Common Questions2022-11-09T14:01:42+00:00

Common Questions About Solatube®

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Solatube FAQ

Common Questions About Solatube®

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Top Questions About Solatube® Daylight Skylights

We understand home improvement can be overwhelming. You are not alone. We are here to provide answers to any questions you may have.

Solatube Daylight Skylights FAQ
How does a Solatube Daylighting System compare to a traditional skylight?2022-10-06T14:22:03+00:00

Traditional skylights have their place as do tubular daylighting devices (TDDs). There are a few key benefits of the Solatube® Daylighting System, however, that allow our TDDs to perform better than skylights. Some of these include:

  • Flexible Location Options
  • Low-cost Installation
  • Optimal Thermal Performance
  • Optical Enhancement Devices
  • No Structural Changes
  • Consistent and Visually Comfortable Daylighting
  • Easy Customization with Modular Components
How does a Solatube Daylighting System work?2022-10-06T14:23:00+00:00

From sunup to sundown, the Solatube® Daylighting System captures the sun’s rays using an optical dome mounted on the roof. The light is then transferred downward through proprietary Spectralight® Infinity, the world’s most reflective tubing.

Designed for minimal light loss, it also easily maneuvers around obstructions with no structural changes required. When the light reaches the interior, it is delivered evenly throughout the space through specially designed Solatube diffusers and/or Decorative Fixtures.

How long does it take to install a Solatube Daylighting System?2022-10-06T14:23:51+00:00

Solatube® Daylighting Systems feature factory-assembled parts for faster, easier, more professional-looking installations. With this in mind, installing a Solatube Daylighting System on a shingle asphalt roof usually takes two hours or less. Other roof types (e.g., slate, tile, metal, concrete) may take slightly longer due to the roof material.

What is the approximate light coverage of a Solatube Daylighting System?2022-10-06T14:25:05+00:00

The light coverage area varies among our Solatube® Daylighting System models. Keep in mind different light levels are required for different tasks. As a result, the approximate coverage areas are shown below for ambient light levels.

  • Solatube Daylighting System 160 DS (10 in. / 250 mm) up to 200 sq. ft (19 sq. m)
  • Solatube Daylighting System 290 DS (14 in. / 350 mm) up to 300 sq. ft (28 sq. m)

These estimated lighting areas are based upon an average 6 ft (1.82 m) tube length and 8 ft (2.4 m) ceiling height with the dome in direct sunlight.

Light output will vary depending on the intensity of the sun. For example, there will be more natural daylight at midday than in the early morning or evening. Light output may also decrease as the tube length increases beyond the recommended distances.

*Applies only to daylighting portion of the system.

What is the product warranty?2022-10-06T14:26:15+00:00
10-Year Warranty

Under the product warranty, Solatube® Daylighting System components are covered for 10 years, most electrical components for 5 years.

Are there any issues with leaks?2022-10-06T14:27:33+00:00
Leak-Proof Skylight Design

Solatube® Daylighting Systems have a variety of seamless, self-mounted flashing options, curb-mounted caps, and roof accessories that, when combined with the dome and seals, provide a virtually leakproof system.

Can a Solatube Daylighting System store light for use at night?2022-10-25T17:34:41+00:00

Yes and no. The Solatube® Daylighting System only transfers the available sunlight that enters through the dome during the day.

However, the unit does include a solar-powered nightlight, which provides a soft glow to help you get around the room during dark hours.

There is also an optional Solatube Light Add-On Kit which may be installed so that the Solatube Daylighting System can be used as a standard lighting fixture at night. The unit operates using a standard wall switch. Available only with the Solatube Daylighting Systems 160 DS or 290 DS.

Can I split the tubing and light two rooms from only one dome?2022-10-06T14:29:57+00:00

No. To transfer the most light possible to your interior, Solatube® uses a 1-to-1 product design that matches the dome to the diffuser. There is no “Y” tubing adapter available for Solatube Daylighting Systems that connects two diffusers to one dome.

Can Solatube Daylighting Systems be installed on a metal roof?2022-10-06T14:30:50+00:00

Yes. A Metal Roof Kit that can be used in conjunction with our self-flashing systems on most standing seam metal roofs with seams that are less than 4 1/2 in. (114 mm) high. This is the most commonly used application for our Solatube Daylighting System 160/290 DS.

