FAQ

What is a tubular skylight - Sun Tunnel skylight and Solar Tube?

All three are pretty much the same, the Sun tunnel, Solar Tubes and tubular skylights are a product that transfers natural sunlight into useable light that lightens up dark rooms. The technology used to accomplish this is a super reflective light shaft and precise engineered diffusers.

Why use a sun tunnel tubular skylight?
A sun tunnel solar tube efficiently provides pure natural light while effectively minimizing heat gain and heat loss since it is a sealed system. Tubular skylights eliminates dark rooms. There are many benefits of living in rooms illuminated with natural light. Get rid of those dark room blahs for good! Plants thrive in rooms lit with natural light as well.

How do I determine the right size sun tunnel tubular skylight to use for my room?
Bigger is not always better! Use the following guideline to assist you in determining the best unit for your particular installation. Remember, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will respond promptly. 10 Inch Unit- 150 sq. feet or less. Bathrooms, Hallways, Walk-in Closets, Pantries, Laundry Rooms. 13/14 Inch Unit- 150 -250 sq. feet. Kitchens, Living Rooms, Family Rooms, Foyers, Garages. 18 Inch Unit- 300 – 500 sq. feet. Rooms with vaulted ceilings, Family Rooms, Living Rooms, Great Rooms, Garages. 21 Inch Unit- 500 – 700 sq. feet Commercial Flat Roof Application only

Will the sun tunnel tubular skylight work on cloudy days?
Sun tunnel solar tube skylights reflective system transfers light down to the room with minimal light loss on cloudy days. The engineered diffuser and state of the art optic technology incorporated into the light pipe allows light coming from any direction to be transferred down the tube, allowing the best light output possible.

Is the dome material durable?
The sun tunnel tubular skylight dome is extremely durable. In fact, it passed the most stringent skylighttest in the country-the Florida hurricane impact test! The dome had to endure a direct hit from a 9 pound 2×4 traveling nearly 40mph and not leak one drop of water when subjected to 130mph winds and gushing rain water! The modified acrylic dome does not fade and weaken after years of exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Is placement on the roof important?
The best location for any solar device would be on the southwest facing side of the house. Remember to take into consideration chimneys, adjoining roof structures or trees-anything that can cast a shadow over the dome is going to effect the light output. There is so much light energy in sunlight and the Natural Light Tubular Skylight does work well on the north side of a house. Just keep in mind that the best light output is obtained by exposing the dome to direct sunlight. Therefore it performs better where it receives as much direct sunlight as possible.

How long can the tube be?
In general, the ideal length of tube is about 6 feet. However, lengths over 15 feet are routinely installed with very favorable results. We recommend increasing the unit to the next size for runs longer than 14 feet.

Are sun tunnel tubular skylights energy efficient? Do they allow heat in or out of my home?
Sun tunnel tubular skylights are extremely efficient; with virtually no heat gain or loss, they are also Energy Star rated and qualify for both state and federal tax credits.

Do sun tunnel tubular skylights leak?
Sun tunnel tubular skylights are seamless, therefore, providing that they are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, they will not leak!

How long does it take to install a sun tunnel tubular skylight?
Typical installation by a homeowner is about 2 hours with common everyday tools.

Can I install a tubular skylight if I I have a cathedral ceiling?
Yes! Natural Light manufactures a tubular skylight flashing designed just for cathedral ceilings making the installation a breeze. Please order a “FLAT” flashing for this purpose.If you are purchasing a VELUX sun tunnel please order the “TGR” model.

Do I have to insulate my light pipe? Condensation?
No you do not have to insulate the light pipe. The system is designed to weep out any condensate that occurs and it works very effectively. In northern states please use the free optional soft diffuser which creates a double insulated diffuser and further protects the unit from large temperature differentials thus less condensation.

Do I need a thermostat on my solar attic fan?
Typically you do not need a thermostat for the proper operation of your solar attic fan. The solar attic fan exhausts the moisture that is trapped in your attic space that comes from the heat sources in your home as well as the environment. Moisture does far more damage to your roof structure than heat; ice dams and mold formation are the two major problems. I recommend using a thermostat if you live in a dry area, like the desert.

Where should I install the solar attic fan on my roof?
The solar attic fan should be installed on a south or west facing roof. It should be located in the center of the roof and about three feet from the ridge of the roof.

Will the solar attic fan make noise?
The solar attic fan is so quiet you will not hear it run from a distance of about three feet!

What is a tubular skylight and how does it compare to a traditional box skylight?

Traditional skylights have their place, as do tubular skylights. There are a few key benefits of tubular skylights, however, including flexible location options, low cost of installation and better lighting performance.

Location
Tubular skylights can be installed in places where a traditional skylight wouldn’t be an option, such as rooms without direct roof access or small areas like bathrooms, closets and hallways. The units are compact in design (as little as 10 inches, or 250mm in diameter) and feature adjustable tubing with angle adapters that allow for installation around attic obstructions.

Light Output
Tubular skylights are able to accomplish better lighting performance results than a similar size box skylight, because they don’t use a skylight well (in which light is lost through absorption into the drywall shaft). They capture light more effectively on the rooftop and efficiently transfer more of it down the reflective tube and into the room.

Additionally, a tubular skylight provides better light diffusion. Instead of lighting only the space directly below the skylight, a tubular skylight uses optics to spread the light out, often lighting the entire room.

Lighting Enhancements
Traditional skylights do not offer any optical enhancement devices to help increase performance. On the north side of a sloped roof, the light output from a regular skylight is significantly reduced without these devices.

The Solatube tubular skylight, for example, features several proprietary enhancement devices, which work in concert to capture more light from all angles and reflect it down the tube for higher light output during early morning, late afternoon and in the winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.

The Solatube transfers the maximum amount of ambient light into a room with minimal light loss, allowing it to provide great performance even on cloudy or rainy days. In fact, it captures ambient light so well, on a full-moon night, you can actually see a nice glow.

Cost
The cost of a tubular skylight is more affordable than most traditional skylights. Remember, the cost of the traditional skylight is only a portion of the total materials cost. One must also add in the cost of framing members, paint, drywall, etc. Then, labor becomes a very large portion of the cost because a contractor must frame out the skylight shall, drywall it, tape it, then paint it.

Leaks
Traditional skylights have a reputation of leaking. Many times this is an issue of incorrect installation, but their square design invites problems. First, the fiat up-slope side collects branches, leaves and other debris, which interferes with proper drainage. As the water dams up, it migrates under shingles or tiles to find an escape route, causing leaking.

The round design and one piece flashing system of the tubular skylight allows water and debris to flow past unobstructed. The entire unit is sealed to lock out any moisture.

Options
Tubular skylights can also be multi-functional. Tubular skylights like Solatube can be equipped with options like an integrated electric light (for night-time lighting), A Daylight Dimmer to turn the natural light off, as well as a ventilation fan, providing a two-or three-in-one unit from a single ceiling fixture. Again, traditional skylights can’t offer you these features.