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What Are The Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting

You can spend thousands of dollars on lighting in your home and decorate it as you want. However, when it comes to bringing in natural lighting, things get a bit complicated, especially in rooms where there is not enough window space.

That’s why most people these days prefer installing solar tube lighting since it’s cost-effective and uses natural light as the source. However, if you are making up your mind to install such a lighting system in your home, you should know about the various drawbacks of it as well. So, let’s discuss.

What Is Solar Tube Lighting?

There are various different names that people use to address solar tube lighting, such as sun tunnels, tubular skylights, light tubes, etc. That said, you can pretty much understand how they are constructed. The light inside the room is connected with a metal tube that boasts a highly reflective polished surface for reflecting the light and concentrating it.

When the light falls on the outer dome unit, which is generally installed on the roof, the sunlight reflects and passes through the tube. This way, you can simply bring in natural light in the room. Thus, it’s highly cost-effective as there’s no involvement of electricity.

It is believed that a 10 inches solar tube is as effective as three 100W light bulbs. And, there are various kinds of lights available out there, in different shapes, designs and sizes. So, you get to choose between a vast variety of light options. But are they any good as compared to artificial lighting? Let’s see what are the major drawbacks that you will have to face if you choose to install solar lighting tubes in your home.

What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting?

1. One Energy Source

While the artificial lighting options can run on the direct power supply or even on inverter power during the power outage. Solar Tube lighting, on the other hand, depends on one single source of energy, that is, sunlight. So, basically, the light will be completely useless during the nighttime. And, even on a cloudy day when no direct sunlight is available, the light will glow dimmer or not glow at all.

2. Fewer Options for Control

As compared to other options like skylights, you get the option of ventilation as well as access to using various other accessories like diffusers, shades, etc. Apart from that, with artificial lighting, you have the freedom to turn on/off the light as per your wish. However, if we talk about solar tube lighting, there’s no switch to turn it on/off, and you don’t get an option to use shades or venting as well.

3. Not Suited for Every Home

Unlike any other lighting options, there are a lot of things that you need to check before installation. The solar tube lights are designed to use with roofs with asphalt or wood shingles. Apart from that, the installation is only possible if the roof is sloped at an angle of 15 to 60 degrees. So, basically, it’s not possible to install solar lighting in every home as not all houses are built the same way.

4. Limited Design Styles

If you want to decorate your home with some fancy lighting options, solar lighting tubes are not for you. As solar light tubes have a pretty basic design and generally installed in the ceiling only. So, there are relatively fewer design options as compared to traditional lights.

5. No Ventilation

Although solar tube lights do a pretty decent job to bring natural light to the room. One major drawback of solar light is that you cannot install any ventilation system along with it, which could allow you to have a more natural feel in the room.

6. No Outside Views

If your sole purpose of installing solar tube lighting is to get an ambiance similar to a natural environment, a solar light tube can’t provide it all to you. Since these lights only reflect the light from outside, you don’t get any outside views like a skylight or window provides.

7. Not Distinctive Looking

If you believe that installing a solar light tube in a room will effectively change the environment and make the room look more beautiful, it will not. From the inside, the lights look like any other ceiling light, that’s all. If you really want to make the interiors look appealing, a skylight is a much better option to pick.

8. Water Condensation Issues (Thermosiphoning)

Generally, the tubes are solar light systems made out of aluminum which is undoubtedly a good heat conductor. That said, it could cause problems for you if you try to install such a lighting system in a humid climate area. The tubes can easily allow water to condensate inside and collect in the dome area, which can highly affect the overall light’s lifespan. To deal with such situations. R-15 batt insulation inside the tube can help, but that would cost you a lot more extra money.

9. Few Customization Options

Customization options with solar light tubes are almost negligible as they have a pretty simple design. Unlike other natural lighting options such as skylights, you cannot use diffusers or shades with solar light tubes. Moreover, there’s not even an option to use UV films and any way to install a ventilation system with solar tube lighting.

10. Durability

Since one part of the solar tube lighting always remains exposed to the outside environment, there can be many external factors that could cause damage to it. In extremely high or low temperatures, heavy rainfall, or hailstorms, there are many chances that the outer dome might get damaged. If something like this happens, the light will fail to work, and you might need to replace the entire lighting system. Hence, the solar lighting tubes are comparatively less durable.


We understand your concern about bringing natural light inside the home, but as you can see, there are plenty of drawbacks to using Solar tube lighting. We would prefer you stick to traditional lights or go with some other options such as window or skylights as they are a more viable option to pick and don’t have any such disadvantages. If you have any further doubts or want to discuss anything about solar tube lighting, you can let us know about it by commenting down below.

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