Many people are looking towards energy-efficient light sources for their homes to cut down electricity bills. One popular way to take advantage of direct sunlight is to install solar tube lights. However, these aren’t the right choice for every style of building.
This solar-powered system has many advantages, but there are drawbacks to solar tube light sources. Many people have asked, “what are the drawbacks to solar tube lighting?” Solar light tubes do have their fair share of pros and cons.
On this page, we’re going to discuss the drawbacks to solar tube lighting systems so you will know before installing tubular skylights in your home.
What is solar tube lighting?
Solar tubes are used to allow natural light into your home during the day. This energy-efficient sun tunnel can brighten up your room during the day without having to turn on a light fixture. As a result, solar tubes are often nicknamed sun pipes or daylight pipes.
What are the drawbacks to solar tube lighting for your home?
If cutting back on your electricity bill is one of your current goals, you may be interested in solar energy sources. Many light sources help with energy efficiency. However, installing solar tube lighting isn’t the right choice for every style of home.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why solar tube lighting may not be the right choice for your home:
They don’t work with every roof type.
If you want to install solar tubes, you will need to examine your roof first. Solar tube lighting will present many difficulties if you try to install these sun tunnels in a flat or pitched roof. In addition, the design of solar tube domes makes them difficult to install on nontraditional roofs.
This is mainly because solar tube lighting is designed to fit perfectly along sloped roofs. Specifically, roofs that are sloped at an angle between 15 and 60 degrees. So while solar energy is a great way to reduce electric lighting, it’s not right for every roof type.
Not efficient for multiple story homes
There have been many challenges that present themselves when people try to install solar tube systems, especially because an adapter is required for conventional roofs. However, the biggest challenge that presents itself is providing an efficient lighting system with solar tube lighting for all stories of a building.
That soft but bright glow that solar tube lighting provides on the top floor won’t be the same on the main level. You will need a longer solar tube to get natural lighting on the main level of your home, and it won’t be nearly as bright. This means that solar tube lighting is really only efficient for certain areas of your home.
While you will likely have no trouble using sun tubes to provide natural daylight to a bigger and spacious area, there will be less light in smaller areas like laundry rooms. This is because longer light pipes don’t allow as much sunlight to get through.
A small solar panel means the limited view from natural light
One of the main reasons people prefer natural lighting over artificial lighting is because it provides a great view of the outdoors. This makes it easier for them to see what the weather is like and allow natural UV rays to warm up the room. However, solar tube lighting doesn’t allow much of a view.
Solar tubes may provide free lighting, but that’s about the extent of it. Compared to other natural light systems, solar tube lighting doesn’t provide any upgrades to the home aesthetically.
If any trees or taller buildings are surrounding your property, they may weaken the light source.
Solar tube lights are not a source of ventilation
On a nice day, one of the perks of a renewable light source is creating a natural ventilation system. If there is a gentle breeze outside, you will not be able to let it in with solar tubing. While these tubes channel sunlight well, you will be unable to install a source of ventilation along with them.
This means that you will need to find another alternative when you want to let some fresh air inside. Unfortunately, there is no option to let out heat or fresh air using solar tube lights.
Solar tubes are way too loud.
Solar-powered systems like solar tubes are made with reflective material. This helps provide solar light throughout the day. The problem with this material is that it can be really noisy when it’s windy or raining.
The sound of the rain hitting the solar tubes has been very aggravating for some homeowners. This is especially true when there is a storm in the middle of the night. If you are looking for a quiet energy source, tubular skylights are not the right choice.
Only one energy source
Solar tube lighting isn’t the best renewable energy source because they are useless on gloomy days. If it’s raining or cloudy, then most solar tubes will not provide any incoming light. This means people will have to flick on their light switch and use electricity.
While solar tube lighting may be more reliable in sunny areas, if you live in a location with a lot of rain or gloomy days, you should look into other sources for solar energy.
Solar tube lighting needs a lot of space to be efficient
When solar tube lighting systems are installed, it may not look like they take up much space. However, during the installation process, you’ll realize quickly that this is not the case. Solar light tubes need a lot of space while being installed. This will cause a problem in smaller spaces.
Solar tube lighting may not be the right choice for you if your rooms are smaller. To be efficient, solar tubes need to be placed in a spacious area.
Solar tube lights could lead to mould or mildew.
This problem may occur if you live in a humid area. Since there is no option for ventilation with solar tube lighting, water condensation could form around the solar tubes. If there isn’t an efficient airflow, this moisture could lead to mould or mildew.
If you live in a humid area, you should consider installing a solar light that allows ventilation. Light tubes could present problems later on from excess moisture.
Solar sun tubes don’t have extra features.
Solar tubes work by allowing natural sunlight into your home during the day. One big drawback to solar tubes is that there are no extra features for comfort or aesthetics. There are limited designs for solar tube lights, and they don’t really add anything extra to the room.
Other renewable lighting systems allow the homeowner to enjoy neat features like a daylight dimmer for when it’s too bright or even a window film to make things more comfortable. Unfortunately, these aren’t available with tubular skylights.
Is solar tube lighting worth it?
A solar tube lighting system has many pros and cons. However, many people believe that this renewable light source is well worth it because a better solar tube will be a cost-efficient and practical solution. In addition, the upfront cost of solar tube installation is very affordable compared to other methods.
Most homeowners will spend less than $1000 for a quality system, including the installation work. However, depending on your roof style and where you live, a solar tube lighting system may not be worth it.
Deciding on whether or not tube lighting is right for you, you need to consider a few things.
- Is your home located in an area that receives a lot of natural light?
- Will you be able to keep up with the maintenance of other renewable lighting systems? (Solar tubes need little to no maintenance. They are solid, so they likely won’t get damaged.)
- Do you have the time and skills for the installation of a more complicated lighting system?
Why do people choose solar tube lighting?
With so many disadvantages, you may be wondering why people would consider installing solar tube lighting. One of the main reasons why they are a popular choice is because they are environmentally friendly. Unlike other energy sources, they don’t give off any harmful emissions.
They are also very reliable. As mentioned above, they require very little maintenance. These tubes are solid and won’t leak. Even during the heaviest rain or snowstorms, homeowners won’t have to worry about their solar tubes leaking.
While there may not be many options for designs, they will work well with the way your room is designed. The good thing about installing solar tubes is that they are not invasive and won’t require homeowners to change the setup of their homes.
Final thoughts – What are the drawbacks to solar tube lighting?
Many homeowners are looking at ways to make their homes more environmentally friendly and cut back on the amount of energy they use. Any homeowner who is considering installing solar tubes lighting may want to reconsider. While these tubes may be energy efficient, they do present many problems.
Before purchasing any tubes, you should weigh out the pros and cons to ensure they are right for your home. Weather conditions, humidity, and natural light in your area play a huge role in whether or not this style of lighting is worth it. While a sun tunnel may provide free light, it may not be efficient enough for your home.