Solar tube skylights, also called tubular skylights, are the most cost efficient way of getting natural light into any room. You don't have to have extensive demolition and framing to fit these solar tubes. They fit in between your existing framing, and can twist and turn around joists and rafters with elbows, or flexible ducting is also available.
Using solar skylights in the daytime will eliminate the need for electrical lighting. By installing one or more of these skylight solar tube lights, they will pay for themselves over time, and then start to pay you for having them. Depending on the price of electricity in your area these skylights can pay for themselves in 5-10 years. Not using electrical lighting will also help the environment.
The tubes are available in diameters of 10" to 22".. The sizes have a wide range to accommodate any rafter spacing; with 16" being the standard rafter spacing in most houses.
The larger the solar tube skylight, the larger the hole you will have to cut into your roof. The larger the hole, the more potential for leaking down the road. Leaking is not a common problem in a properly installed system.
General room venting can also be done by some of these solar tube skylights.This may be a good idea in a kitchen where the venting of air can be helpful. The venting is through the same opening as the solar skylight; by using a powerful fan to draw the air into the tubing and then to the outside.
Most kits come with straight tubing. and if a turn is needed, elbows are an extra cost. Some manufacturers, such as Velux, offer flexible tubing to eliminate elbows and makes the installation much quicker, and easier.
The skylight solar tube itself has a mirror finish to help funnel the light into the room with very little loss of sunlight. The tubing is made of aluminum and is rust proof. Polishing of the aluminum is for maximizing light transmission. Care must be taken when handling the tubing to prevent scratches; but a light scratch is no reason for concern.The dome can be low profile or stand away from the roof line.. The low profile kits are good for roofs that have low slopes; less than 30 degs is a good guideline. The higher domes are good for roofs with steeper slopes; more than 30 degs.
With a low profile dome on a low sloped roof the dome doesn't stick out as much, and with a steeper slope the higher dome catches more light. But either style can be installed on any roof because it's a personal choice and not a requirement.
The domes are made of modified acrylic, and are shock resistant. If you live in a hurricane prone area, thicker domes are available, and approved for those areas. The domes are scratch resistant as well, but they will scratch if a roof rake or other object comes in contact with them. They will not yellow due to the introduction of UV inhibiting materials in the manufacturing process.Diffusers are used to evenly distribute the light that is funneled down from the dome. Using a diffuser will also eliminate the very intense focused light and make it "softer".
Diffusers are available in prismatic, frosted, curved, and flat. Prismatic will bring in the most light. Frosted gives you a softer light. Curved will spread the sunlight over a wider area. Flat will give you a more focused light, like a spot light.Warranties range from 10 to 25 years depending on the manufacturer for most solar tube skylights.