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RV awnings are your friends when the sun is shinning and you want to relax outside of the RV. It can be your place to meet and enjoy the campground with your neighbor Rvers.
It creates that extra area for you and makes it great camping in campground. In this article, lets see RV awning maintenance tips and best practices to use them.
The awning even though are such an important part of your RV system are neglected a lot. People wouldn’t take care of them like they would of their RV interior.
Awning need good regular care and you can get them damaged by neglecting. Especially when the wind is high it will take a minutes time to get it ripped off.
It definitely needs your attention and simple maintenance. There are few basic thing that will keep the RV awning in great shape. Here are 11 tips that you need to follow to keep the RV awning in proper shape.
1. Be gentle when washing the RV awning
You need to wash your awning may it be acrylic or vinyl. Idea is to clean it thoroughly but you should be gentle as otherwise it may damage the awning. Instead of cleaning hard just hose it off with light spray of water.
By doing this, most of the dirt should go away unless its really tough dirt spots. Even if its very dirty make sure you spray water and then tackle each dirt spots individually.
For cleaning, make sure you use soft brush and a soap that’s specially made for awning cleaning.
The reason why you shouldn’t be washing it in hard manner is because the waterproof coating may get wear down. Hence, be careful. Acrylic awning can be cleaned using a little stiff brush but for vinyl make sure the brush is soft.
You will need a brush with sufficient long handle as the cleaning wouldn’t be done by removing the awning. Once you are done cleaning make sure it remains opened for some time so that it dries completely.
Awning Cleaner : Cleaning solutions specifically for awning aren’t that costly but if you are not able to find one then you can make it at home as well. Mix soap in a warm water, keep soap and water content as much as needed to make it bubbly and not too thin.
Using bleach : You can also make use of bleach if the awning has been very dirty and you think there is mildew or mold growing on it. Do not use bleach every time and everywhere, if you see the mold or mildew is strong then go for it.
- Once the awning is dry you can also treat it with a RV awning protectant.
- Wash awning at least twice per year.
2. Use an awning lock to keep it secured while traveling
There are more awnings getting ripped off during travel due to high winds on highways then anything else. Forgetting or neglecting to roll and protectively secure the awning can result in getting damaged due to high winds.
Secure them properly : The stow awning need to be locked so that it does not rewind itself while you are traveling at high speeds. Its a small thing to do but many people either neglect secure or secure their awning using ordinary mechanism that wouldn’t handle the winds.
You can buy such locks online for your Rv at very less cost. Such locks can be really handy for latching and unlatching the awning. Make use of such clamps to prevent the unfurling of awning and you don’t have to worry while moving.
3. Get a RV awning stabilizer kit
Getting such a kit can be really helpful when the wind is high. This keeps the awning stable and you don’t have to worry much. This can be really a great investment if you boondock or are in regions where wind is high.
Helpful in sandy soil : There are lot of companies including camco that manufacture such kits and you can get them at less than $15. It helps in securing the awning specially when the soil is sandy. When camping at beach you can make use of this kit’s tension units that keep the awning tight and still.
4. Keep the wet awning opened, don’t roll it up
An awning fabric made up of vinyl or acrylic may get mold and mildew if it remains moist or wet when packed.
Rolling the awning when its still holding water can be very bad for your awning. If you have cleaned it with splashes of water then make sure to keep it opened for at-least some time till it completely dries out.
If you have been camping while it rained and the awning were left opened then again make sure you have dried it completely. The best thing would be to roll it off immediately if it start raining.
With rainy environment and humidity at higher level getting it dried on its own can be difficult. That’s why never ever allow it to get too wet in rain.
On a side note, a screen room in addition to an awning can give you privacy and enhance the whole RVing experience. Check out this screen room by carefree on amazon. It fits most awning brands.
5. Make use of awning cleaning products
Washing the RV awning regularly is key to keep it in good shape. Mold and mildew does not take long to start growing. And this can happen if you ignore and do not take care of the awning. As per this carefree awning maintenance guide, Vinyl coated polyester fabrics are mildew resistant.
While regular washing can be done using water splashes and regular soap, once in a while you should do it using proper product. There are lots of special cleaners that come for cleaning awning, making use of such cleaners can help a lot.
