If you want to take really good care of your awnings, the main thing that you need to be aware of is the weather. Bad weather conditions can damage them, so here are some guidelines of how you can protect your awnings against the elements.
When it comes to awnings, the most befitting rule that is easy to remember and apply is: if you would be happy to sit outside, then it would be safe to wind-out your awning. However when the conditions are bad, you should wind your awning back in.
The most important condition to consider is gusting wind. This is because wind can accelerate really quickly and it is the snap-change that can damage the awning. The awning is designed to move up and down but you should look after its welfare. So basically the saying ‘better safe than sorry’ is very fitting in this situation.
If ground-lock support poles are provided with your awning, make sure that they are fitted at all times when it is out. These poles anchor the front rail securely, making the whole structure stronger. On the other hand, just because the poles are attached does not mean the awning can be left out in all weather conditions! Your awning still needs looking after and retracting back when the weather turns unpleasantly cold and wet.
Please remember that when retracting the awning, you should make sure that the support poles have been removed, especially if the awning is electrically operated. If the awning is operated with the support poles attached, this will put strain on the electric motor, causing damage and shortening its life.
When the cover is wet retract it when it has dried out. If this is not possible, let the cover back out when the conditions allow, so that the cover can dry naturally.
The awning is designed to be fully wound out although you can partially wind it out if preferred. However, if the weather conditions are poor, it would be better to not wind it out at all. It is designed to be rained on and the cover has been water and rot proofed, but it is not a snow canopy and thus it is very important that the snow does not lay on the cover, otherwise it will break it and put tremendous strain on the fittings and arms, making it dangerous.
Another way of taking care of your awning is to give it a good clean. If you wish to clean the cover, do not use soapy water on the acrylic materials (although you can on PVC material), as the soap itself could go mouldy and make the cover unsightly. Instead, brush the cover carefully and wash off any of the debris with clear clean water. The more regularly you clean the cover, the easier it will be to keep it clean. The majority of the hardware is powder-coated and is easily cleaned with a mild soapy solution.
Finally, if in doubt, don’t wind it out. Subjecting your awning to poor weather conditions will risk its durability. It is a sun-blind after all. Also take care when cleaning it to ensure that it lasts as long as it should.