Does your home have a dark space that could use a little natural light? A solar tube could be the answer. Solar tubes provide a source of natural light in areas where extra windows and skylights aren’t options. Solar tubes are typically less expensive to install than skylights, too. This makes them a popular alternative for homeowners who have limited home-improvement budgets.
What Is a Solar Tube?
Your contractor may be more familiar with other common terms for solar tubes such as sun tunnels, tubular skylights, or daylight tubes but they all describe the same feature – a type of metallic tunnel that connects your space with your roof’s exterior. Usually around 10 to 14 inches in diameter, the interior of each tube is reflective. It collects the light that passes through a plastic dome on your roof and reflects it through the tunnel to your interior fixture. Before the light enters your home, it passes through a diffuser which softens and disperses it. In this way, a solar tube can function more efficiently than a skylight.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Tubes?
The benefits of solar tubes are many. Not only are they a cost-effective way to brighten a dark room, but they’re energy efficient, too. They’re powered completely by the sun and contribute zero dollars to your utility bill. They provide warm, natural light that’s a good source of vitamin D. They’re easy and economical to install as well. The average cost of adding a skylight could be as much as $2,000. Comparatively, a solar tube typically runs between $500 and $1,000.
One of the biggest benefits of solar tubes is that they work where other options won’t. If you have an attic above you or limited exterior roof space, a skylight may not be possible. Solar tubes are small enough to fit in cramped spaces, and their tunnel-like designs pass easily through attic spaces.
How Much Light Will I Get from a Solar Tube?
Solar tubes come in several sizes. According to EnergySage, if you purchase the 10-inch tube, expect the same amount of light you would get from about three 100-watt light bulbs. If you opt for a 14-inch tube, you can expect enough illumination to brighten a space approximately 300 square feet in size.
There are some limitations to solar tubes, however. They won’t shine as brightly on overcast days or during winter. They also don’t provide the view of the sky that a skylight offers. Still, they’re free to operate, and once you have one professionally installed, it’s basically maintenance-free. There are even DIY kits you can buy if you feel confident enough to install a solar tube yourself.
If you’re searching for an affordable way to bring more natural light into your living space, consider investing in these tubular skylights. Not only are they affordable, but they’re eco-friendly and suitable for most spaces, even the smallest and darkest corners of your home.