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  • Skylight Benefits

    sacramento skylight installationHow a Skylight Can Benefit Your Sacramento Home

    There’s no shortage of sunlight in Sacramento, especially during summer, when it ranks among the sunniest places on Earth. However, if your home interior doesn’t get much natural light, you may not be reaping the full benefits of those sunny summer days. In this case, the addition of a skylight can do wonders by improving everything from visibility to ventilation. Here are five benefits a skylight can bring:

    1. Improved lighting

    The most practical reason to install a skylight in your home is to improve lighting. Many older homes weren’t built with natural lighting in mind, which is why a lot of Sacramento homeowners struggle with in-home visibility even in the middle of the day. In such cases, a skylight offers an ideal solution by letting more natural light into the home. In addition to improving visibility, the illumination provided by a skylight can have a major impact on the ambience of your home interior. 

    2. Increased comfort

    Another problem experienced in homes that lack natural light is a lack of warmth. When sunlight isn’t able to enter your home, it can lead to a cold interior environment, both in terms of temperature and ambience. By letting in the pleasant warmth of solar rays, a skylight can transform your home from cold to cozy.

    3. Improved mood

    The effects of sunlight on mood are well-known and, more importantly, confirmed by science. By increasing serotonin levels, sunlight actually improves your disposition. Contrastingly, a lack of natural sunlight can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which can increase the risk of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Knowing this, why wouldn’t you want to bring more sunlight into your home? Beyond improving in-home comfort and visibility, a skylight can be a potential game changer for your psychological well-being.

    4. Reduced energy costs

    Many homes that lack natural lighting require artificial lights to maintain adequate visibility throughout the day. If this is the case for your home, your electrical bills are probably a lot higher than you’d like them to be. By naturally illuminating your home interior, a skylight will allow you to turn off those lights and keep a little more money in your pocket.

    5. Improved ventilation

    A ventilating skylight is a skylight that can be opened manually or electronically. If you choose a ventilating skylight, you’ll get the added benefit of bringing both natural light and fresh air into your home. This double benefit can make your skylight project a real win-win.

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  • Skylight Types

    overhead skylight3 Types of Skylights

    If you’re thinking about adding a skylight to your Sacramento home, it’s good to learn about your options. For instance, did you know there are three different types of skylights to choose from? By learning about each type, you’ll be able to choose a skylight that works best for your home.

    Fixed Skylights   

    As the most basic type of skylight, a fixed skylight doesn’t have many additional features, such as the ability to be opened and closed. Fixed skylights typically work best in out-of-reach areas where manual venting operation isn’t practical, in areas where ventilation isn’t necessary or desired, and for homeowners with limited budgets. 

    Ventilating Skylights

    By allowing for opening and closing, ventilating skylights bring both natural light and fresh air into the home. Besides improving air flow, this feature helps alleviate condensation buildup, which makes ventilating skylights especially practical in moisture-prone rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. Ventilating skylights can be designed for manual or electronic operation, the latter of which allows for the convenience of remote control and even automatic operation.

    Tubular Skylights       

    While skylights are easy to incorporate in larger areas of the home, installation can be challenging in small or enclosed spaces like hallways, pantries, closets and foyers. In such instances, a tubular skylight can be a practical solution. Utilizing an adjustable, highly reflective shaft or “tube,” a tubular skylight is designed to bring natural light from the roof into spaces that lack roof access or where skylight installation is infeasible. Since the tube is adjustable, it can be angled around attic obstructions, and smaller tubes can easily fit between rafters and ceiling joists to avoid the need for structural modifications.

    Because tubular skylights (also known as sun tunnels or solar tube skylights) diffuse light indirectly, the illumination they provide is less intense but no less bright than that provided by conventional skylights. Additionally, since they’re less susceptible to heat gain or loss, tubular skylights are more energy-efficient.

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  • Tip Sheet

    sacramento skylight projectSkylight Design and Installation Tips

    Installing a skylight in your Sacramento home is no small decision. To ensure the best results, you’ll need to take several factors into account when planning for your skylight’s design and installation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    Consider the effect. When designing your new skylight, you’ll need to consider the effect you want to achieve. If you want it to be the focal point of a dining or living room, a large skylight with a flared shaft (designed to maximize light admittance) will likely be a good choice. On the other hand, if you just want to accent a certain part of a room, a smaller skylight with a straight shaft may suffice.

    Invest in a quality material. Skylights are generally manufactured from acrylic plastic or glass. Acrylic is the more affordable option and its lightweight character makes it a good choice for weak roof curbs that can’t support the weight of a glass skylight. However, unlike glass, acrylic skylights are susceptible to clouding and/or yellowing over time, and they also aren’t as thermally efficient. That’s why, whenever possible, it’s ideal to invest in a glass skylight that provides superior long-term durability, clarity and insulation.