Mostly the normal soap and detergent should be good to clean dirt but at times tough dirt needs good special product to clean it properly. And hence once in while do get that camco or thetford awning cleaner and get it cleaned thoroughly. I have found that among all the best rv awning cleaners, Camco Pro-Strength Awning Cleaner is really good.
But, as said in earlier point do not over clean the awning as it can damage the waterproofing on it.
6. Inspect awning fabric
Awning fabric made up of vinyl or acrylic can get mold even though it has been rolled off and stored. Thus when you get the awning for your next trip after a long gap make sure you inspect it before using. Mold starts creeping in fabric when the moisture remains in there and isn’t dried fully.
During winter due to high humidity and moisture the mildew may start growing. Thus, once you get the awning out for use check it for any such fungus or mold.
Cleaning it there and then should allow you to use the awning without any issue. Use a soft cloth to remove such stains and mold using a mild cleaner. If you are a proud owner of a Dometic awning then do check their own guide for cleaning the awning.
Depending on what type of fabric is used, most RV awnings can last between 5 to 10 years on average. Most manufacturers provide around 5 years of warranty.
7. Check awning parts and repair on time
Apart from awning fabric you also need to check and inspect other parts that support the power awning system. A fabric used in awning can be vinyl or acrylic, its important to know what fabric is used. While repairing make sure proper type of fabric is used to patch it up.
Lubrication : Check all hardware parts that need lubrication. Retractable awning lubrication should be one your awning maintenance hit-list. You can make use of silicone spray for lubricating them.
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But, make sure you are not lubricating it too much as it can attract dirt and dust. take care of all awning components and you will not have squeaky awning anymore. Awning sounds can become irritating when the wind is high. Most electric awning problems can be avoided by keeping the awning well maintained.
Inspect all components : The hardware used in the retractable awnings like brackets for supporting bottom load, screws for securing or mounting need to checked. Roller tubes, arm pivot need to be inspected. Make sure pivot points are properly lubricated as well.
Inspect pull strap, slide pins, rv awning motor if its electric awning. You yourself can replace most parts of the awning apart from few things like fabric and awning arms. Electric RV awning operation is simple enough and easy to maintain.
8. Position one side of the awning lower
When its raining and you are using the awning then make sure the awning is positioned properly. Keeping one side of the patio awning lower will help the water drain down easily else it may get accumulated there.
Water accumulation can lead to damage as well as the awning fabric will get wet leading to other issue like mod and mildews. By positioning the RV awning properly yo can keep the water out.
9. Never keep awning unattended
When you are not at the campground or at night make sure your RV’s power awning is rolled off and secured properly. You never know when the windy storm will hit and the awning will get damaged. Here are all the tips to protect a camper awning.
Properly secure it with lock just like how you would do during travel when you are not present at the RV. Remember preventing the damage of the awning is easy as compared to repairing it. High windy gusts can cause damage to your awning fabric.
10. Keep it safe from UV rays
UV rays can cause damage to your fabric and thus make sure you protect the awning from it. It may seem a difficult thing to do as you cant see UV rays. But, making sure the awning is not exposed to too much sun light should suffice .
Making sure the awning is rolled off when not in use during such sunlight will help a lot. UV rays will shorten the life of your awning by weakening it. You can also use awning covers made up of aluminum to protect it from UV rays when not in use. Here are some great ways to protect the rv from sun.
11. Make use of de-flapper clamps
When the wind is high the awning fabric can make noise due to flapping. To prevent such a noise you can use de-flapping clamps that you can buy online.
I recommend using Camco de-flapper clamps (Check on amazon). They work great and protect you RV awning from costly repairs and rips.
When you are camping around a high wind region, the wind not only can make the noise but can also damage the awning fabric. To prevent such wear and tear you can take help from such de-flapping clamps.
In conclusion :
Preventive maintenance will keep the awning in great shape and you wont have a broken one while at the camping site. Having an awning is definitely an add-on, it makes your RV space bigger.
Specially while boondocking it gives you that shade and an extra room to live and enjoy. It also protect the RV from sun and keep the inside temperature under control. We keep our RV awning in great shape and follow all the maintenance steps.