Depending on where you live, condensation in your home can worsen in the winter. This is due to the cold outdoor temperature creating a significant difference when compared to the interior temperature of your home. This difference can cause humidity to collect, resulting in condensation. Most commonly, humidity is higher in kitchens, bathrooms, utility closets, and around heating vents. The problem of condensation can be more severe when there is inadequate ventilation, or if the air becomes trapped in small spaces.
Solatube Skylights and Condensation
Solatube skylights provide the benefit of added sunlight and warmth during the chilly winter months. However, condensation can be a risk in certain climates where humidity collects on the colder surfaces of the tube. Condensation, if not correctly dealt with, can lead to mold, structural damage, and weaken the integrity of your skylight.
While condensation may not be eliminated entirely, there are many steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of condensation and the damage caused by condensation from your Solatube installation.
- When holes are cut into the roof deck during installation, it is essential to make sure that round holes are cut. Square holes will make it easier for moisture to pass into the flashing or curb space.
- When installing a Solatube, use flashing or a curb insulator. These are meant to reduce the amount of warm, moist, interior air that makes contact with the cold, metal interior of the flashing or curb.
- If you do not use a flashing or curb insulator during installation of the Solatube skylight, you will want to use some other system to prevent warm, interior air from building condensation against the cooler, metal surfaces. Several options are available—expanding foam, silicone sealant, insulation, or similar products.
- Make sure the Solatube dome is securely attached to the flashing or curb cap. Certain models will have slightly different systems, including seals and gaskets. The whole system is designed to allow for some air ventilation while preventing problematic condensation from building up on the dome.
- Wrap the Solatube in high-grade duct tape and further wrap it in insulation to reduce temperature differences. Depending on the local climate, you will want to use a minimum of R-9 insulation, and in colder climates and winters, you will want to use R-15 or better. You need to ensure there are no gaps, and that the insulation runs from the roof deck all the way to the ceiling plane.
- Vapor barriers are used in regions where condensation is already a known problem. If you have one, make sure it is sealed off after it is opened up when the Solatube is installed. Failing to reseal it once the Solatube is installed can result in severe problems with water collecting around the tube.
Keeping Condensation Away
These changes can decrease the risk of condensation, reduce the need for repairs due to water damage, lengthen the life of your Solatube installation, and improve the quality of the functioning of your Solatube product. Your local Solatube dealer can offer professional installation which also helps to reduce the risk of condensation problems, and can also offer other options and products for you to consider, such as the Dome Upgrade Kit, Effect Lenses, or Severe Climate Glazing.
A professional Solatube installation expert can offer you specific advice and solutions to help combat condensation with your Solatube installation. Talk to Solabrite today about options to prevent condensation, and for professional installation to help ensure best results.