As winter sets in you’re probably busy making preparations for the cold weather ahead. You’ve put in your storm windows, cleaned your gutters and chimney, and you may have even taken the necessary steps to winterize your deck or patio, but there’s probably one important part of your home that you’ve missed. Have you winterized your retractable awning? Although Eclipse retractable awnings are designed to withstand a wide variety of weather including extreme winds, intense heat and rain, the freezing temperatures of winter and the ice it brings to some areas may be a bit too much for your awning to handle. That is if you want to keep it in pristine condition. To winterize your awning you have to inspect the solar shades for any damage that may have occurred during the year. It doesn’t matter what type of awning you have. It can be a manual or motorized retractable awning or patio and pergola solar shade structures; they must all be checked for damage. It can be as simple as a tiny tear or a small rip, which to be honest, is highly unlikely if you have an Eclipse retractable awning, but anything’s possible I guess. If you do discover that your awning is damaged you need to fix it right away. It’s very tempting to shrug it off and say that its no big deal. Then you’ll tell yourself that you’ll fix it when you take your awning out after winter, but it’s just not that easy. Tiny tears can morph into giant holes, especially if your awning isn’t cleaned and put away properly. Once any damage is repaired you must clean the awning well. Brush or sweep your awning to make sure that it’s free of leaves, dust, dirt and other debris then wipe it down. Don’t use harsh cleaners or anything abrasive to do this. A simple soft cloth and a bucket of soap and water will get the job done. Make sure that you dry the awning well.