Retractable awnings should always be closed when not in use and certainly if you are leaving your home. However if they are left out in a storm, there is always a solution if the awning is electrically operated…
For almost any electric operated awning we suggest a system to ensure the awning retract by itself if the wind speed gets too high. There are 2 ways of doing this; firstly by using a wind sensor which is very much like a generic weather sensor with a spinning windmill type system usually required to be wall mounted and sensing the speed of the wind in a traditional fashion by the speed at which the 4 little arms with cups at the end spin around. The only trouble with this system is that it senses wind speed wherever it is mounted but does not necessarily know that the awning is absolutely fine as the wind is completely sideways and not actually affecting the awning too much. A wind speed sensor can easily be mounted in the wrong place to detect wind speed but but not is that wind is upsetting the awning cover at all.
The second method is far better, the ‘Vibrabox’ as referred to by Markilux is a sensor that is fixed int the front section of the awning and it senses the motion of the awning cover. With three different settings of sensitivity this system will retract the awning once the front starts to move around too much.
This is a better system as lighter winds with buffeting effects can move an awning cover more than a stringer but stable, steady wind coming from only one direction consistently.
All self supporting awnings are sold with the understanding that common sense is used at all times, just like you would not leave your sunroof open on your car in a storm! The use of modern sensors does provide some comfort that your awning is safe when the weather suddenly turns and just like the wind sensor you can also get sensors for bringing the awning out in sunshine and closing it in rainfall too. A manual awning of course completely relies upon the user for its position in various weathers.
A vibrabox typically adds around £100 to any awning and is worth every penny we think.
Wind support can also provide better stability in higher winds by providing what is simply a pair of extendable steel poles with weights at the bottom, The top of the poles are designed to attach to the front bar of the awning and hold it steady more than if it is free floating.
Other options are available to provide the floor fixing rather than just weights but it all goes towards making your awning far more useable all year round, albeit still with the proviso of ‘sensible’ use when the weather turns nasty.