Design a Dream Outdoor Entertaining Space

Many individuals prefer to spend their free time outside, relishing the fresh air and sunshine and evenings spent under the stars. But cracked patios and makeshift chairs and tables may not establish the desired ambiance. An outdoor entertaining area that offers the same amenities found inside a home can make outdoor retreats both comfortable and functional. Creative planning can help homeowners design dream areas perfect for hosting friends or family.
Design a Dream Outdoor Entertaining Space

Establish goals

As with any project, the first step when coordinating outdoor living areas is to determine what you hope to achieve with the space. Will it be a location for lounging? Will people be cooking meals outside? Is the pool the central focus of the yard? Answering these questions and more can help homeowners decide how to design their entertaining spaces. Remember, however, that goals may evolve as landscape designers and even architects make their own suggestions for the space or present limitations.

Evaluate the space

Look at the lot and decide what will go where, such as where to place the party space, where to create a quiet hideaway and where to locate a poolhouse or outdoor shower.

A large, flat yard can be divided into a series of patios that serve different purposes. Yards that are built on a hill or a slope can still be utilized with creative design elements, such as multi-tiered decking. By working with qualified designers, homeowners can bring their ideas to life.

Easy food and drink access

Traipsing in and out of the house for refreshments can become tiresome when entertaining outside. In such situations, people also can track dirt inside of the home or leave a trail of pool water in their wake. Outdoor kitchens allow easy access to food and drink that makes outdoor entertaining much easier. The experts at Angie’s List suggest outdoor kitchens be built close to the house to make it easier to run electricity and plumbing to the outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchens should include a sink, small refrigerator, built-in grill, and bar area.

Creature comforts

Homeowners should think about the things that make the inside of their homes so comfortable and then replicate that outside. Sofas and loveseats covered in fabric suited for outdoors and plenty of pillows can make for great lounging. Lighting that can be adjusted for day or night, or even to set the mood, is another consideration. Shade structures, like a trellis or retractable awning, will keep the area comfortable and can also define outdoor rooms and establish privacy.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows offers a wide selection of retractable awnings. We have you covered every step of the way. From selecting the perfect retractable awning for your outdoor living space project to professional installation of your new awning.

Fire it up

Many homeowners enjoy having fire elements in their yards. Lanterns and candles may create a romantic feel, but a fire pit or outdoor fireplace may help extend use of the outdoor entertaining area beyond summer.

Entertaining outdoors is made that much more enticing with a dream outdoor living space full of amenities.

If you’re considering a retractable awning to complete your next project, contact the experts at American Awnings & Replacement Windows today. Click here to get in touch or request a free quote!

5 Simple Ways to Go Green at Home and Save Money

Thinking green throughout the year can offer some significant benefits. Retractable awnings and replacement windows from American Awnings & Replacement Windows are just a few ways to help conserve energy in your home. Retractable Awnings help keep your home cooler in the warmer months by reducing the sun’s harsh glare, and as a result, lower your home’s cooling costs. Our Energy Star rated replacement windows can help lower heating and cooling costs as well.
5 Simple Ways to Go Green at Home and Save Money
Here are some more easy ways you can go green in your own home and lower your energy bills.

Invest in a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature in your house, saving you energy while you’re out for the day, away on vacation or sleeping.

Switch all of your lightbulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent light) or LED bulbs. They last longer and use up to 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, saving you money on your electric bills.

Insulate well. Use insulation with a high R-value, such as Roxul Comfortbatt, to top up insulation in your attic. Aim for an R-value of 50 or a depth of 16 inches. For whole home efficiency, ensure other areas of your home are well insulated, such as crawl spaces, basement headers, walls and ceilings. It will keep your house cool in the warm weather and take the stress off your air conditioning unit.

Stop air leaks around your home by sealing existing gaps and cracks. Use caulking or weather stripping around doors and windows. Installing a door sweep is also a good idea.

Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Only do laundry or run the dishwasher when you have full loads.

Remember that many little improvements can add up, providing valuable monthly savings for you, while protecting our environment for the future.

Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today to learn more about our many retractable awning and replacement window solutions, and start saving money on your home’s energy costs!

Considering an Energy Audit? Get Informed

Overconsumption of energy is a problem that plagues many homeowners. Wasting energy can hurt homeowners’ bottom lines and the planet. But many homeowners aren’t aware just how much energy their homes are consuming and even wasting. That’s why a home energy audit can be so important.
Considering an Energy Audit? Get Informed
A home energy audit or assessment investigates just how much energy a home consumes so homeowners can make their homes more energy efficient. Audits identify where energy is being wasted and can offer suggestions to fix the problem.

