What Are Solar Tube Lights?
Solar tube lights, sometimes referred to as sun tunnels, are an alternative to skylights and offer an option for increasing the natural light in your home. They are made of specially designed domes and tubes that channel sunlight from your roof into the interior of your home or office. Solar tube lights are a great way to lighten up a dark entryway or brighten up your home without using harsh fluorescent or LED lights.
Other terms for solar tube lights include:
- Sun tube
- Light tube
- Tubular skylight
How Solar Tube Lights Work
A metal tube is installed in your roof, capped by a clear covering or dome. As sunlight enters the tube, it is channeled down into your home. The metal tube acts as a continuous mirror, bouncing the light down to where you need it. Though most solar tube lights do not have any artificial light source, some models incorporate electric lighting for when the sun isn't shining.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of solar tube lights.
Reasons to Install Solar Tube Lights
One of the greatest benefits of solar tube lights is that while they increase the amount of natural light in your home, they do so without the added heat you get from skylights or windows. This is particularly beneficial in climates like ours. At the height of summer, solar tube lights allow us to enjoy the warm, natural light of the sun without causing our air conditioning bills to skyrocket.
Another advantage to solar tube lights is that they are significantly more affordable than a skylight. Where skylight installation can cost thousands of dollars, solar tube lights can generally be installed for under $1000. The affordability of solar tube lights makes them an incredibly popular option.
Similarly, solar tube lights do not cost you anything beyond the installation fee. At a time when energy costs are rising, and more and more people are looking to reduce their energy consumption, solar tube lights are a perfect fit. Once they are installed, they become a permanent light source that won't drain your wallet.
Finally, because solar tube lights are relatively small, they are significantly less intrusive and don't have the same impact on your roof's structure as skylights do. Relatedly, they do not require nearly as much framing and drywall work. Consequently, they are quick and easy to install. This also makes them ideal for small or tight spaces that a skylight wouldn't fit.
Unless you purchase a more advanced model with electric lighting built into it, solar tube lights only work when there is sunlight. This means that they will not light your home at night or on very dark days. Fortunately, in Arizona, we enjoy more than our fair share of sunny days. Additionally, solar tube lights do not allow for a view of the sky.
Another drawback is that solar tube lights do not provide any ventilation benefits to your home. Generally speaking, their sole function is to bring sunlight into your home. If you are looking for something that not only does this but also allows for views and ventilation, you may be better off installing a skylight.
Are Solar Tube Lights Right for My Home?
If you are considering installing solar tube lights, you should speak with a professional roofer, like ours at Lyons Roofing. Roofing systems are surprisingly complicated, and any time you are doing work or installing something in your roof, you should work with a professional. A roofer will be able to look over your roofing system, discuss your goals and budget with you, and help you determine if solar roof tubes are a good fit. They will also help you select the appropriate size, model, and placement for your needs. Our roofers have extensive experience installing solar tube lights, and we can help you determine if this is a good option for you.