Statistics show that most homes in America and other nations are now installing solar tube lights in their homes and business places because of the ambiance this artificial lighting gives.
Many skeptics believe that these solar tube lights are too expensive and get the house too hot. These points are not factual and should not keep anyone from enjoying this unit in their homes.
The fact is that these units can be noisy, takes a lot of space, and might not suit all homes. It, however, has a lot of benefits that far outweigh these drawbacks.
What is Solar Tube Lighting?
Solar tube lighting, otherwise known as light tubes, tubular skylights, or sun tunnels, is an innovative and effective way of conveying the lightning from the outside to illuminate the inside of a house that does not get this sunlight direct through the windows or doors.
This unit is engineered by placing highly polished metal tubes which are reflective and can amplify the light from the sun as sun rays pass through them on the roof membrane and the ceiling of your house, through which the sunlight from outside gets into your house with the help of a protruding tube which does not require electricity.
This alternative to skylights and electric lighting is becoming very popular because it is very efficient and is not affected by weather because it has a translucent waterproof dome. They also come in varied sizes, shapes, and colors, and they do not put holes in your pocket.
How Does it Compare To a Skylight?
Both skylights and solar tube light have their selling points and drawbacks, and which one is better than the other is a matter of individual preference. However, they are both good solar energy collectors that will benefit you. Below is a comparison of these two light units.
1. Energy Efficiency
This is simply the amount of solar energy that each unit captures and can disperse to different house areas without losing this light energy.
Skylights are less efficient because even though they accumulate about 3 times the sunlight that an average window can give to a room, most of this energy gets lost as heat in warm weather.
However, this is not the case with solar lights, which disperses almost all the light energy it collects. Hence, solar tubes are more energy efficient.
2. UltraViolet Ray (UV Rays)
Solar tubes have the advantage over skylights regarding the number of ultraviolet rays that get into the house.
This is simply because solar tubes are protected with a weather-proof dome that is acrylic, which helps to keep the sun’s ultraviolet Ray from getting into the house.
Skylights, however, are just placed on the building’s rooftop and only filter and reduce these UV rays. Remember that this UV harms both the skin and the eyes and must be avoided.
3. Aesthetics And Appearance
Skylights look more appealing than solar tube lights because they provide an aura to the home stretch night that feels magical and tends to change the architectural perception of the house.
On the other hand, solar tubes only conduct sunlight inside a building without really changing how you feel about the house.
Benefits of Solar Tube Lighting
Some advantages installing a solar tube light offers include:
1. It Gives Natural Light
A solar tube light provides natural daylight whenever you want it. Because it is natural light, it helps boost physical and mental well-being because of the vitamin D that the sunlight gives.
Other benefits of this vitamin D include reducing blood pressure and improving concentration and performance levels.
2. It Is Easy To Be Installed
It is very easy to install a solar tube light, and it will take an experienced technician about 3 hours to install. These solar tubes can easily fit into most home setting because it is not obtrusive.
3. Low Cost Of Maintenance Of Solar Tube
Maintaining solar tubes is so easy. After all, it does not get easily damaged by the rough climatic conditions because it has a protective acrylic dome.
This dome also keeps the unit free from insects, leakages, etc. All these means that your solar tubes will not get easily damaged, and so the question of maintenance costs rarely arises.
4. It Is Environmentally Friendly
Solar tubes do not generate harmful emissions that are harmful to the environment. This is because the energy source is the sun which is renewable energy and very clean.
This means that everyone in your community can install solar tube lights in their homes without negatively affecting the ecosystem.
5. Low Cost Of Installation
While many people believe that installing a solar tube will be very expensive, their cost is fair compared to the benefits they yield. The beauty of this lighting unit is that you can buy solar tubes for as little as $500 or less and even install them yourself.
6. Leakages Not An Issue
Because of the protective dome of the solar tubes, you do not have to worry about the tube leaking water after rainfall or snow; this is one advantage that solar tubes have over skylights.
7. The Designs Are Flexible
Solar tubes would help add more light to your home without altering the architecture of your house. Also, suppose you’re looking for a way to illuminate smaller areas in your home like the hallways, closets, bathroom, pantry, etc. In that case, a tubular skylight is an answer because it would reduce your energy use and utility costs.
8. Reduction In Electricity Bill
Solar tube light reduces the amount you pay for electricity because it supplies you light at no cost. For instance, you get as much light from a 10 inches long solar tube as 3 100watt bulbs will give you. This amount of light can lighten a minimum of 5 rooms. Is this solar tube light a money saver or what.
What Are The Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting
Even though solar tube lights have wonderful benefits that endear them to people’s hearts, you must be aware of a few snags about them to be ready for them. These drawbacks include:
1. Few Designs Of Solar Tube Lights Are Available
Variety is the spice of life, but the solar tube does not give us so much variety regarding design. Secondly, it is mostly a practical device that gives natural light to your space without adding so much aesthetics. They will also keep you from seeing what is happening outdoors.