The U.S. Department of Energy advises that the average U.S. household consumes around 90 million btus in a year. Of the energy used in homes, nearly 50 percent goes to heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting account for the remaining consumption. Consumers can save between 5 and 30 percent on home energy bills by getting a home energy audit and making the adjustments advised by auditors.

There are two types of energy audits: professional and do-it-yourself. Professional auditors will go room-to-room to assess a home’s energy use. Typical testing includes thermographic scans and infrared cameras to determine air leakage and insulation; a blower door test, which depressurizes the home and simulates the effect of a 20 mph wind to find air leaks; and watt meter measurements to test energy usage by various devices throughout the house.

Before an auditor comes to the house, homeowners can make a list of any problems or concerns they want to discuss with the auditor. The auditor also may interview the homeowner to learn about how the home normally runs and can analyze energy bills to determine typical energy consumption. Windows, doors, HVAC systems, insulation, fireplaces, and lighting fixtures all may be assessed during a professional audit.

Even though a professional audit is usually the best way to determine where a home is losing energy, homeowners can conduct their own audits to detect and fix problems. Locating and sealing air leaks, addressing inadequate ventilation, checking that insulation levels and vapor barriers are at recommended levels, and inspecting HVAC systems should be part of any DIY audit. If a heating/cooling unit is more than 15 years old, the DOE suggests having it replaced with a newer, energy-efficient unit.

An energy audit can identify areas around a home where improvements can be made to reduce energy consumption and waste. Upgrading to new appliances, replacing light bulbs, sealing drafts, improving insulation, and addressing moisture and water leaks can be good for the environment and help homeowners save money.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows can help you conserve energy in a variety of ways. We offer many Energy Star qualified replacement window solutions, that over time, will pay for themselves in energy savings. We are also the best source for retractable awnings in Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Hagerstown, and surrounding areas. During the warmer months of the year, a retractable awning can help reduce the amount of sun entering your home, thus saving you money in cooling costs. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success

Before having your new awning installed, there are a few decisions you should make to prepare yourself. There are many benefits to adding a retractable awning to your home. This includes adding to the existing value of your home and creating an appealing and comfortable outdoor environment your family and friends can enjoy. Choosing the right type of awning can easily reduce home energy costs by shielding your home from the elements.
How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success
Below are a few of the most common decisions you should make prior to your new awning installation.

Size Matters

Choosing the correct size of retractable awning for your home is paramount. This will help ensure the appearance of your home remains well-balanced and visually appealing. There are many sizes to choose from, and American Awnings & Replacement Windows can help guide you in your decision making.

Awning Material

Our retractable awnings are available in a variety of materials, all of which have their own unique benefits. Resacril fabrics are an ideal choice for your awning. They have a tighter weave and provide superior water resistance and fabric stability. Resacril fabrics weigh 9 ounces per square yard and are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics are another great choice of material. These awning materials are also made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic fiber. This provides an incomparable color brightness. Plus, these fabrics are woven which allows the fabric to be translucent and breathe. Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics also have a flurocarbon finish that repells water quite efficiently.

Choose Your Style

American Awnings & Replacement Windows offers many different styles of awning to choose from including Sunrise, Toga, Little Big, Vario-Volant, Sunpitch, and Sunselect retractable awnings. Click here to learn more about these unique styles and discover which style of awning is the perfect fit for your home.

Need help deciding which options are best suited for your next awning project? No problem! Contact the professionals at American Awnings & Replacement Windows to help guide you every step of the way. Our expert staff will help you make an informed decision, and we will make sure your retractable awning project is a success!

Awnings Reduce Energy Cost & Add Value to Your Home

Now more than ever, we have become more conscious and aware of our environmental impact. The push to become more green in regards to energy efficiency has become a top priority for many of us. Retractable awnings are a great way to reduce energy costs in your home while adding significant value.
Awnings Reduce Energy Cost & Add Value to Your Home
Retractable awnings can help reduce home cooling costs significantly, by as much as 25 percent. By deflecting the sun’s rays, a retractable awning helps maintain cooler temperatures in your home and create an outdoor living space shielded from the intensity of the sun. This in turn helps lower your overall energy costs by using less air conditioning and spending less time indoors during those warm summer months.

