Choosing the right skylight can save on electricity


Q: My neighbor installed a skylight in her family room and it made the room look larger and brighter. There are so many skylight designs available. Which would be the best for my home?

A: Installing a skylight can make a dramatic improvement in any room and can increase your home's resale value. Not only will a skylight reduce the need for electric lights, but a new super-high-efficiency one can ventilate and cool your room in the summer and capture free solar heat in the winter.

It is important to select a skylight with the proper design features for durability and energy efficiency. Don't just choose one that is on sale. Select the proper size for your room. An undersized skylight does not provide enough light and an oversized one may look bad and cause glare.

A venting skylight (one that opens) installed in your ceiling will naturally vent the hottest air from your room. Many skylights are designed so that when they are only partially opened, rain is still blocked from coming in.

You can get either a manual crank or electric motor-operated venting skylight. The electric models operate from a wall switch.Because skylights close on compression weatherstripping, they are extremely airtight.

The most efficient type of glazing is low-emissivity (low-e) argon gas- filled insulated glass. The low-e coating reduces heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.You can write to me for Utility Bills Update No. 215 showing a buyer's guide of skylights, listing manufacturers, venting or fixed, glazing type, frame and curb materials, and a chart showing recommended sizes for various rooms. Please include $1.50 and a self-addressed business-size envelope.

Questions should be addressed to James Dulley, c/o Baltimore Sun, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.

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