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Sky Tubes

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Billy123, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Billy123

    Billy123 Member

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    Anyone use them? Recommendations?

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  2. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Do your research. Go high end, after all you want this to last. Avoid cheap overseas copies of what a manufacturer in your climate is already doing. Pay attention to how it seals to the roof....this really matters. They have come along way with these products. Not unusual to use these in a two storey to provide natural light in the basement now. Pretty sure my Canadian products will have little to no presence in your market so I wont send you on a wild goose chase looking for my brands. Oh & you will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of light gain.
  3. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Sorry forgot to add that here I find the best brands, highest quality are typically sold at shops that are aready doing skylights where the seal to the roof & quality of construction matter. In other words a shop that understands why a hole in a roof is important to do right.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I had two 15" Velux tubes put into my living room when I had my roof redone. Installed by the roofing company. V. happy with them and they get a lot of + comments from visitors.

    Cost per lumen is higher than LED or CFL, even over 10 year payback. Don't do it for 'cheap light'. Do it if there is a part of your house that is 'always dark' that you underutilize as a result. My living room is a really nice room, with lots of windows that face north with overhangs (from a porch), so you look out the windows and see a daylit world, but none of that light makes it into the room. Psychologically makes it seem super dark and uninviting. The tubes were a perfect fix. The sense of darkness inside is 'caused' by seeing the bright scene outside, only a problem when the sun is shining, which is precisely when the tubes are 'on'. And we can have a couple houseplants in there.

    IMO they are a rather pricey 'design feature' that perfectly alleviates a common architectural problem: dark room syndrome. Personally I wouldn't spend the money for a hallway or bathroom (unless I did DIY).
  5. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Woodgeek on cost and payback. I knew this at the time, but I went ahead anyway and could not be more satisfied. I put one in an interior bathroom, now during daytime no light is needed to use it, and when the moon is out, enough light for a nightlight. I liked this so much I put a second in the dark entryway by the back door, which now also is always well lit in the daytime. My brand was Solatube, expensive. The ads say about 100w light bulb equivalent for the 10" tube, I think it is brighter than that. Payback was not the point with me, improved living through well lit areas with natural light, like a window, was my goal.

    The bathroom tube I installed in 2009, no issues at all. The entryway tube went in Fall of 2012, no issues through this winter and don't expect any.
  6. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I, of course, geeked out on the design of these. In round numbers, 1 sq ft of sunlight is ~10,000 lumens. My tubes have a ~1 sqft horizontal receiver on the roof, so if the sun were at 45° off the horizon, it accepts maybe 7000 lumens. Transmission eff varies, my tubes are straight, rigid wall and 6' long, and I get maybe 3000-6000 lumens out the bottom at 'noon' depending on the season. Avoid 'flex' tubes, they have lousy transmission eff, and any bends if you can. For reference, those halogen floor lamps everyone used to have....about 3000-4000 lumens.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm considering putting in a solar panel connected to a battery recharge system for our kitchen, powering an LED lamp. There's no way to drop a solar tube down to it through the second floor bathroom.
  8. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    A 10" tube might deliver roughly 2000 lumens, the same as a couple L-prize bulbs using 20W. Do you want lumens on demand (a battery) or just real time?
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  10. Billy123

    Billy123 Member

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    Do you have cats? If so, do they like the sky tube? I don't know squat about lumens, but I figure if a cat were to like the sun coming in, it must be good!
  11. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    sorry, allergic!
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, but I had to laugh. A new testing method...the CAF standard (cat acceptance factor).;lol

    In my office we have 5 tubes running the length of a hall. The light that they put out is respectable. They were pricey units (sorry, don't remember brand) and were installed by a reputable company. They have been up for ~14 years. They have started to leak. My best guess is that they simply just need to be re-sealed, but I think it is a matter of WHEN are they going to leak, not IF.
  13. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    That right there is how everyone needs to think of every roof penetration & treat them accordingly. Saves alot of grief later. In other words high quality material installed the best manner. Roof & what penetrates it is a lousy place to try & save a few bucks.
  14. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Yar. I really try to avoid penetrations in my roof. I've got a masonry chimney that is copper flashed with a copper covered cricket, a stinktube, and these two tube skylights. That's it. All vent exhausts are done out the gable end.

    The Velux tube has a heavy guage, one piece 'spun' metal boot, think its galvalume coated and painted steel, that stands 4" off the roof on the short side. The flat skirt of that boot is woven into my shingles by my roofer, and within my roofers warranty. The top is a UV resistant acrylic dome, one piece, overlaps the boot. Personally, I think it will last as long as the (new) roof, which should outlast my stay in the house.

    Opinions/experience to the contrary welcome.
  15. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    I had the velux installed in a hallway and bathroom during a remodel about 5 yrs ago. We love them, the one in the battroom has a light and fan in it and was pricey compared to the other 2. Chit I see a waterspot, will have to check out, must have been caused by the 3+" of snow we had the last storm:( 100_5621.JPG 100_5620.JPG 100_5623.JPG
    Redbarn and woodgeek like this.
  16. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    3 years ago we had 4 Solatubes installed, in a situation similar to poster Defiant.
    They transformed a dark stairwell, a dark corner of a big room, spot lighting over a kitchen island and a dark bathroom.
    Things to watch:
    -roof install quality (of course)
    -sealing the vapour barrier at the ceiling. I went around and spray-foamed/caulked at the ceiling penetration. the installers did not do that.
    There will never be a payback on electricity but as a work-around to poor original window placement, they make a big difference as a retrofit.

    I am dubious about their effect on heat loss. The reflector tubes are not air tight. They essentially put a plastic window in the ceiling. We do get some condensation within the ceiling diffuser during the winter, but after my caulking it diminished.

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