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What is a Solar Tube?

Written by K. Miller / Fact checked by J. Fussell

What is a Solar Tube

Do you know what is a solar tube or how it works? Maybe you have heard about it but you never bothered to learn how it works. If so, then you are in the right place.

Learning about solar tubes is important as they are devices that you can use to light your home and help you save on electricity bills. My passion for energy conservation compelled me to piece this article together to enlighten you on solar tubing.

Solar Tube Defined


A solar tube, also known as a tubular skylight or a sun tube, is used to permanently light a house without using extra energy. A solar tube will give out natural light similar to that provided by skylights but at a lower cost and with less hassle. In other words, it can help you save on electricity costs.

If your house has a dark hallway or you simply want to brighten up your kitchen, then installing solar tubes is the right way. A solar tube will provide adequate, warm, and indirect light that will illuminate the chosen section of the house.

How It Works?

Solar tubes are normally metallic and come with a polished interior. They have diameters of 10 to 14 inches. The interior channels light along its length and preserves the intensity of the light at the same time.

The tube captures light at the roof during the day and delivers it inside your house. A weatherproof plastic globe is used to cap the tube on the roof. The ending of the tube resembles a porthole diffuser.

As the globe collects light from outside, the diffuser spreads the light in a brilliant white glow. This creates a stunning effect and makes sure your house is well-illuminated. However, it is not surprising to see homeowners who recently installed the tube trying to “switch off” the lights as they leave the house forgetting that it is natural and can’t be switched off.



The average cost of a professionally installed solar tube is $500-$1000. This is way below the $2000 required to install a skylight.

The cost can be even as low as $200 or $400 if you install it yourself. If you are handy and you can comfortably work on a roof, then you can do the installation on your own. The process is much simpler compared to installing a skylight as it does not require paint, new drywall, or alterations to the framing members of the roof.

Amount of Light Generated

The smallest tube available is 10 inches which is enough to generate light equivalent to 3 bulbs (100 watts). This can illuminate a room with a floor area of 200 square feet. The 14-inch tubes such as Velux TMR 014 0000 or ODL EZ14SCANH can illuminate a 300 square feet room.

The most popular locations for lighting using the solar tubes include stairways, hallways, laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and walk-in closets. However, you don’t need a solar tube in the area where you have placed your PC or TV since it will just create unnecessary glare.

Is Your House Ideal for a Solar Tube?


There are limitations to where you can locate solar tubes to avoid roof framing alterations. Therefore, you should first check the space above to see if there is enough room for the tube’s straight run. If there are obstructions, you can use flexible tubes.

A vaulted ceiling provides the best option for installing a tube. This is because you will only need a foot-long tubing.

Why You Need a Solar Tube?

Installing solar tubing in your house has several benefits. These include the following:

  • It is healthy as the light generated is natural
  • It will help you save on your electricity costs
  • Tubes have high adaptability as they can be fixed on any roof as long as they are fixed at the right location
  • It is green and friendly to the environment


Installing a solar tube in your house is a great step to reduce your electricity bills. Additionally, your house will be well-illuminated during the day, hence giving it a stunning and comfortable glare. You can purchase solar tube brands such as Velux TMF 014 0000 tubes and get a professional to help in the installation. And don’t miss other solar products, such as solar ovens or solar water pumps to make your home more eco-friendly.

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