When spring finally arrives, windows and skylights across the country will open, as happy homeowners revel in all that sunshine and warm, fresh air. But before you can savor spring, you still have weeks of winter to get through. You can use that time wisely to ensure all your home’s windows, skylights and doors are in good working order – and ready for action when spring arrives.
We’re getting closer to spring, which is sure to bring a euphoric happiness to most of the United State. Sunshine and warmer days will be surely welcomed. Along with the warmer weather, comes some spring time home maintenance. Windows, skylights (the ones that open) and doors will be opened, letting in long awaited fresh warm air. This is a good time to review what needs to be done to keep your skylights in good order.
Skylights and Windows require annual maintenance to keep them in proper working condition and to maximize their lives and to help keep energy costs down. Skylights let in a lot of sunshine, and that sunshine can be converted into a natural, free heat source we all would love to enjoy in the cold months. But in the summer, those skylights work the opposite effect, causing excessive heat to enter the home and requiring the air conditioner to work extra hard. How do you reduce the energy costs associated with skylights in your home? First, always seek out Energy Star certified windows, doors and skylights when looking for new or replacement products. For skylights, be sure to look for blinds that work with your skylights. Electric operated blinds are ideal because of their ease of use, but they’re also more expensive to purchase and more expensive to have installed. If you want the benefit of blinds for skylights, but you need to keep the costs down, another option is to use an extension pole to operate your open/close function. It’s a simple solution that works, but you’ll need to find a safe place to keep your extension pole.
All windows, doors and skylights that have pre-finished wood frames should be inspected every year before spring. If there are signs of peeling, cracking or fading, it will need to be refinished. Always refinish or repaint following the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines. For skylights, be sure the exterior fasteners are properly secured and check the cladding and flashing to be sure it’s isn’t too worn, look for wear and tear and scratches. If any cladding or flashing is damaged be sure to replace it asap.
For those with fresh air skylights, known as “venting” skylights, inspect the mechanism that opens and closes the sash. Open the skylight or skylights. If the skylight is electric-powered, open it and then turn off the power. Inspect it and clean the parts using a clean dry towel on the chain. Use of cleaner or solvent is not appropriate. Skylights that have blinds should be inspected to be sure they are working correctly as well. Skylights with blinds are more energy efficient but do require some extra inspection and maintenance from time to time. If your skylights don’t include blinds, this is an excellent time to install them.
Some skylight blinds are remote controlled and powered by solar energy. These are pretty awesome. Velux manufactures one such solar-powered skylight with blind that’s easy to open and close and when sun hits that area of the roof the blind is closed. This is literally a cool design, as it can improve the skylight’s energy efficiency by up to 45%. There is a 30% Federal tax credit available on the solar powered skylights, blinds and even the installation, which makes getting them now a smart decision.
Proper annual maintenance can extend the life of skylights, but these don’t last forever. The best made skylights will eventually require replacement. If your older skylights are leaking, offer poor energy efficiency or are otherwise at or nearing the end of their life-cycle, now is a great time to replace them with an Energy Star qualified model. You may improve your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your monthly heating and cooling expenses and prevent or stop harmful leaks while improving the look and function of the skylights. Don’t forget that 30 percent Federal tax credit, either. It’s not often you get that kind of gift from the government.