How does Solatube International, Inc. use optical technologies in its domes to capture and control the sunlight?2022-10-06T14:32:43+00:00

At the roof level, there is the main optical technology used in the domes of Solatube® Daylighting Systems: Raybender® 3000.
This patented daylight-capturing Fresnel lens integrates into the dome that provides consistent daylighting throughout the day. It accomplishes this by redirecting low-angle sunlight to increase early morning, late afternoon, and winter performance. The Raybender 3000 also rejects overpowering midday sunlight, especially in summer, to reduce glare and heat offering a more consistent daylighting experience.

How does the tube attach to the ceiling?2022-10-06T14:33:20+00:00

For Solatube® Daylighting Systems, the bottom tube comes pre-assembled from the factory with integrated fastening clamps in the ceiling ring. Once inserted into the ceiling opening, the bottom tubing telescopes into the top tubing. The integrated fastening clamps secure the ceiling ring into the ceiling.

How durable is the Solatube Daylighting System?2022-10-06T14:34:04+00:00

Solatube® products are manufactured using the highest quality materials, so they are extremely durable and designed to last. All Solatube Daylighting System components (excluding electrical components) are covered by 10-year warranty. A multitude of Solatube products have been in operation for more than 20 years and continue to perform exceptionally.

How much does a Solatube Daylighting System cost?2022-10-06T14:44:57+00:00

Solatube® Daylighting Systems vary in price based on a number of factors, including:

  • System model
  • Roof type and pitch
  • Tube length and angles
  • Optional accessories and add-ons, such as Daylight Dimmers and tubing extensions
  • Regional economy and location

Installation costs are listed separately and vary based on region as well as the complexity and difficulty of the install location. Your local Carolina Skylights Solatube daylighting team can provide you with a free assessment and estimate.

Call 1-87-SOLA-TUBE (1-877-652-8823) or click below for a free estimate.

Is there a way to turn off or “block out” a Solatube Daylighting System?2022-10-06T14:46:24+00:00

Yes, the Solatube® Daylight Dimmer controls the amount of natural light entering a room. Utilizing a patented butterfly baffle design and a convenient wall-mounted switch, it allows the user to adjust light levels simply and easily anywhere between 100% and 2% daylight. This residential application is perfect for bedrooms, family rooms, and offices. The Daylight Dimmer is available for the Solatube Daylighting System 160 DS and 290 DS.

Is there an electric light for nighttime use?2022-10-06T14:48:03+00:00

The optional Solatube Light Add-On Kit may be installed so that the Solatube Daylighting System can be used as a standard lighting fixture at night that operates using a standard wall switch. Available only with the Solatube Daylighting Systems 160 DS or 290 DS.

What happens on a cloudy day?2022-10-06T14:49:00+00:00

Solatube® Daylighting Systems maximize the amount of daylight available for lighting your interior, regardless of sky conditions.

Our proprietary Raybender® 3000 technology in our domes combined with our Spectralight® Infinity Tubing transfer the maximum amount of daylight from the rooftop down into the interior with minimal light loss, even on cloudy days.

Keep in mind your light output is always relative to your light input. There will be a noticeable difference in light intensity between a clear, sunny day and a heavily overcast day. Our diffusers and Decorative Fixtures keep a consistent diffusion pattern, regardless of light intensity.

What if the light is too bright or bluish?2022-10-06T14:50:00+00:00

Solatube® Daylighting Systems are designed to control the intensity of daylight by rejecting overwhelming midday sun and reducing glare. They also reflect the true color temperature of the sky conditions outside.

We offer an array of Solatube Effect Lenses to adjust the light intensity and color. For homeowners who prefer less light intensity, the Softening Effect Lens creates a softer, glowing effect. The optional Solatube Daylight Dimmer can also be installed for easy adjustment of room light levels at the touch of a button. The Warm Effect Lens enhances natural daylight by “warming” it, creating a yellowish color similar to incandescent bulbs. Important: Never use standard window tinting or any flammable material to block the incoming light. This is a potential fire hazard.

To adjust both the light intensity and color, the Warm and Softening Effect Lenses may be used together to produce a glowing effect that mimics the color of incandescent lights.

What if there is no attic or plenum space?2022-10-06T14:50:49+00:00

Solatube® Daylighting Systems feature unique telescoping tubes that can be easily installed even when access to the attic or plenum is limited or there is no space between the ceiling and roof at all.

We can also install most products in an open ceiling application where no ceiling exists and the underside of the roof deck is exposed.

How much air can the Solatube Ventilation Add-on Kit move?2022-10-06T14:51:58+00:00

A typical bathroom fan will move about 50 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM). The proprietary fan and motor in the Solatube® Ventilation Add-on Kit are rated at 110 CFM (3 cubic meters per minute), which means it is more than twice as effective at clearing air than a standard fan.

