MAINTENANCE and CARE:
There is virtually no maintenance to these awnings if you don’t want there to be. SO, in other words, your awning frame and fabric will last longer if you do a little maintenance, but there is none that is actually required.
If you live near the ocean and experience a bit of “salt air”, then it would be a good idea to hose down the awning frame with fresh water once a month or so over the Spring, Summer, and Fall from beneath to get the salt out so it doesn’t get rooted into the moving parts to corrode as badly. This should be done on a calm day and be sure to allow it to dry.
If you are out under your awning and it starts to rain, you will need to roll it in unless it is barely a sprinkle – like a mist. Even still, it should be retracted as soon as possible because retractable awnings are designed for shade, not rain. The problem is the weight of the rainwater. Retractables are not designed to hold any extra weight when out, which is what any amount of accumulated rainwater would be. If you do have to pull it in due to rain – be sure to open it and let it dry completely as soon as you can- ideally by the next day. Remember that mildew grows on dirt, so that if you have any dirt on your awning and it stays wet while rolled up, you could run into a mildew problem down the road.
In general, though, retractables do not need to be cleaned. The best care is to use a long-handled nylon bristle brush to sweep away any dust, dirt, or leaves that should land on it. Hosing it down with fresh water usually does the trick. If you decide to use cleaners, use an only mild soap like Ivory Flakes or Dreft. If you use anything more toxic than those, then you run the risk of losing the ultraviolet resistance, mildew resistance, and water resistance that the fabric came with.
Atlantic Awning always recommends that retractable awnings not be left unattended. If a storm comes up or if the wind picks up, you should be there to roll your awning in. Most retractable awnings are not designed for heavy winds but can handle some movement. The usual rule of thumb is that if you can’t read a newspaper outside, you should roll your awning in. Many retractable owners have found that on a windy day if they still need some sun coverage, they can roll their awning in half-way or more and the awning will have that much more wind resistance.
We do sell one brand of retractable awnings that have engineered wind loads on them. If a retractable awning is going to be installed in a place that tends to have higher winds, like in a coastal location for example, then we usually recommend the retractable with the engineered wind loads on them. These tend to be a bit more costly, but you can get more use out of them in a windier location. Another way around it is to purchase a wind sensor along with your RTS motorized awning, and the wind sensor will pull the awning in automatically if it too windy no matter what location, no matter what brand of a retractable awning.
Common Sense is also a good indicator here. If you have your awning out and the wind is blowing it around in such a way that you feel like it’s too much for your awning – then assume it is too much and roll it in.
Retractable awnings remain were installed year-round. Be sure the fabric is dry and free of dust and dirt before rolling up for the last time of the season. Many people use their awnings for the winter sun too.
Many people remove their retractable awning valance for the winter. All you have to do is take the end cap off of the front bar usually with a screwdriver. Then you can loosen the set screws in the fabric locks that hold the valance in place on each end, and slide it on out. Put the end cap back on, and roll up the valance, put it in a bag, and you are done. The valance rolls up to be a fairly small package and can be stored inside away from the elements for the winter. The valance is always exposed, no matter what, and the harsh winter winds especially can really take a toll on a loose hanging valance. By taking it down every winter, it extends the life of the valance by at least two times.
BATTERIES – HELPFUL HINTS:
Many people call to say that their motorized retractable awnings are not working. The quick fix for this one is usually to change the battery in the remote. Nine times out of ten, that is the problem. You can call the office for any other troubleshooting if that doesn’t work.
Sometimes people that have wind sensors say that their awning is behaving erratically. For example, they put the awning out, there is no wind, and it all of a sudden, it pulls itself back in and this pattern repeats. This is, more than likely, a battery issue in the wind sensor. Change the battery in the wind sensor. This is how it works – when a wind sensor is installed, it is paired with the motor. As long as the two are paired, the motor will be searching for the wind sensor every so often to protect the awning. If the battery is dead in the wind sensor, or even if the wind sensor has been taken off and driven to another country, the motor will not be able to find it, and will automatically pull the awning in. It is kind of a fail-safe situation. If someone has a wind sensor that they no longer want or if the wind sensor needs to be replaced – it has to be unpaired from the motor in order for the motor to stop looking for it.
More information about Retractable Awnings