As of July 2020, 42% of the US workforce has been working full time from home. However, even before that, remote work and work from home gigs have already been on the rise.
Either way, now that you spend more time at home, you’ve likely thought of expanding your space. In this case, you should consider getting a retractable awning for your outdoor space. A patio awning, for instance, can give you a sheltered area while connecting you to the outdoors.
What’s more, awnings can help you cut solar heat gains by more than 65% to 77%.
To make the most out of your awnings, though, you may want to invest in awning motors and electronics. They deliver more than just comfort and convenience. They can also help make your home even more energy-efficient.
To that end, we came up with this guide to help you better understand awning motors and electronics. Read on to learn how they work and the many benefits they bring.
Retractable Awning Motors Allow for No-Fuss Shading
True, traditional stationary awnings also do provide instant shading. However, they’re also a fixed type of outdoor covering. This means that you can’t adjust them, nor can you “close” them up when the winds are super strong.
Traditional retractable awnings, by contrast, require you to literally crank out the fabric. That means expending quite a lot of effort, which can make them a pain to use. The thought alone of always having to crank the awning can put a damper on your wanting to spend time outdoors.
As a result, you may not be able to fully utilize your patio or outdoor covering investment. That’s a shame, considering how spending time outdoors has various health benefits. Scientists say that being outdoors can lower stress levels and risks of illnesses.
The great news is that retractable awning motors allow for a higher level of convenience. With motorized awnings, you only have to press a button to extend or retract the awning fabric. Awning motors also ensure that you don’t have to keep relying on a crank.
Therefore, motorized retractable awnings provide the most convenient shading solution.
Easy Switch Control With Wired Motorized Retractable Awnings
Here at Accent Awning, we only use awning motors manufactured by Somfy. Somfy is the industry leader when it comes to top-notch quality motorized awnings. It has been engineering awning motors for over three decades now.
With that said, one of the most popular Somfy motors is the wired LT Motor Model. It has a low-voltage requirement of 120 V AC, so no need to worry about high energy consumption. However, it’s powerful enough to operate lateral awning arms.
With an LT Motor-equipped awning, you only need to toggle a wall switch to operate your patio covering. You can also get this motor for retractable window awnings as well as drop shade systems.
Wireless Motorized Retractable Awnings for Remote Control Operation
If you go with a wireless motorized retractable awning, all you need is a remote control to operate it. With this, you simply press a button to extend the awning fabric. You can then adjust how far the covering extends based on your needs.
Best of all, high-quality awning remote controls are weather-resistant and shockproof. These features make them excellent for outdoor use. You can bring your remote control outside and use it to adjust your awning as you see fit.
Suppose that you want to work outside, on your patio, all day. However, you have a south-facing patio, which means that you’ll get a lot of sunlight during the early part of the day.
In this case, you can fully extend the awning in the morning. You can then adjust it with the remote control based on the movement of the sun. If it starts raining, you only need to press a button on the remote to completely extend the fabric once again.
You can do all these while you’re outside, thanks to your remote control. It’ll be the one to communicate with the awning motor so that all you need to do is to press a button. No more running inside in case it starts pouring.
Easy Programmability With Motorized Awning Timers
Motorized retractable awnings are automatable with the use of programmable timers. These are devices that act much like programmable thermostats. The difference is that you use them to automate the extension and retraction of your awnings.
With timers, you can make the most out of your awnings’ ability to keep your home cool. They work hand in hand with your other energy-saving practices at home.
Let’s say that you follow the Santa Ana Government’s tip to lower your thermostat by three to five degrees. This alone can cut your heating/cooling cost by 10% to 20%.
However, you can save even more if you make sure that your awnings get to work as soon as the sun is up. During summer, this can be as early as around 5:30, and around 6:30 during fall or winter.
If you don’t usually get up that early, you can depend on a programmable awning timer. It’s easy to pre-set your awnings with scheduled times to extend (and retract). Once set, your awnings will open or close automatically based on your settings.
So, even if you wake up late, you can wake up to a cooler, more comfortable home.
Preventing Santa Ana Wind Damage With Wind Sensors
Did you know that Santa Ana winds can stir up gusts that have a force similar to a hurricane? That’s about 74 mph or even greater! What’s more, these can occur from early to late spring, although they usually peak in October.
In addition, the worst Santa Ana winds also cause record-breaking increases in temperatures. They can make temps surge upwards of 90 and even over 100 degrees.
Such winds in SoCal can be so harsh and strong that they can break tree limbs. So, you can just imagine what they can do to fluttering patio awning fabrics.
Granted, high-quality awning fabrics, such as those made by Sunbrella, are very durable. However, strong Santa Ana winds can still damage them if they remain extended. This can happen if you left them up and open, and no one is at home to retract the awning.
In such cases, wind sensors can keep your awnings safe and intact from such phenomena. These awning electronics automatically detect dangerous wind speeds. If they sense such, they will retract the awning before the winds hit and wreak havoc to the awning fabric and arm.
Sun and Wind Sensors for an Even Greater Level of Comfort and Convenience
You can also equip retractable motorized awnings with sun and wind sensors. These detect not only spikes in wind speeds but also increases in sun intensity levels. The sun sensors trigger the awning motor to extend or retract based on the sun’s activity.
These sensors pretty much eliminate the need to “guesstimate” if it’s too windy or sunny. If you use your shaded outdoor space as an office, then you can just concentrate on working. Your awning will extend or retract behind the scenes, protecting you from harmful UV rays.
Protection from UV rays is especially important, seeing as 80% of it can sneak through clouds. You may not feel as much heat, but the radiation can still damage your sensitive skin. Plus, the shade that awnings provide can also help reduce screen glare while you work.
Extra Protection With a Manual Override Awning Motor
Power outages in California have shown to affect at least 2 million of the state’s residents. Such blackouts are no longer limited to rural areas either. They also hit larger areas, from San Jose all the way to the Bay area.
Many power outages in the Golden State occur due to weather-related events. Aside from extreme heat waves, strong winds (like the Santa Ana winds) can also give rise to blackouts.
In such situations, a crank manual override motor for your awning can be your saving grace. With this, you can still operate your awning motor even when the power is out. You can crank the retractable awning in and out as needed.
In the case of a heat wave-related power outage, you can extend your awning, so you don’t have to stay cooped up indoors. This way, you can get direct access to any breeze to help you keep cool. Since you have your awning stretched out, you don’t have to worry about too much heat exposure.
In the case of a wind-related blackout, you can use the override feature to retract your awning. This, in turn, lets you prevent wind damage on your awning fabric and arms.
Extend Your Space and Boost Home Energy Efficiency With Retractable Motorized Awnings
There you have it, the most crucial facts you need to know about retractable awning motors and add-ons. As you can see, these motors and electronics can make your home a lot comfier and energy-efficient. Plus, they make for excellent ways to extend your living space to include the outdoors.
Interested in learning more about retractable motorized awnings? If so, then please know that our team of experts here at Accent Awning is more than happy to help! Feel free to ask us anything about these innovative shading solutions.