Why is Specular Reflectance a better measurement of light output than Total Reflectance?2022-10-06T14:53:21+00:00

The reflection of light is extremely predictable. When light strikes a surface, it is either absorbed or reflected. Total reflectance indicates the percentage of light that is reflected, regardless of the direction it travels after leaving the surface. A surface’s total reflectance can consist of both specular and diffuse components. To illustrate this, imagine a ray of light as a tight bundle of smaller, individual rays, all traveling parallel to each other. In accordance with the Law of Reflection, rays that strike a smooth surface will reflect and remain in a concentrated bundle. This is called specular reflection and represents a “mirror-like” reflection of light. On the other hand, rays that strike a rough, or diffuse, surface will reflect and scatter in many directions through diffuse reflection.


While a diffuse surface can have a high total reflectance, the reflected light is scattered, which prevents it from being transmitted in a consistent and tightly-controlled fashion. For tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), a high specular reflectance is imperative so that light can be efficiently transferred through the system. A tubing system with a diffuse reflectance component should be avoided since that would result in light being scattered and lost back out through the top of the system.

The Spectralight® Infinity Tubing used in Solatube® Daylighting Systems is the most reflective material used in TDDs. With an extremely high specular reflectance of up to 99.7%* over the visible portion (ranging between 380-760 nanometers (nm)) of the electromagnet spectrum, it ensures that very little light is lost as it travels through the optical tubing system.

Achieving a high specular reflectance is critical since even small differences in reflectance values can significantly impact light output. That’s because every time a ray of light is reflected, some amount of that light is either scattered or lost through absorption. The difference of just a few percentage points in specular reflectivity makes a huge difference in overall performance.

Contrary to total reflectance, specular reflectance is a key factor in determining an optical tube’s efficiency in transferring light, and manufacturers should provide specular reflectance data to document the true efficiency of their TDD systems.

*Specular reflectance greater than 99%, with wavelength-specific reflectances up to 99.7% for the visible spectrum.

Will a Solatube Daylighting System work when installed on the north side of a roof?2022-10-06T14:54:43+00:00

A Solatube® Daylighting System works well on the north side of a roof. However, it performs even better when exposed to direct sunlight.

For the best results, position the system where it will receive the most direct south-facing sunlight possible. To catch more direct rays, a turret extension can also be added to raise the dome height above the roof peak if on the north side of the roof.

The reverse is true in the southern hemisphere. There, a north-facing position is ideal.

How does Spectralight Infinity achieve maximum Light Transfer Efficiency without shifting colors?2022-10-06T14:56:35+00:00

Used in our Reflector and our tubing, Spectralight® Infinity is a proprietary material that has a specular reflectivity of 99.7%*, the highest of any material used in tubular daylighting devices on the market today. As a result, less than 1% of the daylight captured is lost with each “bounce” of daylight down the tube.

This becomes increasingly important when light levels are low, such as in the early morning or late afternoon, on overcast days, or during winter months. At these times, the reflected daylight may make hundreds of bounces down the tubing. Because Spectralight Infinity has such a high Light Transfer Efficiency (LTE), daylight can be transmitted over long distances with minimal light loss to provide consistent illumination, regardless of season or weather condition.

In other systems that use tubes with lower reflectivity, so much light is lost (some as high as 16% with each bounce!) that little usable light remains by the time it travels all the way down the tube.

In addition, Spectralight Infinity Tubing also has a high Color Temperature Maintenance (CTM), which means it delivers the true color of the daylight with no color shift. Other tubing materials are not only less effective at reflecting light but are not “spectrally-neutral,” meaning that they can shift the color of the light significantly.

The end result is that you get maximum light output with no significant color shift for the brightest, cleanest natural light possible.

*Specular reflectance greater than 99%, with wavelength-specific reflectances up to 99.7% for the visible spectrum.

What length can the tube be?2022-10-06T14:57:23+00:00

To achieve optimal light output in spaces that require long tube runs, we recommend using tube lengths no longer than those listed below:

  • Solatube® Brighten Up® Series: Solatube 160 DS (10 in. / 250 mm) – 20 ft (6m)
  • Solatube Brighten Up Series: Solatube 290 DS (14 in. / 350 mm) – 30 ft (9m)
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Change Your Light.
Change Your Life.

Solatube® Daylight Skylights
turn dark places into spaces you love.

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Change Your Light.
Change Your Life.

Solatube® Daylight Skylights
turn dark places into
spaces you love.

Free Estimate
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