Skylight Condensation Channel Drainage Tubes

What to do with the problem of getting water to the outside through drainage channels or tubes.

This particular post deals with one aspect of designing a commercial skylight that architects and skylight designers should know about when considering a skylight design or trying to solve a problem concerning what to do with condensation drainage.

But first, let me point out; for those of you that are not aware that commercial skylights are designed to allow any water, either from condensation or from seepage to collect in a channel and weep to the outside roof.

What we have seen on certain projects such as the Denver Art Museum’s newest and problematic skylight, and other skylights around the country, is the attempt to use drainage tubes to drain the water either outside or into a larger collection system that then drains the water away. The problem is that these tubes do not work, at least for very long. We have seen everything from plastic 1/4″ tubing to 1/2″ PVC piping to 3/4″copper pipes and the result is always the same, they do not work. They fail for many reasons, such as clogging of the pipe from insects or construction debris, we’ve seen tubes pull out from either expansion and contraction or from freezing and thawing. We’ve seen tubes set too high so the water can never reach the tube and we’ve seen pinches, penetrations and pulverization.

Bottom line is we redesign the skylight to do away with the tubes. This is part of our expertise and experience that provides a long-term solution to your problem.

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