You’ve already had the foresight and good sense to install retractable awnings for your windows, door, or deck, and you are reaping the benefits! Your summer energy bills were more reasonable, and you were able to enjoy more time outdoors, even when the sun was blazing. You will get more years out of your retractable awning installation if you perform some simple maintenance during the off-season months.
What Happens with Your Retractable Awning in the Off Season?
There are many metal awning styles and types of awnings for your home, and they serve different purposes. Most types of retractable awnings are primarily intended to provide shade from the sun and are not designed to face the harsher elements of the colder season. They are not designed to completely protect from rain, wind, or snow, and consistent exposure to these conditions may actually do some damage to your retractable awning.
- Winds Above 18mph. At that speed, it is not so much the downward force as the as the upward force that could cause damage to the awning – to the fabric or retractable arms.
- Pooling From Precipitation. Water pooling on the awning – especially from heavy, prolonged, or freezing rain – could irreparably stretch and damage the fabric of the awning, and the extra weight could cause the metal arms or bars to bend or break.
- Retracting Wet Awning. Especially if the fabric has frozen and then thawed, retracting a wet awning could result in mildew or damage to the motor.
In general, the greater the mounting angle to the front of the awning, the more resistant to wind and water damage, as the precipitation is more likely to slide off.
What You Can Do to Better Maintain Your Retractable Awning
Your retractable awning was designed to be durable, and with proper care, could easily last a lifetime. Here are some simple steps to boost the longevity of your retractable awning.
- Retract When Not In Use. This is especially important if you plan to be away for some time, or the rainier, windier weather is on its way. If water as accumulated on the awning, push a brush up against the underside to knock the water off.
- Keep the Awning Clean. Most fabric for retractable awnings is mildew resistant, but that doesn’t mean mildew could never form on the awning. Mildew can still form if you let dirt or other materials accumulate. Take a garden hose to the top of the fabric once a month, and wait for it to dry completely before retracting. Brush debris and dirt off the underside of the fabric.
- Keep the Awning Clear of Shrubbery. This also applies to vines or other plants, which may secrete substances that will damage the fabric.
- Check for Rust. While unlikely, you want to make sure there is no rust on the metal parts of the awning, which will not only weaken the frame but could discolor the fabric as well.
- Avoid Using Force to Retract or Extend a Crank-Operated Awning. For example, if your awning has frozen, trying to force it to retract will likely cause damage. Let it thaw first, or if it’s really stuck, call in a professional to look at it.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals. Pesticides and solvents can damage the fabric of the retractable awning.
Take Advantage of Weathercraft Awning Expertise
Weathercraft has over 40 years of industry know-how, not only in the installation or repair of an awning but also in its maintenance. As a trusted NJ awning installation company, we’re happy to provide you with guidance on maintaining your retractable awning at the time of installation or later in its lifetime–we’re just a phone call away!
Contact us or call 201-992-6967 to learn more about awning care and maintenance. We look forward to helping keep your home look great!