Temperatures are rising, and with that, your home energy costs might be going up, as well. But there are ways to cut costs and keep your home comfortable for the summer! According to the Department of Energy, window awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65 percent on south-facing windows and 77 percent on west-facing windows. Read on to see how installing awnings on your home can help you beat the heat this summer.
Awnings Reduce Energy Costs
The sun’s rays through glass are responsible for almost 20 percent of the load on your home’s air conditioner. But awnings can reduce direct solar gain through windows. This simple addition can reduce air conditioning costs and beautify your home’s exterior.
Fixed or retractable awnings can significantly reduce a home’s air conditioning usage in the summer, saving an estimated $200 or more annually, according to a recent study from the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA). The study found that awnings can save money for homeowners and also reduce energy demand, making them an environmentally responsible choice.
The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends that homeowners use “optimized and/or moveable external shading devices, such as overhangs, awnings, and side fins” to minimize heat load. A fabric awning can reduce heat gain by 55 to 65 percent during the hours when the sun shines directly on southern-facing windows or glass doors. That figure jumps to between 72 and 77 percent for western exposures. For best results, homeowners should choose awnings in light colors that reflect more sunlight.
When you consider adding awnings to your home, you may not realize how many options there are! You can choose from fixed, retractable, or portable awnings to add to your windows.
One important benefit of retractable awnings is that they can fold up in winter, allowing the sun’s rays to shine through windows and glass doors, reducing energy usage by contributing to the temperature indoors.
Some retractable awnings are motorized and can be retracted or extended easily with the push of a button. Manual styles use a simple pulley-and-cord system. Most awnings have variable settings, so they can be opened partially, fully, or halfway.
While they are incredibly practical, awnings can also be aesthetically pleasing. Homeowners can choose from an array of fashionable fabrics including woven, coated, laminated, and mesh fabrics.
Most awning fabrics are treated with water-repellent, plus soil- and stain-resistant finishes. Some are also treated with a flame retardant for added safety. Awning frames are typically constructed of either galvanized steel or aluminum to reduce corrosion.
Nowadays there are plenty of options to add shade to your outdoor area. Awnings will shade your backyard and also serve as a stylish feature in the landscape of your property. An awning that is sewn, rather than glued, tends to last longer. Although glues used today on awnings are much better than in the past, one that is sewn is going to be more reliable. Additionally, you’ll want to work with a trusted professional to learn exactly how and where they will be installing the awning components.
Thanks to the sunny weather in the southeast, spring and summer are great seasons for outdoor events with friends. However, these gatherings often require sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and fans to enjoy the outdoors and keep you and your guests comfortable. Luckily, adding awnings to your home has a multitude of benefits.
Awnings provide protection for your skin. Most dermatologists recommend you minimize your time in the sun. But if you’re going to be outside, they advise staying in the shade when the sun is strongest during midday.
Awning shade also protects your eyes. The most essential function of awnings is to keep the heat off you. But shading your eyes from the bright sunlight is a safety and comfort measure you may not have even considered.
Aside from the obvious health and safety benefits, plus energy costs and eco-friendliness, awnings also decorate your outdoor space to give it a more attractive look. Adding awnings can help you designate areas for eating or entertainment, and add a design flair to your yard. Yet another benefit of awnings is that they can help maintain your food and drink temperatures when you’re spending time outdoors. Stashing your food and drinks in the shade will help keep them cool and easier to enjoy.
Increased Property Value
While we have already covered many of the benefits of adding awnings to your property, there is yet another benefit that encompasses all of those. You see, awnings are beautiful, reduce home energy costs, increase health and safety, and make outdoor entertaining that much better. And other people will recognize those benefits! That is why awnings add value to any real estate property. Moreover, if you are planning to sell your house or redecorate, awnings are a great way to show you care about the value of your home.
Once you have committed to installing awnings on your property, you will also want to do the work to keep them in great condition. Following regular maintenance guidelines will ensure the durability of your awnings for many years to come.
Always retract your awnings if you plan on being away from home for a long period. You should also retract your awnings if there’s a chance of severe winds of about 20 mph or stronger. Strong winds can lift your awnings and damage them, which is why you want yours to be safely stored away in case of such weather events.
To keep your awnings operating at their best, cover metallic moving parts with a lubricant such as a dry silicone spray once a year.
Your awning will look its best and last longest if you keep it clean. Don’t let dirt collect on the fabric, as this can cause damage and early aging. Although most awning fabrics are very resistant to moisture and dirt, if they are constantly dirty they are at higher risk of mildew damage.
To keep your awnings clean, follow these simple steps:
- Rinse your awnings with a garden hose once a month.
- Clean the underside of your awning by brushing it with a simple household broom or hand broom.
- When cleaning your awnings, simplicity is best. Don’t go overboard with cleaning products and never use chemical spot removers as they can bleach or tarnish the fabric. Although you may choose to leave your awning open during summer rains so you can enjoy your patio, don’t allow stagnant water to collect on the awning. If water starts to pool, bring the awning in. Letting water collect on the fabric can cause discoloration, mildew, and other issues.
- Don’t use excessive force to extend or retract a crank-operated awning. If you have lubricated the gears properly but they are still feeling stiff, you may want to check with your installer to ensure everything is in working order. Forcing the crank can lead to breaks and more expensive repairs.
Awnings with proper care and maintenance can last 15 to 20 years. You may opt to update your fabric during that time either to refresh the design or if you are seeing some signs of aging. However, the base of the awning should last if maintained. Be sure to regularly inspect any metal parts for rust and corrosion so you can address the issue before it becomes a big problem.
Beat the Heat
If you are ready to cut down on air conditioning costs and beautify your home’s exterior, add an awning and beat the heat! And when you use a
, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee.