Monday, January 11, 2010

Skylights Let the Heat Fly Out of Your Home.

I am not a fan of skylights. because they are a a very big hole in your roof. heat rises and like water, except upside down, it will find the easiest way up and out of your house.

This becomes a big deal if there is a utility failure disaster. If power goes out or the gas line is broken or a fuel delivery is delayed by weather or cost, then not having large amounts of heat escaping through a skylight or three would be a very good thing.

You can put plenty of good insulation in your roof and walls and you could super-insulate them and you wouldn't need much heat at all. I am also a bit of a cheapskate so making a home that I don't have to spend lots of money maintaining at a particular temperature is nice.

But a skylight like punching a hole through your roof. Heat is going to leak out of it like crazy. Sure, there are all kinds of fancy multi-pane, noble gas infused skylights but they will leak over time and their R value will be greatly reduced.

Now I won't say that you can't have skylights if you want them. I'm libertarian, if I was liberal I would want to ban them for all homes. I figure you can have them if you want them and just let you pay the extra cost in fuel yourself.

That said there are a few rooms I would strongly recommend against putting skylights in. Rooms with faucets: the kitchen, baths and laundry rooms all have water in them and if there is a skylight in that room then they will get colder in the wintertime. A cold room will make freezing your pipes more likely and frozen pipes in a home are a very bad thing.

I would also recommend against putting them in bedrooms. If you are without heat a bedroom can be made cozy enough with lots of blankets on the bed. (A four poster bed with heavy bed-curtains does make a nice tent.) With a skylight or a very large window, which I've noticed as fashionable in the last few years will let out a lot of heat. You can put drapes on a window, putting them on a skylight....

Well, I guess you could put an insulated panel of some kind over it. Home stores do have sheets of foam insulation you could cut to size. The edge around the drywall may have a metal strip around it, so you would be able to mount it using neodymium magnets. I did that with some posterboard to better seal the fireplace.