What Are Sun Tunnels And When Is It Time To Replace Them?

April 22, 2022

Have you ever wished that your house had more natural light shining through? Then sun tunnels are the perfect addition to your home. Let’s break down what they are, how they work, their installation cost, and when to replace them. 

What is a sun tunnel? 

Sun tunnels, or solar tubes, are metal tubes that are fitted to your home through holes cut into your ceiling and roof. They are meant to allow natural light into places that are situated in the middle of your home and are usually dark. There are two types of sun tunnels: flexible and rigid. 

Flexible sun tunnels are used when there are things between the roof and ceiling that do not allow for a straight shot. Rigid sun tunnels are used when there is nothing between the roof and ceiling and a straight shot is possible. Both permit the same amount of natural light into your home, only the installation is mildly different. 

How do sun tunnels work?

Sun Tunnels are basically polished metal tubes that work like mirrors to shoot sunlight from the roof into your home. It all starts with the acrylic dome, which captures and magnifies the light from the sun. It is then shot down the polished metal tube to the light diffuser in your ceiling. This light diffuser is not as strong as direct sunlight but will still give any room a pleasant natural light. 

The purpose of the diffuser is to disperse the light evenly throughout the room, creating a natural and pleasant lighting effect. Sun tunnels are a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to bring sunlight to areas that would otherwise remain dim. They can enhance the atmosphere and make a room feel more spacious and inviting. 

What are sun tunnels?

Sun tunnels, also known as tubular skylights, are a great way to bring natural light into your home. Unlike traditional skylights, which are typically large windows installed in the roof, sun tunnels are smaller and more discreet. They consist of a tubular form that extends from the roof to the desired room, such as a bathroom, closet, or hallway.

The tubular structure captures sunlight through a small roof-mounted dome and channels it down the tube, dispersing the natural light into the room below. Installing a sun tunnel is a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to brighten up dark areas in your home without the need for electricity.

Moreover, sun tunnels also offer additional benefits such as adequate ventilation, reducing the dependency on artificial lighting during daylight hours, and providing a pleasant and healthier living environment. With their easy installation process and ability to bring natural light into areas that traditional windows cannot reach, sun tunnels are a popular choice for homeowners looking to maximize natural lighting in their homes. 

How do you install a sun tunnel? 

Your local roofer should be able to install a sun tunnel in 2 to 3 hours with a two-person crew, regardless of whether it is rigid or flexible. The process starts with cutting a hole in your roof and ceiling. The metal tube will then be fitted so that no water or other debris can squeeze into your home. Once that is installed, your roofer will install the acrylic dome on the roof and the light diffuser on your ceiling. Depending on the quality of sun tunnel you get, this installation should only cost you between $500 to $1,000. 

How much will your sun tunnel cost?

The cost of a sun tunnel can vary depending on several factors. The size and type of sun tunnel you choose will have an impact on the overall cost. Additionally, the materials used in the construction of the sun tunnel can influence the price. Sun tunnels made with high-quality materials such as acrylic tend to be more expensive than those made with cheaper alternatives. Another factor to consider is the presence of a light diffuser. Some sun tunnels come with a built-in diffuser, while others may require an additional purchase.

The installation process will also contribute to the overall cost. If you hire professionals to install the sun tunnel, you can expect to pay more compared to a DIY installation. Lastly, the type of roof you have may affect the installation process and therefore the cost. It's always best to consult with a professional to accurately determine the cost of installing a sun tunnel in your specific situation. 

Sun Tunnels vs. Skylights

When it comes to bringing natural light into your home, there are a few options to consider, including skylights and sun tunnels. Both options have their own benefits and it ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Skylights are windows that are installed into the roof, allowing natural light to enter a room from above. They come in various sizes and can provide a significant amount of natural light, brightening up any space. On the other hand, sun tunnels are tubular structures that are installed in the roof and direct sunlight into a hallway or room. They are great for smaller spaces and can bring natural light into areas that may not have access to windows, such as a closet or hallway. 

One popular brand of skylights is Velux skylights, known for their high-quality installations. Whether you choose a skylight or sun tunnel, both options will help to brighten up your home and bring in much-needed natural light. 

Do sun tunnels leak?

Sun tunnels are a popular alternative to traditional skylights for bringing natural light into dark spaces. However, one common concern is whether sun tunnels leak. The answer to this question depends on the quality of the installation and the materials used. When properly installed by a professional installer, sun tunnels should not leak. It is important to choose a reputable installer who has experience with sun tunnels and can ensure a proper installation. 

The roof needs to be properly prepared to accommodate the sun tunnel and ensure a watertight seal. Velux is a well-known brand that offers high-quality sun tunnel products, such as the Velux Sun Tunnel. Velux sun tunnels are designed to prevent leaks and come with a warranty for added peace of mind. With a reliable installer and quality products like Velux sun tunnels, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of natural light without the worry of leaks. 

When should I replace my sun tunnel? 

A well-installed sun tunnel could last as long as your roof does, as long as you properly care and maintain it. Your acrylic dome should last around ten years, while your light diffuser can go as long as twenty. Note that your light diffuser will have to be regularly cleaned, especially if it is located in the kitchen. The most common problem that people run into that could lead to a full replacement is water leakage. This tends to happen when your sun tunnel is improperly installed, or there is a crack in your acrylic dome. Caught early enough, and this should not be a major problem, so be sure to keep an eye out for water droplets or discoloration near your light diffuser.

If you’re unsure whether or not your sun tunnel needs repair or replacement, give IBEX Roof a call. We have been installing and repairing skylights and sun tunnels for customers for years. We can advise you on the most cost-effective way to keep your roof functioning while also looking good.

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