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. 

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. 

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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