In recent years, the solar tube lighting system has gained great popularity. The greater the demand for modern artificial lighting, the more effective these solar lighting tubes become. They are suitable for homes, companies, and other structures.
Moreover, it is a terrific alternative to skylights and is considerably less expensive. Solar light tubes have restrictions, just like any other product, although they provide rather bright, natural-looking white light.
In addition to not providing a view of the sky, they cannot be erected in every residence. After installing a solar tube light, an inside solar light should no longer be necessary.
Solar tube lighting, also called sun tunnels, tubular skylights, and the light tube, is a cost-effective solution to illuminate your home.
If solar light tubes are suited for your home, that is. Few homeowners know that these lighting tubes require a specific sort of roof with a specific pitch to be effective.
And that’s only a fraction of the issues you may encounter if you go for solar tube lights. So, to make things easier, here is a comprehensive guide answering the question, “What are the disadvantages of solar tube lighting?”
What Is Solar Tube Lighting?
Solar tubes are a superior, inventive, and practical alternative to conventional skylights. Solar tubes are also known as solar tube skylights, sun tunnels, light tubes, daylight tubes, tubular skylights, and so on.
To elaborate, they are finely polished metal sheets installed on top of the roof membrane and can capture the sun’s energy to be used inside.
Interestingly, they transfer heat without using electricity through a metallic tube. Thus, a solar tube essentially brightens the gloomy corners of a room by transmitting light from outside.
How Does Solar Tube Lighting Work?
Solar tubes with diameters ranging from 1 to 2 feet are optically designed to transmit the optimum amount of natural light to the intended location. In addition, the system features a weather-resistant acrylic dome that bounces natural light into your home.
The pipe length of a solar tube street lighting can be extended indefinitely for your convenience. It is additionally coated with a “continuous mirror” that optimizes the amount of solar light passing through the tube.
Note that the majority of brands provide hassle-free, flexible tubing, which is significantly easier to install than a rigid solar tube light. Some might offer solar tube lighting systems with small, wall mounted solar tubes and skylights instead of big domes.
While going for solar tube lighting, it is possible to discover units that provide UV protection. They are either installed at the rooftop light source or at the end of the metallic tube to prevent UV rays from entering your space.
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What Are The Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting?
A solar tube setup may be relatively more straightforward, but it is not without disadvantages. Among the most serious and frequent issues with solar tubes are:
- No Outside View: Since solar tubes are built primarily to let in light and not for sight, they typically do not provide a superior visual experience compared to conventional skylights.
- Restricted Design: They are adaptable and discreet, as they may be put anywhere within a residence. People typically seek efficient and visually beautiful solutions in appearance and feel, although they are rather effective at their jobs.
- Requires A Great Deal Of Space For Installation: Even though they are relatively small, installing solar tubes in a smaller home may require a significant amount of space. Therefore, it is best suited for homes with ample space rather than those with limited square footage.
- Durability: One of the most unfortunate aspects of solar tube lights is that they are extremely susceptible to damage at extreme temperatures and are consequently not very resilient. If the weather becomes exceptionally hot or cold, the acrylic dome covering the solar light may shatter.
- Not Appropriate For Every Home: To elaborate, the type of roof on the home influences the installation of a solar tube lighting system. For instance, the majority of solar tube lighting systems are designed to fit on common roof types, which have a slope of 15 to 60 degrees. Additionally, flat and steep roof types are not ideal for solar tube installations. Aside from that, the material utilized for the roof is another essential consideration. In addition, a solar tube can only be fitted correctly on asphalt or wood shingle roofs. Therefore, if you have a two-story home, solar tube lighting may not be as effective on the ground floor.
- Inadequate Ventilation: One of the most significant disadvantages of solar tubes is that nobody can install a ventilation system, making it difficult to release heat or even capture a breeze when needed.
- Noisy: While most solar tube domes are silent, some include additional aluminum reflectors for enhancing sunlight, which generates noises, especially on windy days.
