Home and Garden

What Are the Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting?

Nothing stares you in the face quite like an electric bill, particularly during the winter months when it reflects headache-inducing figures. To bring these figures down permanently, you might want to consider introducing natural light-diffusing structures into your home. Not only do these constructs brighten indoor spaces, but they’re also efficient energy savers.

Yes, we’re talking about solar tubes and skylights. Although, we’ll be putting more emphasis on the latter due to their higher performance and functionality. They’re known for providing a more natural and softer light source than their counterpart.

That said, even when you choose the best solar dock lights, don’t expect everything about the structure to be peachy. It can have its drawbacks, too, as you’ll soon find out after reading this piece.

Things To Know About Solar Tube Lighting

In your quest to become more energy efficient at home or in your business, you might be interested to know the following major things about solar tube lighting:

What Is It?

Sometimes called daylight pipes, light tubes, and sun tunnels by their installers, solar tubes are narrow tubes affixed to a building’s roof and run through its ceiling to shine outside light to the underlying room. They come in a 10-inch to 22-inch diameter range and are capped with a dome that’s clear and weatherproof. Lining their frames is a reflective material that intensifies the sunlight passing through them.

In terms of power, a tube that’s 10 inches is equivalent to around three 100-watt bulbs. It’s used popularly for dimly lit or darkened areas of a home that depend on electric lighting.

So, you might want to position a solar tube above a hallway, stairwell, basement, laundry room, bathroom, or kitchen. Note that these structures are exclusively for the topmost levels of a home or building unless there are closets to run through or mechanical chases on the lower floors.

Skylight Comparison

No, a solar tube is not the same as a traditional skylight. While they’re both set on the roofs of homes, the latter requires a more complicated installation process and considerably more work because of its larger size. In terms of light efficiency, the two are in relatively equal standing, though skylights leave room for unwanted heat gain, negatively affecting its energy efficiency.

The skylight’s popularity stems mostly from its gorgeous appearance. It can provide a magnificent view of the sky and optimal sunlight diffusion, though not as well as the solar tube, when positioned correctly. On the other hand, solar tubes are more obscurely designed, set more deeply, and do not provide the aesthetic viewing pleasure of their predecessor.



As mentioned earlier, solar tubes brighten parts of the home rendered insufficiently lit by the architecture. They’re a cost-effective solution, as they help you save on power for the long term.

Solar tubes also aren’t prone to unwanted heat gain, meaning there won’t be any rising room temperatures and heat loss during the cold season. They also look like any other lighting fixture due to their standard shape and design. These structures provide a constant source of natural sunlight, even when the sun isn’t shining as bright.

Of course, there’s no way we can’t mention the solar tube’s anti-UV quality, which prevents the natural fading of the furniture and decorations in the underlying room.

Why Shouldn’t You Choose Solar Tube Lighting?

Despite how cost-effective and energy-efficient solar tubes are, they do hold some drawbacks. You want to weigh these along with their pros to ensure you make the right choice. So, what might you not like about this natural light-spreading construct?

  • Doesn’t provide a view of the sky, so it won’t be of any use for weather monitoring or stargazing.
  • Does not come with ventilation, so you’ll need to open it every once in a while to release heat or let a cold breeze in the room.
  • Longer tubes deliver less heat, making them not as effective in certain areas of your home.
  • Performs optimally in one-story buildings since its light offering lowers the deeper the room.
  • The indirect sunlight it provides isn’t as strong, and it becomes even weaker when placed on a shaded roof.
  • High humidity typically results in water condensation in these structures, potentially turning into a leaking issue.

Solar Tube Lighting Drawbacks: In Conclusion

Solar tubes and traditional skylights are good options for indoor spaces you want to imbue with natural lighting. They both can provide direct sunlight and are cost-effective solar solutions that brighten dimly lit areas in your home.

Both these options also have their downsides, which are crucial to research and understand to make the best choice. Weigh the pros along with the cons to find out which natural-lighting structure is more suitable for your home. Your personal preferences are likely to hold some weight in the decision-making process, as well.

What Are the Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting? was last modified: by