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Keep Your Cool with Retractable Shades
The sun comes and it goes as it pleases, makes you hot, and it often
puts a strain on your eyes–and you can do absolutely nothing about it.
Or can’t you? Yes, you can; at least as far as your home is concerned.
Retractable shades can put the sun in its place, so to speak. To be
sure, they can keep you and your home cooler by providing cover from
the sun, that great ball of fire in the sky.
From porches and patios, to pergolas and verandahs, retractable shades and awnings can be a huge convenience because on the one hand, they keep you cool in the summer (or winter depending on which hemisphere you live in :D) by providing a kind of a solar eclipse to shield you from the heat. And on the other hand, retractable shades can allow the sun to warm you up when they are retracted in the cooler months. Retractable shades, like all shades, can protect you from the wind and rain throughout the year as you use your outdoor living space. You can purchase the motorized or manual types, but for large, tall and overhead areas, the motorized retractable awning is the easiest way to provide shade.
As the name implies, the shades roll back onto a roll, as in the
case of a simple drop shade that may have a pull rope; they may fold
in, as in the case of door and window awnings that employ a brace; or
they may retract back into a housing where they are stored until you
need them again. This housing should not distract from the beauty of
your home or the shade. The best scenario would be that the retractable
shade housing goes unnoticed if you are not intentionally looking for it
As stated, the housing on a quality system is hardly noticeable, and
better yet, retractable awnings and shades can make a home more
beautiful and add to the outdoor living space. When you design an
exterior area of the home for enjoying friends, family and the
outdoors, a quality retractable shade or awning adds value to a
house–and for more than one reason.
A retractable shade on the side of a house that need protection from the sun can keep the home cooler, thus reducing utility costs. Retracting the awning can keep that side of the home warmer in the winter. Therefore, you not only save money, but you are also helping the environment by conserving energy–especially during those seasons when energy consumption is often pushed to the maximum by consumers.
Unlike a regular screen that does not always provide privacy, retractable shades can because you cannot see through them, they are opaque to people looking in. So, if you want to avoid overly curious neighbors, these shades can help. Likewise, they can help you by obscuring you view of other people, as well as unsightly things on their property and anything else in your vicinity you choose not to see, such as a dumpster, a rickety old building or a rickety old neighbor.
Of course, this kind of protection is not limited to your house. You may like to enjoy your gazebo at certain times of the day when the sun is just in the right place to blind you or make you too hot. That is the perfect situation for a retractable shade. The same is true for a pergola. Anywhere that you need shade and have a way to install one, these will do the job for you. You could even make a new carport by having a retractable awning on the side of your house.
You can find these shades in most any color you can imagine, and if you don't, you could certainly special order them. The better materials are sturdy enough to last many years free of tears while still protecting from the sun's solar heat and other elements. Fabrics that are frequently used include acrylic, laminates and polyester, but there are many more.
The fabric should be waterproof, and it should block out almost all harmful UVA and UVB rays. It is also good if it is fire retardant. (Warning: chemicals used to make fabric fire retardant can be toxic.) A unit from a good company should have at least a 10-15 year warranty. Popular companies include AWNTECH, DropShade, Eclipse Shading Systems (makers of E-Zip cassette box), Sunset and Sunsetter.
Most companies will do the installation for you, but if you are good at home improvement, you may decide to do it yourself. When you buy retractable shades for your home, check with your utility company because many of them offer rebates on the shades. That tells you how effective they are at reducing your energy consumption.