Solar Tubes – what are they anyway?

Solar Tubes – what are they anyway?

36794_Gang3.tifSolar tubes, also known as tubular skylights, sun tunnels and sun or light tubes, are a hot product in solar lighting. They capture sunlight on the roof of your home, office, or other building through a small dome and reflect the light down a tube which runs through the attic. They can direct the light into rooms that are not directly under the roof opening. The light comes through a diffuser on the ceiling, lighting the room with all-natural sunlight.

In comparison, a skylight is essentially a sealed window installed on the roof. While the costs are comparable, skylights are generally a little less expensive than sky tubes, but the prices of base model sky tubes are competitive. However, in most homes with a space between the roof and ceiling, the installation costs of a skylight make sky tubes more inexpensive because you have to frame it, sheetrock it, insulate it and then paint the sheetrock.

One of the more popular reasons for installing solar tubes is cost and energy savings. Energy bills can be significantly reduced by simply using the natural power of the sun. However, note they can also be fitted with electric lights to provide light at night, and dimmers to reduce the amount of daytime light that is emitting.  On the ceiling, the solar tube resembles a recessed light fixture and can offer an aesthetic appeal too.

What is even more important than the selection of the product, is choosing the right installer. Only hire a licensed, bonded, experienced contractor. While the cost of the product may be inexpensive, damage to your roof and/or attic can turn into a costly nightmare. The most common problem when installed incorrectly is leaking — and you don’t need to be reminded that the Pacific Northwest gets its fair share of rain.

If you are interested in more info about solar tubes and/or sky lights, give us a call 503-635-8706. We get it done right the first time.

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