What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting?

There are so many lighting options to consider when it comes to illuminating your interior. The available options range from your traditional light bulbs to skylights and solar tube lighting. The significant difference between them is that the latter act as natural sources of lighting while your regular light bulbs emit artificial light.

Quite interestingly, it can also serve as a lighting source for indoor plants. Solar tube lighting is quite popular amongst property owners; they serve as an easy mode of streaming soft, natural light to brighten all the dark areas of your house.

Artificial lighting tends to consume more energy when functional, which ultimately results in having to pay pricey electric bills at times. The installation of this natural lighting solution has its advantages and drawbacks; you can explore everything about tube lighting below.

What Is Solar Tube Lighting?

Solar tube lighting is special tubes engineered to channel sunlight from your roof to your home's interiors. It's a pipe made from polished metal sheets, ranging from 10 to 22 in diameter, connected to an acrylic or polycarbonate dome installed on the roof.

The dome traps sun rays, which is passed down the metal tube before being reflected on the diffusing lens in the ceiling. The light rays being shone into your home is filtered and amplified but less intense than direct sunlight.

The length of the pipe can be as long as they are needed to be; these light tubes are very efficient at letting in light and can be used in any preferred location in your home. Solar tube lighting can be installed in hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and closets. Lower floor levels can also benefit from their use, as long as you have a closet or mechanical chase to pass the pipe through.

Benefits of Solar Tube Lighting

Simply put, solar tube lighting is designed as a cost-effective and reliable way of distributing natural light in your home. Here are the key benefits of switching to solar tube lighting.

  • Quick Installation

Installing this kind of lighting is relatively more straightforward than skylights; any moderately handy individual can install it. You can complete the whole process, using a kit, in a matter of a few hours. However, you can always request for expert assistance in complicated cases to make the process easier and faster.

The solar tubes are unobtrusive and seamlessly blend into your home's architecture and design. There are extra accessories sold to complement the usage of the lighting solution; this includes light kits, dimmer switches, and several others engineered to make it very convenient for you to use.

  • Low Maintenance

Solar tubes are weather-proof and can withstand any contact with any external elements such as rainfall, humidity, intense sunlight, snow, insects, or birds. The exterior part, the dome, is lined with a modified acrylic that grants the lighting system its durability.

Also, any buildup of debris and water is negated by the dome's small and flat nature. You won't have to worry about any water leaking from your roof into your house's ceiling.

  • Free Natural Lighting

A 10-inch solar tube can transmit the same quantity of light rays produced by three 100-Watt bulbs. This size can adequately illuminate a 200 sq ft room with clear visibility for any activity you wish to carry out.

Solar tube lighting cancels out the need for electric light bulbs on sunny and moderately cloudy days. Hence, you can save money being spent on artificial lighting in the day; there are even models that come with an electric light integrated into its design.

Natural lighting is essential for proper body functioning as it regulates and synchronizes our hormone cycles and circadian rhythms. We require daily exposure to sunlight because it helps our metabolism, mood, sleep, health, and energy. It's been proven as a stimulant for the production of sleep hormones in the human body.

  • Environmental-Friendly

You can reduce the carbon footprint of your home through the use of solar tube lighting. Rest assured that you aren't being exposed to dangerous emissions since only clean and renewable energy is produced by the tubes.

They are more energy-efficient and eliminates unfavorable heat gain by diffusing the captured light rays. The solar dome blocks the UV rays contained in the sunlight before the light rays are passed down the tubes.

UV rays can be quite harmful to your health since they cause premature aging, sunburns, skin cancers, etc. This kind of radiation can also fade your artworks, furniture, pictures, and fabric stored in your home.

The Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting

The Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting

Admittedly, there are undesirable parts of solar tube lighting you need to consider before purchasing a home unit. Even though there are several advantages, you still need to know about these drawbacks to secure the ideal solution for your lighting needs.

1. Not Compatible with All Homes

It can be quite hard to install tube lighting in some homes due to the ample space required. This requirement can be challenging for a home with little to no space; in such cases, the homeowner might be limited to small diameter tubes.

The larger the diameter, the more solar energy you can capture to illuminate your home. If you wish to have high power outputs, then you need to ensure you have ample space for installation.

Another integral factor that determines whether you can use tube lighting is the nature of your roofing.

They can only be installed on traditional pitched roofs, flat and A-frame roofs are incompatible with this lighting solution.

2. Single Energy Source

A significant disadvantage of solar tubes is its sole dependence on sunlight; they can only function appropriately under easy access to sufficient sunlight. Unpredictable cases of poor weather can pose a problem, unless if you have enough energy stored somewhere or alternative lighting systems installed in your home.

I recommend that you get a hybrid system that allows indoor charging for later use at night or on days with adverse weather conditions.

3. High Initial Cost

Even though tube lighting incurs low maintenance costs, installing the lighting system can be quite expensive. Switching to solar light is a significant investment, and you would have to spend well to attain the standard levels of power generated by traditional electricity.

You might even have to pay for professional help since it's typically a big project that requires above-average handy skills.

4. No Control over the Lighting

Solar tube lighting doesn't offer any control over its functionality; this is very different from conventional light bulbs that have power functions and, in some advanced bulbs, brightness settings. The only way you can reduce the intensity of the lighting is through the use of a window film or matching diffuser. You can use either of these to lessen the light energy being emitted by the lens. Apart from this, you don't have much control in adjusting the functionality of the solar tubes.


It's best to well-informed before deciding on the lighting system that satisfies all your light needs. Now that you are familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of solar tube lighting, I trust you will secure the proper lighting for your home. Even though the cost of installing can be quite high, you can gain a lot from having solar tube lighting.

If you would like to share your thoughts, please do so in the comment section below.

1 thought on “What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting?”

  1. Thanks for usefdul article!
    Installing a solar tube in my house is a great step to reduce my electricity bills. Additionally, my house will be well-illuminated during the day, hence giving it a stunning and comfortable glare.


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