There are so many lighting options to consider when 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 lighting sources while your regular light bulbs emit artificial light.
Interestingly, it can also serve as a lighting source for indoor plants. Solar tube lighting is quite popular amongst property owners; they do as an accessible 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.
Table of Contents
- What Is Solar Tube Lighting?
- Benefits of Solar Tube Lighting
- The Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting
What Is Solar Tube Lighting?
Solar tube lighting is special tubes engineered to channel sunlight to your home’s interiors from your roof. 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 passed down the metal tube before being reflected on the diffusing lens in the ceiling. The light rays shining into your home are 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.
1. 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 few hours. However, you can always request 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.
2. 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, the dome’s small and flat nature negates any buildup of debris and water. You won’t have to worry about any water leaking from your roof into your house’s ceiling.
3. 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 eliminates the need for electric light bulbs on sunny and moderately cloudy days. Hence, you can save money on artificial lighting in the day; even models come with an electric light integrated into their 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 producing sleep hormones in the human body.
You can reduce your home’s carbon footprint 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 eliminate unfavorable heat gain by diffusing the captured light rays. The solar dome blocks the UV rays in the sunlight before the light rays are passed down the tubes.
UV rays can be pretty 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
Admittedly, you need to consider undesirable parts of solar tube lighting 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 pretty 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, you need to ensure 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 their 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 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 pretty expensive. Switching to solar light is a significant investment, and you would have to spend generously 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 with power functions and brightness settings in some advanced bulbs. 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 lens’s light energy. 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 pretty high, you can gain a lot from having solar tube lighting.
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