Does the home get sunlight?

If you’re planning to live on Salt Spring year-round, one of the most important things to consider when buying a property is SUNLIGHT. Does the neighbour’s trees or a mountain block the sun during the winter months?  According to Salt Spring real estate mythology, “If they buy in August, they will list in November and sell in December.”  Unfortunately, this myth is sad but true.  The long dark nights of November can make a newcomer mad, so don’t fall into this trap.

All homes on Salt Spring are priced according to size, location, waterfront, water access, and square footage.  But, beyond all other criteria, SUNLIGHT is of the utmost importance.  Whether you purchase a stunning waterfront McMansion or a little starter home, sunlight and/or the lack of it can make any home either livable or uninhabitable part of the year.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)  is a real problem on Salt Spring.  To counter SAD it is imperative that the home you buy is basking in year-round sunlight.

Sun Path Chart
Sun Path Chart

Between May and July, when the sun is higher than 60 degrees on the horizon, almost all Salt Spring homes are sunny.  But, in December, when the sun is not over 20 degrees, it might be a different story.  I’m always amazed at homes that are built on the south lot line of a property.  Homes should be built on the north end of the lot, leaving the trees on the south end of the lot under the control of the homeowner.  This seems so logical, but unfortunately, many homes were not built with this basic logic in mind.  Salt Spring is blessed and/or cursed with trees.  Trees located to the north of a house can provide a nice windbreak and make a home feel warm and cozy.  However, if trees are south of the house, the home can resemble a dark cave with sunlight for just a few months of the year.  If those same trees are on the neighbor’s property, there is little you can do to increase the sunlight in the home.

Part of the problem on Salt Spring is homes are generally built to take advantage of the views, not the sun.  But, armed with this Sun Chart (or phone app) and a compass, you can find out if any home will have year-round sun.  Simply figure out where south is and hold up the Sun Chart.  If the trees, mountains, hills, buildings, etc. are below the 20-degree mark, the home will get year-round sun.

Sunny homes are warmer, have a better feel, and are happier homes.  The sun gives us life.  When one is living close to the 49th parallel on the west coast, where clouds can block the sun, it is imperative to have the maximum amount of light, especially during the shortest days of the winter.  A simple Sun Chart or Sun Chart app can make the difference between enjoying Salt Spring year-round or listing your home for sale in November.

Download Sun Path Chart pdf here. Sun path chart pdf

“Sun Path Chart” is reprinted from BC Hydro book Solar Systems in BC as per their reproduction agreement.

There are tons of good apps for Apple and or Android that can track the sun, if you are looking at homes on Salt Spring or anywhere else it’s worthwhile getting these apps. An example is “Sun Position and Path” on google play.

Don’t become a mushroom, get a home that gets sun.


Scott & June Simmons
The Salt Spring Team

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