With a retractable self supporting awning there are some general rules to stick to with daily usage.
DO read and act on the maintenance instructions provided with your new awning including keeping it as clean as possible
DO try to remove your valance of fitted during the worst winter months as it is constantly exposed to the elements
DO check how your awning cover rolls inwards as it should always retract over the Top of the roller and never reverse this direction (applies to manually operated awnings)
DO try to remember on a manual awning when fully extended to retract it a quarter of a turn on the winding handle to keep more tension on the fabric cover, this will also allow the arms to flex in the wind.
DO try to keep the cover fabric as clean as possible, especially from bird droppings. Although modern high quality materials are very treated and resistant to dirt and water the dirt itself can cause mould as a surface problem if left in the right conditions.
No special cleaning products are normally required just a light clean with gentle soapy water should usually do the trick and most dirt will fall off anyway when dry.
DON’T extend your awning past the arm locking point
DON’T hang any objects onto the awning arms or front profile
DON’T extend and use your awning in strong, wind conditions, snow or rain unless you have an awning specifically designed to do so and with sufficient pitch on the cover.
DON’t ever allow water to build up on the fabric cover as this will strain all components and damage the fabric and in the worst case may even pull the awning off the fixings
DON’T allow a wet awning cover to dry in the cassette, when the rain stops and it is safe to do so extend your awning and allow it to dry before closing up again.
DON’T light a barbecue under your awning.
Electric Awnings Specifically
DON’T overuse the electric motor with constant multiple operations, a built in thermal cut out will prevent over use and protect the motor if you do and once dolled down will continue to operate.
DON’T disconnect any sun, wind or rain sensor, your awning will retract automatically after one hour if the sensors are not working for any reason and you should not be able to extend it again as a precaution.
Many awnings are fitted purely for sun protection and the main concern with use should be to ensure the awning is not left out if the calm, sunny weather is likely to change and you are not around to deal with it. The wind sensors fitted to most electric awnings are great for protection against strong winds suddenly occurring but with a manual awning this is not possible of course and you should be responsible for the awning at all times, the bigger the awning the more responsibility!!
There are many retractable fabric roof systems now available where the wind speed use is far higher and rain is not an issue either and retractable roof systems even designed for use in snow so ensure you investigate all possibilities if you do think you may want a product capable of providing protection in more than just calm, sunny days.