Opinions about skylights in family rooms

citycolorSeptember 17, 2012

Hello all!

We live in a rambler where the family room, breakfast area and kitchen are at the back of the home facing East. There is a screened porch beyond the breakfast area and family room. The porch and the neighbor's tall trees ensure that we get no light in this part of the house. We have a solatube in the kitchen which has helped a little in that area. We would like to add skylights to the rest of the room.

Due to the way the roof has been installed for the porch, the only two spots we can have skylights are the area between the kitchen and breakfast area and the other far end of the family room in front of the fireplace.

Hopefully this amateur little illustration will help understand the situation a little. The two red boxes are where the skylights can go.

We would certainly like the one next to the breakfast area but are not able to decide on the one next to the FP.

Our television will probably go on the fireplace wall.

Some things we are worried about...

too much glare on the tv

too much noise if it is raining etc.

too much heat during the summer(although I would love to feel the sun during winter)

fading of carpet and couch

I would love to have more light in the room tho and I am worried that just having one might not be enough. My husband thinks that having two will be visually more appealing.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any experience with skylights in these rooms? I would love to know, thank you!!

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minneapolisite

If you have a modern TV, glare typically isn't as big of a problem as it used to be. I'm sure there is some sort of blind (perhaps even one with a remote control?) that you can install on the skylight to diffuse (or totally black out) the light. A blind of some sort would also address your concerns about too much heat in the summer and fading your carpet/furniture.

Not sure about too much noise during rain, but I personally love the sound of rain and wish we could amplify it. :P

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:59AM
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worthy

As noted in the previous post, blinds are available. Here is the line from Velux.

When comparison shopping, don't forget checking the R or U value of the skylight.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 1:05PM
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scrappy25

why not use the large solatube 14"x2? No worries about leaking or insulation, great light, cheaper to install.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 1:38PM
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citycolor

minneapolisite, yes those are options that we need to think about. Thanks! I do love the sound of rain too, so I figured it should be okay, but I have heard people find that to be too loud sometimes and that made me wonder.
worthy, what is the R and U value?
scrappy25, while I do like the solatube it does not help with the claustrophobic feeling that I get when I am in this area of the house. We have a skylight in the foyer and the master bath and I know I would love to be able to look up at the sky. Also because of the aforementioned neighboring trees, the sun hits our roof for a short period of time during the day so the solatube doesn't work very well at those times.

I would love personal experiences with skylights...do you love them for any reasons, or dislike them for any?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 2:01PM
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worthy

what is the R and U value?

"Windows lose and gain heat by conduction, convection, radiation and air leakage. This heat transfer is expressed with U-values, or U-factors. U-values are the mathematical inverse of R-values. So an R-value of 2 equals a U-value of 1/2, or 0.5. Unlike R-values, lower U-value indicates higher insulating value." Prof. Paul Fissette, Building and Construction Technology, U.Mass from linked article below)

Skylights and sky windows carry energy ratings the same as conventional windows and can be used for comparison shopping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Understanding Energy Efficient Windows

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 4:07PM
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stinkytiger

Hi,

We have one skylight with no blinds in our home. We have it at the top of a stair case so that the light shines down into the stairwell and lights upstairs and downstairs. It does I think make a large difference.

The skylight size is maybe 4 feet by two feet. It faces North. (We are near New York City).

I am not sure about heat loss, but it must be worse than a R30 insulation. It is a Velux unit and has two layers of glass.

When it rains you can hear the pitter patter. That is usually not too bad. Hail is more noisy.

As for TV glare it is difficult for me to visulize, although I must comment favourably upon your rather good diagram. What way is the roof sloping? Where are you in the USA, up north, or lower down like Miami? The thing to remember is that sunlight direction and intensity depends on time of day, lattitude, weather, and time of year. So try and imagine what the light will be for a full day, and for each day throught the year, and the typical weather you may get where you live.

All the best, Mike.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 4:57PM
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dekeoboe

Yes, rain hitting on a skylight is noisy. How noisy depends on how fast the rain is coming down.

Have you considered putting the skylights in the porch roof?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:20PM
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sgeco

Skylights are efficient depending on the room area to be lit, the diameter of the skylights and the height of the attic. You can give the installer/ manufacturer the area of the room and will suggest quantity or size or the skylights to be used. Glare will be lessen if the criteria I mention above is achieved. With the noise, I think its much quieter (depends on the roof) because of the skylights component masking the noise outside. With heat, skylights are double glazed on the ceiling level, dome on the roof level reduce heat transmittance and the tubing components doesn't hold heat. Beacause there's no heat transmitted, you don't need to worry about your furniture fading.

Here is a link that might be useful: Skylights

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:05AM
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threeapples

We have them in the family room near the tv in the house we are selling. I love them. I had a uv film put over them to protect our artwork and carpet. It's barely noticeable and energy efficient. Our new house doesn't make sense with skylights, but they can be great in the right environment.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:41AM
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