We build our homes for comfort and for shelter, to shut out the unpleasant aspects of nature and to establish a place for peace, convenience, and ease of living. However, we love bringing the outdoors inside as long as doing so does not take away from our haven. When we add a skylight to our homes, we are letting in nature, and provided we act with care, we will enjoy all its advantages without its detracting from our comfort.
There are strong advantages to having a skylight, foremost among them being its illuminating qualities. Natural sunlight has definite benefits for mental and physical health, and it also reduces the need for artificial light sources, an asset which shows plainly in your energy bill. The value of your home also profits from this addition of light, as an important criterion potential home buyers look for is the natural illumination of its interior.
Other advantages come from the fact that many skylights can open and shut. Some of these skylights can even function on solar-powered batteries and operate in response to outside conditions, including rain. Besides being a tremendous convenience, these skylights maximize the movement and quality of the air in your home, helping to conserve energy. If you install solar-powered blinds in addition to this kind of skylight, your energy usage can improve by 45 percent.
In spite of these good points, there are definite difficulties to overcome in installing a skylight. One serious consideration is that a skylight can heat up a room in summer and cool it in winter. There are, however, ways to diminish or prevent this effect, such as by a special glaze or by translucent insulation.
Skylights can also allow unwelcome heat or cold through the walls of the shaft. If the shaft has to pass through the attic, which is not usually fully insulated, it will absorb and transmit the heat or cold coming from that area. To prevent this problem, you can insulate either your shaft or your attic and roof.
Another difficulty is that a skylight can sometimes allow far too much sunlight into a room. The best solution to this problem is to build your skylight so that it faces north, thereby avoiding direct light. If this placement is impossible, another option is to position your skylight at a higher point on the roof. The increased height will demand a longer shaft, which will then necessarily diffuse some of the light. To amplify the protection, you can purchase shades or blinds for your skylight.
A Plan for Success
A skylight can add so much to a room, but it is not something to install in a hurry. With care and planning, you can have all the advantages of a skylight without the potential problems. Take the time to consider every aspect of your project, and you will ensure that illuminating your home with a skylight brings only satisfaction and comfort.