Advantages and disadvantages of home skylights

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Skylights add beauty to the structural design of a house and allow natural light to stream into a room from overhead. There are advantages and disadvantages to installing skylights in a home. Their modern appeal and lighting effects can bring new life to a home's design, but controlling the heat and light skylights provide can prove to be a problem.

Advantage: Natural Light and Aesthetics

Skylights can be a good investment for the environmentally aware and architecturally inspired homeowner. They provide large amounts of natural light and warmth at no cost to the pocketbook or to the environment, because they do not require electricity or another outside energy source. A skylight's beauty and architectural design also can increase the value of a home.

Advantage: Spectacular Views

Skylights can offer a home's residents and guests a spectacular natural viewing arena that often provides magnificent views of clouds, brilliant lightning, or a clear, starry night sky. Depending on the size and location of the skylight, the view can be expansive or limited in scope. This advantage of home skylights allows the homeowner to experience the excitement of the outdoor world from indoors.

Disadvantage: Climate Control

A major disadvantage of home skylights can be their influence on a home's power use. During hot summer months, solar heat gain through the skylight may compel you to readjust the air conditioner's thermostat to compensate, raising power bills. During winter, the frigid air, snow and ice on a skylight can likewise force you to use more heating energy. Condensation that forms on the inside of a skylight also can be a problem in winter.

Disadvantage: Cleaning and Fading

Cleaning and dusting high skylights can be a problem. Some dusters with extended handles can be used to clean the surface of a skylight, but cleaning often requires the use of a ladder. Most skylights are not equipped with coverings or window treatments, so dust can accumulate quickly. The intense sunlight also can cause fading of exposed furnishings.

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