Skylights can be an attractive and useful addition to almost any home, but they come in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the right type of skylights for your specific needs is crucial. If you have decided to install venting skylights in your home, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether to opt for skylights with automatic or manually operated venting mechanisms.

Hand-cranked, manually operated venting skylights may seem archaic to some, but these robust and reliable skylights have numerous advantages over their electronic automated counterparts and can be a fine addition to any room in your home. However, there are also some drawbacks to choosing manual venting skylights that you should be aware of.

What are the advantages of choosing manually operated venting skylights for your home?

Extremely reliable

Most modern, automated venting skylights are reasonably reliable, but they are still complex electronic devices that can fall victim to a wide variety of technical problems. If the electric motor or remote sensing mechanism fails, an automated venting skylight may become stuck in an open position, creating a dangerous security risk and forcing your home's air conditioning system to work harder.

Manually operated venting skylights are mechanically simple. They use simple crank and pulley mechanisms to open and close. This simplicity makes manual venting skylights extremely reliable and ensures they can be opened and closed when needed. They are particularly useful during prolonged power outages, which can cause automatic venting skylights to fail entirely if they are not battery powered.


Automated venting skylights also tend to be quite energy efficient, but choosing automated skylights will unavoidably increase your home's overall energy consumption. Manual venting skylights are much better choice for the eco-friendly homeowner, as the only energy they require to function is a little elbow grease. Since the light provided by skylights can replace artificial light sources, installing manual venting skylights can actually improve your home's energy efficiency.

Cost effective

The simplicity of manual venting skylights also means they are comparatively inexpensive and generally cost a lot less to purchase than automated alternatives. Depending on your budget, choosing a manual skylight may allow you to opt for a larger picture skylight that is even more effective at increasing ambient light levels.

What are the disadvantages of choosing manually operated venting skylights for your home?

Harder to use

The cranking systems of manual venting skylights are fitted with pulleys and gears that make operating the crank less strenuous, but opening these manual skylights still requires a decent amount of effort. This can make them unsuitable for elderly or disabled homeowners, particularly if they suffer from joint or muscle problems in the arms or upper body.

Require more space

Because manual venting skylights have an attached crank and pulley system, they also require more space to install that an automated skylight. Cranking mechanisms for manual skylights are usually attached to a nearby wall, so you may not be able to use them in sun rooms, conservatories and other rooms with limited usable wall space.

To learn more, discuss your needs with skylight window manufacturers.