Maintenance and improvement are both essential realities of homeownership. But how do you know when something like a skylight simply needs repair or merits being replaced?

While many modern skylights are energy-efficient, qualify to use the Energy Star mark and are leak-free, if you have an older plastic model, it’s probably a good idea to replace it. Not only are these older plastic bubble-type skylights often faded and unsightly, reducing visibility, they are not UV-ray resistant, are not energy-efficient and are much more likely to leak.

“There are millions of those unattractive, cracked and yellowed plastic skylights still out there,” said Ross Vandermark, national product manager of VELUX America, which markets the warranted “No-Leak Skylight.” “Replacing them with new energy-efficient, double-pane (insulating) glass models is quick and easy.”

In fact, based on an estimate of 15 cents per kWh/hr, replacing an old plastic skylight with an Energy Star-qualified VELUX skylight can save a 2,000-square-foot home about $194 a year on cooling costs, a company study shows. Add skylight blinds — which are available in a variety of styles that can be remote-controlled including blackout to block light, light filtering to diffuse light or Venetian to adjust light — and the energy savings can be enhanced even more. And blinds in colors and patterns can add a fresh look to your room decor. To learn more about replacement skylights, visit