Another thing to consider when looking to buy a retractable awning for your home is the impact it can have on your indoor furniture, curtains, drapes, and carpeting. By blocking the sun’s harmful rays from infiltrating your home, a retractable awning can help reduce the amount of fading and damage over time to indoor furnishings. This adds value to your home and is a very smart investment to consider.

Retractable awnings can potentially save you thousands in home energy costs, but they also add a level of comfort and aesthetic to your home than can be enjoyed for years to come. Easily turn an outdoor patio or deck into a comfortable outdoor living area for your family and guests to enjoy. Installing a retractable awning is a cost-effective way to add value to your home without investing the time and money into expensive renovation projects.

Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today to discuss the best retractable awning solution for your home or business. We service much of Franklin, Cumberland, Dauphin, York & Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania including Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, and much more. Call 800-532-9098 today for your free quote!

Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas

Homeowners looking to add more space to their homes do not necessarily need to make major renovations. They simply have to see the possibilities in outdoor living spaces.
Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas
Outdoor living spaces are coveted niches in a home. The American Home Furnishings Alliance says more than 70 percent of American households have outdoor living spaces, and nearly 70 percent of people use these spaces at least once per week in-season. Furthermore, homeowners are increasingly interested in enhancing these spaces to make them more usable and comfortable.

A recent survey from the online home design and remodeling resource Houzz found that more than 4,500 users were planning a landscape update. In addition, 56 percent of homeowners surveyed were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining.
While the creation of outdoor living spaces can cost thousands of dollars depending on the renovation, homeowners have more budget-friendly options at their disposal as well. The following are some ways to create inviting spaces no matter how much square-footage is present.

Revamp a garage or shed

Rather than turning a storage area into a catch-all for items time forgot, clean out the space and put it to better use. For instance, kids may appreciate their own clubhouse away from the main living area. These spaces also can be handy bonus rooms for when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and backyard guests need to seek shelter. Wall art, curtains, a pendant light, and some comfortable outdoor-compatible furniture can quickly transform a space.

Create a relaxing nook

Whether there’s a ledge, overhang, small terrace, or porch off the house, turn it into a relaxing area for reading a book or sipping a beverage. Use a few outdoor pillows, pull up a small folding table and dress the area with hanging lights and potted plants for a quiet retreat.

Add privacy to a porch

If it’s privacy you covet, install curtain rods and hang lightweight mesh or another translucent material that obscures neighbors’ views without blocking out natural light. Invest in outdoor sofas and chaises to create an outdoor living room right on the porch. If your budget allows, consider closing in the porch as a true three-season room so it can be used throughout fall, spring and summer.

Outdoor living spaces are booming and highly achievable, and many such spaces need not be expensive.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows can also help you create that perfect outdoor living space with one of our many retractable awning options. We have retractable awnings to fit any budget, and our expert staff can install your new retractable awning in no time. Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today!

Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable

Many homeowners are eager to step outdoors upon the return of warm weather. Outdoor living spaces have grown in popularity as more and more homeowners embrace opportunities to entertain and lounge around in their yards.
Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable
Outdoor entertaining areas can be great, but such spaces may go unused when summer sun makes it uncomfortable to spend time outdoors. But a retractable awning can change all that. Homeowners often find awnings can be worthwhile investments that can be beneficial both inside and outside of the home.

Increase usable yard space

Awnings can create privacy and establish boundaries for outdoor living areas. Place an awning over a deck, tables and chairs, or an entire patio area. Some people like to install awnings over a portion of their pools to provide shade for those who want to escape the sun’s rays. Motorized awnings can be retracted with the push of a button, which can help homeowners with physical limitations.

Protect against sun damage

Awnings provide excellent protection against sun damage, as they can shield outdoor furniture from direct sunlight, helping to reduce the chances for discoloration or fading.

Reduce air conditioning costs

In addition to shading outdoor living areas, smaller awnings can be placed over southern- and western-facing windows, shielding interiors against the sun’s rays. In turn, this may reduce reliance on air conditioners.

Expand gardening possibilities

Some plants require very specific light conditions to grow. Awnings can protect shade-loving plants from harsh sunlight and filter the sun for plants that require indirect light. They can be placed over a patio container garden or permanent garden structure.

Add value for buyers

For those who may be selling their homes soon, awning may help them receive top dollar. Today’s buyers want houses that have attractive and functional exteriors, and an awning can provide that competitive advantage over similar homes in the neighborhood.

