solar tube lighting

What Are The Drawbacks And Advantages Of Solar Tube Lighting? Worth It?

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Solar tube lighting systems have emerged as the most cutting-edge and functional kind of artificial lighting in recent years. 

These solar lighting tubes become more helpful as there is a greater need for modern artificial lighting. Homes, businesses, and other structures can all benefit from them. It is also a much more affordable and great alternative to skylights.

It’s crucial to be aware of its drawbacks if you’re thinking about installing solar tube lighting in your home, such as the fact that this type of lighting is not appropriate for all types of structures and only functions during sunny conditions. Continue reading, and we’ll go over all its advantages and disadvantages of it.

What Is Solar Tube Lighting?

Solar tube lighting is a green and eco-friendly substitute for incandescent light bulbs that are most frequently used to illuminate hallways, stairwells, and dark areas of homes.

A solar tube, also known as a tubular skylight, a light tube, a sun tunnel, or a daylight pipe, is essentially a slender tube that extends from your roof to the ceiling and brings sunlight into your home. In order to keep out leaves, rain, and other elements, the tubes are lined with a reflective material to increase the intensity of the sunlight.

The diameter of the tubes ranges from 10 to 22 inches, and the length is determined by the distance between the ceiling and the roof. A mechanical chase (a large opening in the attic plane), one of the more sophisticated systems, can deliver light to lower levels of a building, and battery storage can provide light at night or on overcast days.

Due to its ease of installation, solar tube lighting is frequently used as a low-cost substitute for natural skylights. You may even be able to install solar tube lighting yourself if you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer.

How Does Solar Tube Lighting Operate?

Now that we have a better understanding of how solar tubes work, let’s move on. Consequently, solar tubes typically have two tubes: a collector tube or a positive tube consisting of the collected light emitted by the solar tube into the house, and an emitter tube or a negative tube consisting of the light produced by converting the solar radiation into light. Furthermore, the manufacture of these lights ensures that the maximum amount of light from the sun can enter the home.

Advantages Of Solar Tube Lighting

You must have a general idea of the advantages and disadvantages of tubular skylights after reading about the distinction between solar tube lights and solar skylights. The advantages and disadvantages of solar tube lights will be covered in the section after, along with the reasons why they are thought to be the better choice and potential effects on our way of life. Solar tube lighting has the following benefits:

1. Easy Installation

How should a solar tube be installed? Before we get into that, it’s important to note that one of the reasons solar tubes are less expensive than skylights is that installation is much simpler and doesn’t cost a ton of money. Additionally, installing solar tubes does not require changing the drywall. 

2. Low Maintenance

As a result of their durability and low maintenance costs, they are not easily damaged. They are protected by a weather-resistant acrylic dome, so maintaining them doesn’t involve any additional work.

3. Small Size

Skylights take up more space than solar tubes, which are much smaller. Solar tubes emit an incredible amount of light despite their small size, easily replacing traditional windows as the room’s primary source of natural light. Additionally, they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and custom color options. 

4. Natural Light

Intriguingly, solar tubes let natural light into your home, giving the impression that it is the brightest place nearby. Considering how much light they let in, they can easily replace your regular windows, negating the need to add more skylights to the existing natural light source.

It goes without saying that natural light is beneficial for your health and helps to keep the house clean in a variety of ways. Furthermore, it contains naturally occurring Vitamin D, which improves sleep quality and lowers health problems. Wait until you learn that solar tubes are also incredibly effective at reducing power and electricity use. They, therefore, provide numerous advantages for the house and you as well as being incredibly convenient. It’s a win-win circumstance!

5. Cost-effective

Solar tubes are preferred over conventional skylights because they are significantly more affordable, as we already know. Typically, their price ranges from $500 to $1000. 

6. No Leakage

Due to their dome-shaped structure, which prevents water or debris residue on top of it, solar tubes, unlike skylights, are also leakage-free.  

