 WIRING 
Examine all visible wiring. 
Check all connections and joints are sound and satisfactory 

10.1.3 FUSES/FUSE HOLDERS 
Ensure that fuses and fuse holders used to protect the habitation electrics are satisfactory and that fuse ratings are compatible with the circuit appliances being protected. 

10.1.4 APPLIANCES 
Inspect all appliances for damage, signs of overheating and secure fixing 
Function test all appliances. 

10.2 MAINS 230 VOLT SYSTEM 
It is recommended that the inspection and certification of the 230 volt system be carried out by a qualified electrician who is an approved contractor of the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or in membership of the Electrical Contractors Association. 


SECTION 11 
VENTILATION 

11.1 HIGH LEVEL 
Check all high level ventilators, including roof lights, are free from obstruction and allow a free flow of air. 

11.2 LOW LEVEL 
Check all low level ventilators are free from obstruction and allow a free flow of air. 
If the ventilator is manually adjustable then ensure mechanism is free and operating correctly 
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Re: habitation service

Post by Jaytee on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:17 am

As Bikerlaw and Peter #1 now mine is out of warranty I won't waste £150 odd having someone half heartedly checking what I check every time I use the van. I think Peters idea of a Willersey damp check every few years is worthwhile.
That is some list Quilter and certainly not achievable in the hour and a half my last hab check took tap_fingers and of course not forgetting they don't actually 'service' anything it's just a check. I have had to lubricate the steadies etc etc myself every time.
Gas wise yes a professional check is worth doing (I get it signed off every couple of years) but what I do on a regular basis is to switch the gas off at the regulator and leave for a couple of days, then check there is still residual gas pressure at the hob. If there isn't then there is a leak.

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Re: habitation service

Post by Quilter on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:21 am

I think the Council reckon it needs 3 hours to do this check...

If you go to the website of many dealers and MH servicers they publish the tick box check list that you should be given after a hab service That' s a good deal shorter but only gives you a reminder rather than details.
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Re: habitation service

Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:46 pm

I think the majority of van owners who have chosen to do their own checks are competent to fulfil the task .
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Re: habitation service

Post by Quilter on Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:03 pm

burlingtonboaby wrote:I think the majority of van owners who have chosen to do their own checks are competent to fulfil the task .
Boaby


I wish I could be as confident as you on this ! 

Looking at the appalling misapprehensions shown by some owners on various forums I fear for the safety both of the owner and of those parked near him or driving along the same road.

What concerns me more is those people who do not check themselves or take their van in for a check.  I well remember our second van where, after a year, the hab check found that the cab and body were slowly parting company. All we'd noticed was a draft behind the passenger seat.
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