What makes solar tube lighting widely popular? And more importantly, are there drawbacks to solar tube lighting?
Solar tube lighting is one of the most popular solutions to achieve a naturally lit living environment. It provides various benefits, including a reduction in electricity bills and a healthy dose of sunlight.
But before we get started on the benefits and drawbacks of solar tube lighting, we should get on the same page with what we can classify as solar tube lighting. There are also solar tube pros and cons that we’re going to cover in this article.
What is Solar Tube Lighting?
Solar tube lighting, also known as sun tube, sun tunnel, tubular skylight, and light tube, are tubes made of sheet-metal with a polished interior.
Most manufacturers seal off the outer end of solar tube lighting with a weather-proof plastic dome, with a porthole-style diffuser on the inner end to deliver the light into your room. Their polished interior reflects sunlight back and forth, resulting in efficient light tunneling that can brighten a room without electricity.
A solar tube lighting diameter is anywhere between 10 to 14 inches, which requires much less space than a traditional window skylight, which can take up to 4.5 feet of roof space.
What are the Benefits of Solar Tube Lighting?
Solar tube for homes offers various benefits in comparison to electric lighting and window-style skylight. Let’s get over them real quick:
1. Reduces Electricity Bill
The most significant benefit of having solar tube lighting is that you don’t need electrical light during the day. Its efficiency in channeling sunlight into your room can produce an electric lamp substitute with the same brightness but without the electrical bill to pay.
2. Provides Natural Light
Solar tube lighting provides natural light from the sun into your house. You will get to enjoy all the benefits of sunlight. These benefits include increased vitamin D production in your skin and a better level of melatonin in your body, which can help you sleep better at night.
3. Requires Smaller Roof Space
Compared to a window-style skylight, solar tube lighting requires much smaller space. Its reflective tubular interior makes it possible to transfer sunlight into your house with much better efficiency.
4. Quick and Practical Installation
In an experienced worker’s hands, a solar tube installation can take as short as 2 hours. This quick installation time eliminates the possibility of a prolonged installation period and removes the need for a major reconstruction of your roof.
5. Low Installation Cost
The quick installation process of solar tube lighting allows you to minimize the labor cost you need to pay to the workers. There is also a very minimal need to purchase additional materials; at most, you only need to pay for roof sealant and ceiling sealant to prevent a leak from the solar tube lighting after installation.
What are the Drawbacks of Solar Tube Lighting?
Other than the benefits that it offers, there are also drawbacks of solar tube lighting. Let’s talk about some of them.
1. Entirely Dependent on the Weather
One of the most obvious drawbacks of solar tube lighting is its dependency on the sun, and therefore weather. Sure, if the weather is nice and bright, you’ll get maximum efficiency from your solar tube lighting. But when it’s cloudy and raining, there is not much you can do.
2. Lack of Lighting Control
Another one of the drawbacks of solar tube lighting is the absence of any control for it. There is no switch to turn it off or control the brightness of the light. The best alternative for this lack of control is installing a dimming kit, which will cost you some extra amount to install.
3. Requires Direct Roof Access
The next one from the drawbacks of solar tube lighting is that you can only install it in a room with direct access to the roof. If you had a two-story house, you could only install it on the second floor.
4. Lack of Sky View
Unlike a traditional window skylight, you don’t get to see the night sky from your solar tube lighting. The absence of sky view is one of the drawbacks of solar tube lighting that convinces homeowners to use a window skylight instead.
5. Risks of Roof Leaks
Since its installation requires a direct modification on your roof, a leakage might happen due to solar tube lighting installation. The risk of roof leaks is currently one of the drawbacks that make homeowners think twice before installing solar tube lighting.
Should You Get Solar Tube Lighting for Your Home?
With all the solar tubes pros and cons mentioned above, the decision should be yours to make. To summarize, solar tube lighting is the best option if you want to create a naturally-lit living environment. You should be ready to deal with possible roof leaks and the lack of light control in rooms with solar tube lighting,
With that being said, you should consider other alternatives to solar tube lighting in rooms that you want to be dark, such as an entertainment room, home theater, and bedroom.
It all boils down to two questions: Do you want natural lighting in your house? And can you deal with the possible drawbacks of solar tube lighting?