A skylight is a practical way to get a little extra sunshine in Portland’s rainy climate. By making sure your skylights are properly weatherized, you can enjoy the light without drafts and energy loss.
How Your Skylight Can Cost You
Windows account for around 10–15 percent of your home’s heat loss in winter and 30 percent of your heat gain in summer. Skylights are even more problematic because they’re hit with more direct sunlight in summer than windows in the wall receive. In winter, they lose around 40 percent more heat than windows because warm air rises, heading straight for the skylights.
To make matters worse, it’s easy to overlook deteriorating caulk and weatherstripping when it’s up on the ceiling. That increases the chance your skylights will develop air leaks that waste your conditioned air, cause drafts, and let in air contaminants.
Improve a Skylight’s Efficiency
In late autumn and late spring, thoroughly clean your skylights. Cleaning before winter ensures you’ll get the maximum amount of sunlight. Get up on a ladder and inspect the caulk and weatherstripping around your skylights. If you notice the weatherization material is deteriorating, remove it completely and apply new caulk or weatherstripping.
Have your skylights professionally inspected once a year. Some issues, such as damaged flashing, might be obvious, but others take an experienced eye to spot.
Install blinds. These let you control how much light you get on hot days and act as insulation in winter. In fact, blinds increase a skylight’s energy efficiency by nearly 40 percent. Blackout blinds used on a fixed skylight can boost energy efficiency by up to 45 percent.
Applying a low-emissivity film is another option for controlling excess heat coming in. On the down side, these films also reduce heat gain in winter when you might actually want it, cut the amount of light you get, and they aren’t adjustable like blinds.
If you’d like some help improving your home’s weatherization, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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