Tubular Skylights: Good for You and Your Home
A Tubular skylight, also known as a sun tube or sun tunnel, is a type of tubular day lighting device (TDD). They are straight, curved, or jointed devices that deliver natural light into a home or building. They resemble recessed lighting fixtures and blend well with any home dÃ©cor. Tubular skylights are popular because they are easier to install conventional skylights and cost less too. Because of their small size, tubular skylight are more energy efficient than conventional skylights. Their small size means that there is less heat loss in the winter and less heat gain in the summer.
Tubular Skylight Benefits
* Tubular skylights provide indirect, diffused sunlight. Indirect sunlight results in less UV ray damage to furniture, carpet and drapery.
* Can fit where conventional skylights don't fit.
* Easy installation. Tubular skylights do not require reframing, drywalling or painting. They easily fit between the rafters in the attic. On average, it takes less than two hours to install a tubular skylight.
* DIY. Many seasoned do-it-yourslfers can install a tubular skylight in one day.
* Cost less than conventional skylights.
* Burglar proof.
* Tubular skylights can ease eye strain.
How They Work
Tubular skylights are made with an acrylic lens set into a metal frame. Insulation is added for additional energy savings. The tubes are installed with a dome on top that goes through the roof and attic space. Most tubular skylights have a reflective sun scoop in the rooftop assembly that directs sunlight into a metal or plastic tube. The tube has a highly reflective interior coating which guides the sunlight to a diffuser lens. The diffuser lens is mounted on the interior ceiling surface, and it spreads light evenly throughout the room.
Tubular skylights are available with an integrated electrical lighting option. Walk-in closets and linen closets are popular locations for tubular skylights.
How Much Light?
Although smaller than conventional skylights, tubular skylights can disperse a tremendous amount of light into a room. According to toolbase.org, "The Alberta Research Council indicated that one 13-inch tubular skylight had equivalent light output of up to one 700-watt incandescent bulb in December and one 1,200-watt bulb in June."
The cost of tubular skylights will vary according to the size and quality of the skylight. Homeowners can expect to pay between $150-$600. Choose a top quality skylight and skylight installer. A lower quality tubular skylight, along with poor installation, could result in air leaks and water leaks.
Federal Tax Credits
Some tubular skylights qualify for federal tax credits. To qualify, you must have your skylight installed by December 31, 2010. The tax credit covers up to 30% of the cost (up to $1,500). The skylight must be installed in your principal residence (new construction and renters do not qualify). The tax credit does not include installation costs. Check with your local skylight installer to learn which skylights qualify.