Skylights can heat, illuminate homes naturally

When considering installing energy-efficient doors and windows, many homeowners fail to consider the potential energy savings that could come with adding a skylight to their home. A home inspection service can assist a homeowner in determining how best to integrate a skylight into a home before tax credits are due to expire in 2012.

Skylights help produce energy-efficient homes because they distribute natural heat and light energy throughout the home all day long, allowing homeowners to rely less on HVAC systems and light bulbs. Some skylights are even specially designed to store solar energy in the winter and repel it in the summer, in order to moderate the temperature of the home.

Homeowners should be careful to avoid haphazardly installing skylights without first carefully planning the project. The size, shape, degree of transparency and rooftop position all matter greatly in how effective a skylight is. For example, if the slope of a skylight is too low, heat will infiltrate the home in the summer and be pushed away in the winter, which is not desirable.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that a skylight's slope be equal to the latitude of a particular location, plus about five to 15 more degrees. There are other important nuances to skylight installation, such as how to best prevent moisture from leaking into the home and determining which side of the roof receives the most consistent amount of sunlight.

To avoid making a critical mistake that ends up costing you instead of saving money, contact Washington, D.C. home inspectors who are familiar with local sunlight patterns and who have experience installing skylights. If you add a skylight to your home before the end of this year, you may be able to take advantage of tax credits for 10 percent of the cost of the project, up to $500.