April 23, 2020| Lester Yat
They let the sunshine in, brighten dark rooms, and offer restful views of star-lit nights.
As construction technology has advanced, skylights have become increasingly popular on single-family homes and condominiums across the country. Less prone to leakage and clouding than their counterparts from decades go, today’s skylights are attractive, functional and almost care-free.
But, like any building component, skylights — especially those installed years ago — do require occasional maintenance. Inspections of the glass, flashing and perimeter of each skylight can be done during regular roof inspections. If a home’s HVAC system is stirring up dust, it may settle on the glass, dimming the view. With a little care, skylights can perform flawlessly for many years.
Here are a few tips on keeping that window on the world in good shape.
Wood maintenance: At least every two years, remove the varnish or paint, and when dry, apply a coat of water-based acrylic varnish/paint. While doing this maintenance, be sure to cover gaskets to protect them and ensure proper operation.
Cleaning the window pane: Use a soft, clean, lint-free cloth/chamois leather/nonabrasive sponge or a clean non-metal window squeegee to remove any accumulated dust or dirt. Avoid the use of chemicals and water.
Cleaning the filter: The filter can be removed and washed with ordinary household cleaners. New filters are available from the dealer’s website.
Cleaning the flashing: Through the year, leaves, pine needles and other wind-blown debris may accumulate around the skylight exterior. That debris should be removed from the flashing around the window, at least once a year.
Removing snow and ice: In areas with prolonged cold periods with heavy snowfall, the skylight will become covered. When the temperature changes, it will start melting and re-freezing; if there’s any chance of a leak, this cycle will exacerbate it. Be wary, however, of scratching the glass during any roof snow-removal operations.
Condensation: When condensation forms, it is a warning sign that the home needs better ventilation. Close the doors of kitchens and bathrooms, and use exterior-vented fans to move moist air out of the home. The optimum temperature to avoid condensation problems is 68°F.