Solatube (skylight alternative) : anybody had one installed?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Stratonator, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    We have a small hallway where all the doors congregate (bedrooms, washroom) that is small but dark and uninviting, especially in contrast to the rest of the house. I'd like to have a Solatube installed and am looking for feedback on those who have either had one installed or have seen one in somebody else's house.

    What were your impressions? Good and bad points?

    I'm looking into possibly have one installed with a lightbulb inside so that we could eliminate the light fixture and combine both needs into a single ceiling hole.
     
  2. mister honey

    mister honey Member

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    Can't comment on the Solatube per se, but I think an LED ring or circular light source around the Solatube opening in the ceiling would be attractive, functional and would not obstruct sunlight from entering the room.

    Mike
     
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  3. hi-fi-dave

    hi-fi-dave Member

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    Less holes in the roof means less chance of a leak.

    That is why I took down my chimney below the roof line (the water heater was high efferent and could be vented out the side of the house)
     
  4. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    Not a bad idea, Mike.

    I'll look into that possibility. Solatube offers an add-on with either an LED or incandescent lightbulb within the tube itself but I'm wondering whether this would have a negative impact on the amount of natural light that could come into the hallway as a result of having that add-on installed.
     
  5. Raygun Gothic

    Raygun Gothic Member

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    We've got one in our guest bath. Works well and we rarely turn the overhead light on in that bathroom, but then YMMV as Arizona doesn't lack for sunlight most days.
     
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  6. dshobe

    dshobe Rocky Mountain Way Silver Supporting Member

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    Works great in my master bath. The only downside is having to take down the panel to clean out the bug carcasses once a year.
     
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  7. cwz

    cwz Member

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    Have two, both installed in the 90s. Sunpipes, nothing with internal lighting.
    Really make a nice difference. Haven't had issues with leaks, just the bug bits as mentioned above.
     
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  8. jazzguitar14

    jazzguitar14 Supporting Member

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    Ive installed several. It was a fairly large PIA and this was going into new construction.

    1. whatever clips / hardware they include, just throw that stuff away and tape the crap out it with reflective tape.
    2. your not going to have a straight shot to your final roof hole and there is no real way to plan your bends effectively -- so plan on spending some trial and error time trying to align the bends in the tube.
    3. get a good roofer to seal the roof joint. and a good drywall guy to install the interior trim. The QC on the unit Ive worked with was horrible and nothing fit as it should.

    And on a positive:

    4. Try to get the ones that have an internal solar light -- during night the tube still lights the room mildly and its a pretty cool effect.


    I forget the brand I was working with, but the experience was much worse than it should have been. I wuld not recommend them to a friend.
     
  9. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    I'm looking for some that have an included light fixture inside the solar tube. Wondering if that would block some/most of the sunlight. Not sure what you mean exactly by "internal solar light."
     
  10. jazzguitar14

    jazzguitar14 Supporting Member

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    The internal lights do not block the direct sunlight. There suspended by 3 stiff wires about 1-2 feet up in the tube and the entire tube is a highly reflective material. It works well and there is no shadow lines or anything like that...

    the "internal solar light" is something like those patio lights people have. It is powered by the sunlight in the tube and then turns on when the it gets dark. You cannot turn it on or off but it works as a nice mild light source during the night -- great as a nightlight in a bathroom for example. There will be a semi-translucent cover at the base of the tube, you will need to open that to service the lights and as others said clean out bug debris once a year...
     
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  11. RevWillie

    RevWillie Gold Supporting Member

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    Have 5 installed in the '90s and never had a problem - other than cleaning out the bugs and dropping and breaking one of the lenses and having to hunt down a Solatube dealer.

    They work best with the shortest straight run through your ceiling/attic; if you have it at the peak of a normal roof and the tube is 6' or whatever, you'll get less light.

    FWIW your internal lights show somewhat back up through the dome on the roof so it would be 'known' that lights are going off&on.
     
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  12. Jimmy3Fingers

    Jimmy3Fingers Member

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    Make sure they are installed correctly...leaks can be a biotch. Mold is not your friend.
     

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