    Consider sunward orientation. Another crucial factor for skylight design is determining which direction it will face. Few homeowners realize a skylight’s position in relation to the sun can impact both illumination and solar heat gain. A north-facing skylight receives less direct sunlight, which enables it to provide constant illumination with minimal heat absorption. In contrast, since a south-facing skylight receives more direct sunlight, it will absorb and retain more heat—an attribute that’s nice in winter but not so much during summer (especially in Sacramento). East-facing skylights provide the most light and heat in the morning, whereas west-facing skylights do this in the afternoon. While your choice of skylight orientation may be limited by your home’s architecture, it’s nonetheless worthwhile to understand how this can affect its performance.

    Maximize energy efficiency and sun protection. While a skylight can lower your energy bills by reducing the need for artificial lighting, it can potentially increase your heating/cooling costs due to heat gain/loss. Additionally, the UV rays emitted by a skylight can cause sun damage to carpets, furniture and other home items over time. Fortunately, you can take proactive measures to diminish these effects. One is to apply a heat-absorbing tint and/or low-emissivity coating, both of which reduce heat gain/loss and block out UV rays. Another option is to install a set of motorized blinds that will cover the skylight during the hottest times of day (or whenever desired).

    Incorporate solar power. Another worthwhile investment when installing a new skylight is adding solar-powered automation. With this feature, you can program your skylight to automatically open and close at specified times of day or in response to the outside temperature. Automated skylights also come with built-in rain sensors that prompt them to close when rain is detected. Since it’s exposed to the sun, the operating mechanism will be charged during the day, so it won’t cost you a dime.

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  • Answering Critics

    skylights overheadAddressing Common Skylight Criticisms

    If you’re thinking about installing a skylight in your Sacramento home, you’ve probably considered the many benefits to be had. By bringing more natural light into your home, a skylight not only improves visibility and ambience, it can also improve your mood. However, you may have also heard some criticisms of skylights based on certain susceptibilities and performance drawbacks. Rather than take these criticisms at face value, it’s worthwhile to take a closer look and assess their validity.

    The reality is, many skylight criticisms in circulation today are based on examples that are representative of older technology and don’t account for the improved performance of modern-day products. Additionally, most drawbacks cited by skylight critics can be addressed by simply implementing the right measures. To learn more, we’ll take a look at four frequently cited skylight drawbacks:

    1. “Skylights leak.”

    A common criticism of skylights is their propensity for developing leaks. However, this criticism fails to account for advancements in skylight technology and installation methods over the last couple of decades. Today’s skylight manufacturers have addressed past shortcomings by developing improved flashings and other leak-preventing features. Additionally, hiring an expert installer who uses the latest industry methods to install your skylight will minimize the chances for leakage in the future.

    1. “Skylights let in too much sunlight.”

    Seeing as its primary purpose is to bring light into the home, this common skylight criticism is a bit ironic. That said, the concern is legitimate, as too much UV exposure can cause sun damage to carpets, furniture and other household items. Fortunately, there are several ways to address this. The first is to install your skylight on a north-facing roof, where it will receive minimal direct sunlight; you can also situate it in an area where it will receive shade from nearby trees. Another strategy is to increase the length of your skylight’s shaft, which will reduce the amount and intensity of light that enters. Furthermore, you can apply a UV protectant (such as a solar-reflective tint or low-emissivity coating) or add motorized blinds that can be closed during times of day when sunlight is the most intense.

    1. “Skylights detract from home energy efficiency.”

    Since glass conducts heat and cold more readily than wood or drywall, it makes sense why skylights get criticized as a point of energy loss in the home. This attribute is especially concerning during summer in Sacramento, when it can potentially increase air conditioning costs. Fortunately, by making proactive choices, you can minimize this issue.

    Start by choosing a quality product. Look for the highest possible specifications, such as triple-pane glass with U-values and solar heat gain coefficients that exceed minimum code requirements. Another way to improve skylight energy efficiency is to either eliminate shafts or make sure the shafts are well-insulated. Furthermore, previously mentioned factors like skylight orientation and the application of tints/coatings/sunshades can help minimize energy loss.

    1. “Condensation causes skylights to cloud up easily.”

    As moisture rises within the home, condensation buildup on a skylight’s underside can impede its clarity. While this is often seen as a problem with skylights, it’s usually more an issue of excess moisture in the home. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your home’s ventilation assessed and address any conditions that contribute to excessively moist or humid conditions.

    Regardless of the conditions within your home, there are ways to minimize the impact of condensation on skylights. One is to purchase a skylight that’s designed with this in mind. For example, some skylight manufacturers (such as VELUX) have developed gasket systems that aid drainage of condensation to the outside. Additionally, if you have a ventilating skylight, it’s easy to remedy condensation buildup—just open your skylight and allow it to evaporate.

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