2. It Is Not For Every Home
Solar tube light is not suitable for all kinds of roofs; it is made with conventional roofs. These are roofs with a slope between 15 to 60 degrees; any roof that falls outside this range means installing a solar tube will be very difficult because these roofs might either be steep or too flat for the unit to be installed successfully.
You might need to also get an adapter for the installation of the solar tube if the material your roof is made of does not go well with the unit; secondly, if you are fixing these solar tubes on the ground floor of a taller building, you will need to get longer tubes, the implication is that you will have less light because the longer the solar tubes, the less the amount of light it provides.
3. Single Source Of Energy
If solar tubes are the only energy source for powering the bulbs in your house, you will have a problem because it will be impossible to get direct sunlight to power the solar tubes in bad weather conditions. This calls for an alternative light source available on the ground for such times.
4. Solar Tube Uses Lots Of Space During Installation
You require a lot of space to install a solar tube, so it will present a challenge if you have a small house.
You require more space if you want to get more sunlight to be channeled into your house because the more space you have, the more sunlight that the solar tubes can get into your house.
5. Lack Of Ventilation Of Solar Tube
You should be aware that you cannot install a ventilation system if you install solar tubes in your house. This is because you seek to conserve as much heat and energy from the sun as possible, so you cannot afford to let any escape from a ventilation system.
Most domes of solar tubes come with additional reflectors that help accumulate more sunlight; these reflectors sometimes, on windy days, make a lot of creaking noise that can be disconcerting. It is important you know this so that you don’t worry when you hear the sound.
7. Cost Of Installing A Solar Tube
It will cost you from $500 to $1000 to install a solar tube in your home, depending on the product you are buying, the area of coverage, the add-ons and capabilities of the solar tube, and other costs like the delivery cost and tax.
8. The Product
There are different brands of a solar tube that comes with their prices; some of the most popular brands and their prices include:
1. The 13 inches model known as the Natural Light Tubular Skylight made by Asesorialeds goes for only $115.
2. Solar Bright product known as The Budget Tubular series goes for $209.
3. VELUX 10″ Double Strength Acrylic Rigid Low-Profile Sun Tunnel Tubular Skylight goes for $219.70.
These are just the cost of the solar tube without the cost of installation.
9. Area Of Coverage
The area the solar tube will be illuminating depends on the diameter of the solar tube. Some units are 6 inches in diameter, and they can cover an area of approximately 90 feet. An example is the Aura tubular skylight, which costs about $130.
If you want to light up an area that is about 150 to 200 feet, then you should go for a solar tube test that is 10 inches in diameter; a good example is the VELUX Sun Tunnel 10″ Double strength acrylic rigid low-profile tubular skylight which goes for $219.70
Other solar tubes come in 14 and 18 inches, and they go as high as $660. Hence, the more the solar tube coverage area, the more you’re over cost.
10. Amount Of Light You Need
The diffuser is a component of a solar tube that regulates the amount of light spread to the room. There are different types of diffusers with their different prices.
For instance, the prismatic diffuser is meant for maximum light and goes for as high as $100(cheaper types go for even less than $30).
Other diffusers are cheaper, like The White diffuser, which has a smooth surface that gives a crisp touch of lighting.
11. Design And Add Ons
Solar tubes have been improved to meet many customers’ choices, and the more add-ons these solar units have, the more they will cost.
For example, some units have dimmers that can be remote-controlled to change the light intensity. Others have Light Kits that come with a photovoltaic bulb that you can switch on when cloudy weather.
12. Solar Tubes Installation Costs
It will cost about $150 to $250 to install your solar tubes; this cost depends on the setting of your house, the size, and the coverage area of the unit.
Frequently Asked Question
Are Solar Tubes a Good Idea?
A solar tube is a good idea because it brings the sun’s rays into your home even if you don’t have a window. The fact that it is not disruptive like skylights which require a complex installation procedure makes it good for most homes.
Do Solar Tubes Cause Roof Leaks?
No, solar tubes do not leak if they are fixed properly, and if you experience any leak, which is very rare, you should troubleshoot for the cause, as it will help you know how to fix the leak.
How Does Solar Tube Lighting Work
Solar tubes are made to channel sunlight into the house; they consist of a positive or collector tube and a negative or emitter tube. The collector tube collects the sunlight while the emitter gives off the light to the
Do Solar Tubes Add Heat?
No, solar tubes do not add heat to the house; they only collect and store heat during the day, it only transmits the collected light and not the sun’s heat. This energy efficiency
How Long Do Solar Tubes Last?
Solar tubes can last for a long time; in some cases, they can last for up to 25 years if they are well fixed and maintained, but on average, solar tubes can give the best of themselves in 12 years.
Statistics show that more than 85 million solar tubes will be sold in 2021; this is a pointer to the fact that solar tubes are becoming part of the necessity of many homes. This is to be expected because it helps reduce the cost of electricity.
Granted that there are a few drawbacks to using a solar tube like the cost implications, the fact that it is not suitable for every home, and the like.
Yet solar tube is a welcome technology that every home and business should have because the pros far outweigh these drawbacks.
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