Using Skylights to Cool Your Home

Here are a few tips:

  • The best location for operable skylights is on the side of the house opposite of the prevailing winds. This helps draw air out of the house. For example, in the Puget Sound area the best location would be on the east or north sides of the house.
  • If the house has two floors and an open staircase then a centrally located skylight in the 2nd floor hallway will work very well.
  • A single story house may require more than one operable skylight because it may not have the vertical space (height) to create a good convection current.
  • Most operable skylights are designed not to allow for rain entry when left partially open. We have an operable skylight at our cabin and leave it partially open from May till October - no problem.
  • An operable skylight in a bathroom can double as a moisture venting system.
  • The size of the skylight is not as important as its location.
  • The best time to add an operable a skylight is when new roofing is installed or when the roofing material is relatively new and flexible.
  • Some manufacturers of operable skylights provide optional shading and screening systems.
  • Some skylight models open and close with small motors and can be programed with thermostats, rain detectors and all sorts of fancy equipment. (I prefer a long pole or crank.) But motorized and automatically controlled units can make a lot of sense, for example in hard to reach locations.

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Operable Skylights