Sun tunnels are a great way to add natural light and improve the energy efficiency of your home.
It does not need direct sunlight to function, giving you natural lighting to your rooms.
Sun Tunnels work by directing sunlight from south facing windows throughout the day by means of reflective tubes.
This article will provide information on how they work, when to use them, and what you should know before installing one in your house.
What Are Sun Tunnels
A sun tunnel brings natural light to your house without the need for opening your windows.
They use light tubes and a reflective dome to disperse sunlight throughout your room by means of reflection, instead of letting it come in through the window where you might not want it or which can be unsafe as well as wasteful during winter months when there is no sun.
There are 2 types of sun tunnels, namely the rigid sun tunnels and the flexible sun tunnels.
Rigid Sun Tunnels – Rigid sun tunnels work for a straight shot lighting directly from the roof and to your ceiling.
Flexible Sun Tunnels – Works when there is an obstruction between the sunlight and your target area for installation.
The sun tunnel size will depend as well on the space between your ceiling and your roofing.
How Does a Sun Tunnel Work?
A sun tunnel works in a way that it makes use of the science of reflective mirrors.
The tube reflects the light from your south facing windows back to you. You can place this in any room where there is a window that faces south, and it will provide excellent lighting throughout the day.
It sends sunlight down through clear tubes made of polycarbonate or acrylic which are located inside the dome at one end while being surrounded by mirrors on one or both ends.
The mirrors then reflect the light back up into a diffuser which spreads the sunlight throughout your room, making it brighter and more energy efficient while reducing heat from entering through your windows in winter months.
How to Choose the Right Size Sun Tunnel For My Room?
Choosing the right size can be tricky especially when you are not sure which one to buy.
Option 1 – For rooms like hallways, corridors, or any small rooms in your house, you can choose a 23 to 25 cm tunnel diameter, mostly with an area of 4×10 square meters.
This option is most popular due to it being flexible in size which you can use for any room or space of choice without needing an expert’s help for installation.
It also does not need direct sunlight making it work even on cloudy days.
Option 2 – This includes large hallways, bathrooms and stairwells with 32 to 45 cm tunnel diameter, mostly with an area of 11×14 square meters.
This option works well when you have direct sunlight in your room. It also provides a lot of light to the space where it is installed making it great for rooms that are hard to illuminate like bathrooms or stairwells.
Option 3 – This includes your living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens with 52 to 55 cm tunnel diameter, mostly with an area of 16×22 square meters.
This size is best in rooms that do not have a window facing south making it great for small spaces without windows or with no direct sunlight.
Are Sun Tunnels Expensive?
The cost ranges from $500 to $1100. The higher the tunnel diameter, the more expensive they will be which makes sense because the larger the diameter, then more light will be emitted.
This is an investment and you should expect to pay a bit extra for something that can last up to 20 years with ease without needing too much maintenance and installation.
It also reduces your energy costs making it cost effective in the long run while providing natural lighting all throughout the day.
How to Install a Sun Tunnel?
Installing a sun tunnel does not require too much manpower. You can simply contact your local roofing contractor. What will transpire:
1. The roofing contractor will be the ones who know how to make a hole on your roofing system properly and safely.
With that, they won’t be damaging or causing any extra holes on your roof.
2. The tube will be fit down into the hole they just prepared and install the acrylic dome on the tube, at its roof side.
3. A light diffuser will then be installed at the end of the tube reaching the ceiling part.
This diffuses the light properly to make it brighter.
The tube will be connected at its end with a hole in your ceiling, where they connect together through an aluminum rail which makes the entire thing sturdy and well installed.
You cannot do this installation on your own because you are likely to damage your roofing system.
It is important to note that these tunnels will not provide any heating solutions so do not expect it to be able to heat your home during winter months.
In this case, a wood burning stove might just be the right thing for you if reducing your energy costs are what you are after.
How to Operate a Sun Tunnel?
There are no switches or knobs involved when operating this type of system which means you do not have the ability to control it manually.
It simply reflects the light provided naturally by the sun.
However, there are times when you have to clean the tube and dome because it can get dirty or dusty which makes light harder for them to reflect through.
You should also check if your tunnel is properly aimed at the sun every once in a while so that they will continue functioning as expected.
This type of system does not require any electrical installation and you can expect it to be very safe and eco-friendly.
Sun Tunnels and Federal Solar Tax Credit
Because sun tunnels can help conserve energy for light consumption through the use of solar light, it can be a great way to reduce your electricity bills.
The federal solar tax credit allows you to get back up to 26% of the amount that you invested for installation.
In this case, it is important that you ask quotes from different contractors and compare them based on their rates as well as reviews from former clients before finally choosing one because an estimate for this kind of installation can range from $500 to $1100.
Overall, sun tunnels are great because they provide natural lighting all throughout the day and reduce energy consumption which makes them a wise investment in the long run.
They also come with different tunnel diameters so you can choose one depending on your preferences as well as room size.