7. Environmental Friendly

Solar tubes are an environmentally friendly choice because they don’t release harmful gases into the environment because they operate on solar energy or renewable energy. 

8. Flexible Design

They can increase the amount of natural light they let in thanks to their adaptable designs without having to alter the room’s overall layout. As a result, they are versatile and can be used in a variety of locations, including the living room, hallway, bedrooms, etc., to enhance the quality of light.

Drawbacks Of Solar Lighting Tube

Solar tube lighting for your home has drawbacks, just like other systems. Let’s start by avoiding the potential pitfalls. Here are a few of the most obvious problems with solar tube lighting systems:

Not Suitable For Every Home

The type of roof on your home may prevent the installation of solar tubes from being ideal. For conventional roofs with a slope between 15 and 60 degrees, the majority of solar tubes are created and suitable. Installation of the solar tube may be difficult if your roof has a steep pitch or is flat.

Another issue that might arise during installation is that the roof material on your building might require an adapter. Since solar tube lighting systems can only be installed on the roof, the system won’t function well in areas on the ground floor of a two-story building, necessitating longer tubes to channel the sunlight.

Less light is produced as the tubes grow longer. Overall, it renders the solar tube lighting system useless in some areas of your home.

Lack Of Ventilation Of Solar Tube

Solar tubes cannot be installed with a ventilation system, making it impossible for heat to be released or for a light breeze to pass through them. 

Thermosiphon

Alu is the most common material for light pipes. Heat is well-conducted by aluminum. But in winter, you might discover that your pipes are leaking heat from inside your home, lowering the overall R-value. 

Noisy

In order to increase the amount of sunlight, some solar tube domes have extra aluminum reflectors. On windy days, these reflectors might make a lot of noise.

Limited Design Styles Of Solar Tube

There aren’t many design options for solar tube lighting systems. In addition to only providing natural light, solar tubes are too small and won’t significantly improve the aesthetics of your space. You can’t see what’s happening outside with solar tubes. View the solar tubes below from three different manufacturers. Do you notice any resemblances?

Only One Source Of Energy

Solar-powered systems present a challenge because sunlight is their sole energy source. As a result, getting direct sunlight won’t be possible on days with bad weather, which limits its functionality. On days like this, you would have to either find a different source of light or remain in the dark. 

Solar Tube Uses Lots Of Space During Installation

You would need a lot of space to install solar tube lights in your house. Since every inch counts in a small house, this might cause you a minor headache during installation. So, if you want a significant amount of solar energy to enter your home, you’ll need a larger and more open space.

Difference Between Solar Tube And Skylight

Now, if we start to contrast solar tubes with conventional skylights based on their respective levels of energy efficiency, the former is unquestionably superior. The light inside the house is dispersed by solar tubes, which only serve to capture sunlight. Although skylights have a reputation for performing better than standard windows, the energy of the sun typically fades over time and is converted into heat gain in hotter climates. 

Solar tubes are preferred over traditional skylights when it comes to blocking the sun’s harmful UV rays. Despite the fact that skylights are also installed on the roof of the home, they typically only serve to filter and lessen the impact of UV rays. In contrast, solar tubes typically completely block UV rays to stop them from penetrating the house. Solar tubes thus possess the advantage in this scenario.

Condensation of water is a significant issue that both the solar tubes and the skylights share. The best way to handle it in the case of skylights and solar tubes is to use a humidifier in the home to prevent condensation in the latter and cover the solar tube with suitable insulation to protect it from water condensation. 

Let’s talk about the two’s outward appearances. While skylights are typically more aesthetically pleasing and have better designs than solar tubes, solar tubes are still considered to be fairly contemporary in terms of their designs. Skylights also have an aura that makes both the daytime and nighttime views of the sky from them exceptionally beautiful. In conclusion, solar tubes are excellent at what they do, but a skylight is undoubtedly the way to go if you want to give your home a little more personality. 

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