When renovating outdoor areas, homeowners should not overlook awnings that can make outdoor living spaces more livable.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Retractable Awning

So, perhaps you’ve just finished building a wonderful backyard deck or patio or are interested in sprucing up your existing outdoor living space. You begin researching retractable awning companies and contractors to make your new deck or patio more pleasant on those hot summer days. But where should you begin? Here are a few things to consider before making your new retractable awning purchase.
Large Retractable Awning in Gettysburg, PA

Overall Aesthetic

It’s important to choose a retractable awning that is both reliable and mechanically sound, but the look and feel of your new awning is just as significant. Make certain that the color and pattern of the awning fabric is compatible with your home’s design. At American Awnings & Replacement Windows, we have many different patterns and colors to choose from. We will work with you and lead you down the path to a beautiful awning that you can admire for years to come.

Type of Awning

The type of retractable awning you choose can make a huge difference. We offer a wide range of styles to suit your specific needs. For example, our Toga retractable awning offers superior protection of the fabric of your awning. The valence can also be removed during colder seasons to help prolong the life of the awning’s fabric. Our Little Big model is an ideal solution for narrower spaces yet still large enough to provide adequate shading. If you’re looking for an awning that can adapt to suit your sun protection needs, our Vario-Volant model would be an ideal solution.
Small Window Aluminum Awning

Warranty & Financing

When purchasing a brand new retractable awning, it’s always beneficial to protect your investment. Every retractable awning that we offer carries a 10 year common sense warranty that is backed by our professionally trained staff. Combined with proper care and maintenance, you can avoid unexpected expenses down the road.

If you prefer to pay for your new awning over time, we also offer 18 months special financing. Click here to learn more about how we can help you finance your next project.

How to Keep Your Retractable Awning Looking Like New

Our retractable awnings are pretty low maintenance and require little effort on part of the homeowner to stay in tip-top condition. Even though your brand new retractable awning will fare well on its own, there are a number of things you can do to help maintain your awning’s “like new” appearance for years to come.
Retractable Awning on Roof

Routine Cleaning

A routine washing is most important to maintain your retractable awning’s beautiful appearance. Fill a bucket with water and a mild detergent, then hose down your awning before using a soft bristle brush to gently scrub the fabric. Once finished, rinse off the awning with a hose and let dry. You may also simply hose off your awning without scrubbing if you’re concerned about damaging the fabric. Doing this twice a year can make a huge difference in the appearance of your retractable awning.

Between washings of your retractable awning, a weekly cleaning with a long handled broom or soft bristle brush can also make a huge difference. Take care not to brush too hard as to damage the fabric of your retractable awning. An easy brushing to remove unwanted dirt will go a long away in maintaining your awning’s appearance.
Two Large Retractable Awnings

Keep Your Awning Dry

It is also extremely important to allow your awning to dry after wet weather. The folds in your awning will collect water and could very well facilitate the growth of mold. The quickest method to ensure this doesn’t happen is to simply extend the retractable awning and allow it to dry thoroughly. This step should also be taken before packing your awning away for the winter. Otherwise come spring time, you may discover the uninvited presence of mold or mildew.

Project Corner: Retractable Awning Installation

Summer is almost officially here and is one of our busiest seasons for retractable awning installations. Today we would like to highlight one of the many projects American Awnings & Replacement Windows have completed thus far.
Retractable Awning Installation Project
After extensive research, the client chose American Awnings & Replacement Windows to install their brand new retractable awning system. We took the time to educate and answer any questions throughout the installation process. The final result is a wonderful backyard patio area transformed into a comfortable and relaxing outdoor living space.

With the addition of a retractable awning system, their patio now has plenty of shade and protection from the elements. The perfect spot to relax and unwind while enjoying the fresh air!

The client was so kind to leave us a review on Facebook that we would like to share below.

Tony – Thank you for my wonderful new awning! I researched so many options from simple and complex umbrellas, to a sail, a hand crafted system using airline wire from a you tube video, and many other awning companies.

You are simply the best! American Awnings high ratings and reviews led me to call you, but your professionalism, knowledge and options hooked me to order. Today, you educated me as you were installing, answered all my questions and cleaned up after yourself! There was literally nothing for me to do when you were done.

Now, if you could just arrange for some sunshine! Thank you! –Rose Hlavac

If you’re interested in expanding your deck or patio into a fun and relaxing outdoor living space that the entire family can enjoy, contact us today to receive a FREE quote!

We are happy to answer any questions you may have and review the many options available to you. Together we will find the perfect fit, a beautiful retractable awning system you can enjoy for years to come.