- Obstructs Exterior View And Ventilation: Solar tube systems may only reflect natural light, unlike standard skylights or windows, which enable direct sunlight to enter a room. Therefore, no more staring at the night sky or basking in the winter sun! Another big disadvantage of solar tubes is the difficulty of establishing a ventilation system. As a result, you will be unable to release heat or enjoy a breeze in your room.
- May Cause Condensation Of Water: Aluminum is an efficient heat conductor, making it the material of choice for solar tube lighting systems. However, aluminum permits water to condense within the tubes and dome region in the winter or on humid days. This condensation process, also known as thermosiphon, can dramatically diminish the solar tube’s lifespan.
- Lacks Sturdiness: In addition to the initial point, the durability of solar light tubes can become a significant concern. More so since a portion of the tube stays exposed to the elements, leaving it susceptible to damage. Also, if any component is broken, the complete solar lighting system will likely need to be replaced. Therefore, residents in regions with unpredictable weather conditions may not gain much from installing solar tube lighting.
- Limited Control: In addition to limited design and customization options, adding solar tube lighting will remove your ability to regulate the system. Therefore, there will be no on/off button to control the solar light tubes as needed.
- Needs A Lot Of Space: Solar tubes require a great deal of installation, making them unsuitable for tiny homes. Solar tube before and after deciding on a lighting unit, it is essential to examine its proportions thoroughly.
Difference Between Solar Tube And Skylight
Comparing solar tubes to conventional skylights based on their energy efficiency reveals that solar tubes are unquestionably more effective. Solar tubes absorb sunlight and diffuse it around the home, illuminating every nook and cranny.
Although it is known that skylights perform better than standard windows, sunlight’s energy typically fades over time and is transformed into heat gain in hot areas.
Solar tubes are favored over conventional skylights when shielding against the sun’s UV rays. Although skylights are installed on top of a home, they typically filter and mitigate the effects of UV rays.
In contrast, solar tubes typically prevent UV rays from entering the home by totally blocking them. In this instance, solar tubes have the upper hand.
Water condensation is another significant concern linked with both solar tubes and skylights. In the matter of solar tubes and skylights, the most effective solution is to use a humidifier to avoid a watergate scandal in the skylight and to insulate the solar tube to avoid water condensation.
Let’s discuss the physical look of the two. While solar tubes are currently in form, skylights are typically more aesthetically pleasing, with better designs and an aura that makes the daytime and nighttime views of the sky from a skylight extraordinarily beautiful.
In conclusion, solar tubes are excellent at what they do, but if you want to add more character to your home, a skylight is a way to go.
How Much Do Solar Tube Lights Cost?
Solar tube illumination is much more cost-effective than skylights in the long run. Traditional skylights may cost between $1500 and $2500 per unit, whereas solar tubes cost roughly $750 per unit. Moreover, the price of skylights might increase based on design, size, and installation specifications.
If you are confident, you can look at $300 solar tube kits for do-it-yourself installation. Check with your roofing contractor about any warranties to prevent incurring astronomical repair costs if you make a mistake.
Keep in mind that solar tubes are particularly intended for installation on asphalt or wood shingle roofs. Adaptors may be required for a smooth installation in the event of various types of roofing material.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are solar tubes noisy?
Ans. Yes. While most solar tube domes are silent, those that use aluminum reflectors to increase sunlight might make a rattling sound when the wind blows.
2. Is a sun tunnel worth it?
Ans. Sun tunnels are an excellent method to bring natural light into a space, so if you are looking for a cost-effective lighting alternative, they are unquestionably worthwhile. However, we’d like to highlight that creating additional sun tunnels would be more effective if your home receives less sunlight.
Consider it a long-term investment because once installed, you will save all the money you would have spent on electricity and upkeep.
3. What is the better alternative to skylights?
Ans. Also known as light tubes, solar tubes, and tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), sun tubes resemble recessed ceiling light fixtures.
Although there are many factors to consider before choosing solar tube lights, they can be the ideal way to illuminate homes and offices with beauty and innovation. Also, who doesn’t appreciate large, brilliant windows that let in natural light? However, if you don’t have many windows, solar tube lighting can help you overcome your discomfort and make your home cozier.
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