1. How large of an area does the Solatube Daylighing System light?
The light coverage area for Solatube 160 DS (10″ Daylighting System) is approximately 100 square feet (a 10′ x 10′ room). Think Small bathroom, laundry room, and hallway. A Solatube 290 DS (14″ Daylighting System) lights approximately 200 square feet (a 14′ x 14′ room). Think Kitchen, Family Room, Entry way, and Bedrooms. The Solatube SolaMaster Series 750 DS & 330 DS (21″ Daylighting System) illuminates areas up to approximately 300 square feet. For Commercial Building applications, please consult a Solatube Daylight Consultant as acceptable illuminated areas will greatly vary due to ceiling heights and space uses.
These estimated lighting areas are based upon our experiences in the northwest and do not reflect the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Light output will vary depending on the intensity of the sun. For example, there will be more natural daylight at mid-day than in the early morning or evening
2. Are Solatube Daylighting Systems maintenance free?
The Solatube Daylighting System is designed to be a sealed unit. All assemblies (dome, flashing, tubing, diffuser) have seals to stop bug and dirt infiltration. The maintenance free design and shape of the dome and flashing eliminates debris build-up. Unlike traditional skylights, there is no open drywall shaft that requires cleaning and re-painting. If you have questions about any debris that may have gotten in your Solatube feel free to call us and we can walk you through the process to remove your diffuser.
3. How long can the tube be?
Recommended Maximum Tube Runs:
• Solatube 160 DS (10″ Daylighting System) Brighten Up Series – 20′
• Solatube 290 DS (14″ Daylighting System) Brighten Up Series – 30′
• Solatube 330 DS & 750 (21″ Daylighting System) SolaMaster Series – 50′
4. How short can the tube be?
There is no minimum distance! Applications without an attic space, vaulted ceilings or open beam ceilings are quite common. In very short spaces the tubing may need to be modified to fit the space. This can be done easily by cutting the tubing to the desired length. Note that it is recommended to have a straight tube run when installing into small spaces.
5. Is there a way to turn off or “block out” a Solatube Daylighting System?
Yes! The Solatube Daylight Dimmer allows natural lighting levels to be adjusted in the Solatube, turned up or down on demand. The Daylight Dimmer easily controls the amount of light desired in any room from the convenience of a switch. Available for Solatube 160 DS, Solatube 290 DS, Solatube 330/750 DS SolaMaster Series. The patented variable butterfly baffle controls light output, making it perfect for bedrooms, family rooms, offices, classroom and conference rooms.
6. Can Solatube Daylighting Systems be installed in a Shower?
Yes. There are, however, a few things to be aware of in these types of applications. Because of the excess moisture in the shower you may experience condensation, which is not covered under the warranty as it is a natural occurrence. You will want to make sure there is proper ventilation to minimize the air exchange between the shower and inside of the tubing as much as possible. Solatube offers a vent add-on kit to help with seamless integration.
7. What does the ceiling fixture (diffuser) look like for the Solatube 160DS & 290DS?
There are several different options for the look of your Solatube at the ceiling level both acrylic and glass. Click HERE to see the options.
8. Can a Solatube Daylighting System be used for the first floor of a two story house or in a basement application?
Yes, if there is a closet or place for the tubes to run from the roof through the house to the first floor or to the basement. A Solatube 290DS is recommended due to the long distance from the roof. Usually a chase is built around the tubing for added protection. NW Natural Lighting does not currently offer installation for this type of application; however, we are an expert resource for information and material purchase.
9. Can I install a Solatube Daylighting System myself?
YES! Installation of a Solatube Daylighting System can be done in a matter of hours for a standard application. We offer information and support for homeowners that would like to tackle their own project (See our technical resources page.) We also offer expert installation with warranties for peace of mind if you would like to have us install for you!
10. How does a traditional skylight compare to a traditional box skylight?
Traditional skylights have their place, as do Tubular Daylighting Devices. There are a few key benefits of the Solatube Daylighting System, however, including flexible location options, low cost of installation and better lighting performance. Also, traditional skylights do not offer any optical enhancement devices to help increase performance. On the north side of a sloped roof, the light output from a regular skylight is significantly reduced without these devices.
The Solatube Daylighting System, for example, features several patented enhancement devices, which work in concert to capture more light from all angles and reflect it down the tube for higher light output during early morning, late afternoon and in the winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.
The Solatube Daylighting System transfers the maximum amount of ambient light into a room with minimal light loss, allowing it to provide great performance even on cloudy or rainy days. In fact, it captures ambient light so well, on a full-moon night, you can actually see a nice glow.
11. Can Solatube Daylighting Systems be installed on flat or very low-pitched roofs?
Yes, with the optional flat “no-pitch” flashing the Solatube Daylighting System can be installed on low pitched roofs ranging from flat (0/12 pitch) to 3/12 pitches. The flat “no-pitch” flashings are available in 6″ heights for residential applications.
The 750 DS and 330 DS SolaMaster series for commercial applications have 4″, 8″ and 11″ self flashing options available for flat or low pitched roofs. Another option is to use the curb cap option (curb by others). Dimensions of the curb cap can be located under the Technical Resources section of the Solatube website – simply open a CAD drawing of a SolaMaster daylighting system which is using the cap option.
12. Can I split the tubing and light two rooms from only one dome?
No. It is not possible to connect 2 diffusers to one dome. In order to gain the maximum light possible to your room, Solatube International uses a 1-to-1 product design matching the dome to the diffuser. There is no “Y” adapter available for Solatube Daylighting System.
13. How much air can the Ventilation Add-on Kit move?
The Solatube Daylighting System’s proprietary fan/motor is rated at 110-CFM (cubic feet per minute) which is of a much higher performance than a standard bathroom vent that most of us have in our homes. This ensures quick and effective ventilation.
14. Can the Solatube Daylighting System run down the outside and turn 90 degrees through a wall into the house?
The tubing system is not designed for exposed exterior applications. For internal applications the standard angle adapters provide a 30 degree maximum angle. A 90-degree angle adaptor is also available that will produce minimal light loss.
15. Are there any issues with leaks?
When installed properly the Solatube does not leak. The Solatube Daylighting System circular one piece seamless flashing design allows rain and debris to naturally bypass the unit. The Solatube flashings have no joints or weak points that may separate and allow water to enter.
16. When do you install the Solatube Daylighting System when re-roofing?
Generally, after the new roof is in place. However, the Solatube Daylighting System can easily be installed in most cases at the same time the roof is going on. If your roofer has any questions, or you would prefer to have the Solatube installed during the re-roofing process, it is possible to make special arrangements. Call our office for details and to speak with a Solatube expert.
17. Are the Solatube domes strong?
The Brighten Up® Series domes are injection molded with impact modified acrylic. The high quality and durability of the material combined with the molding process delivers a dome second to none in the industry.
18. Can a Solatube Daylighting System store light for use at night?
No, the Solatube Daylighting System only transfers the available sunlight that enters through the dome. However, the optional Light Add-On Kit may be used so that the Solatube Daylighting System doubles as a standard lighting fixture with just the flick of a switch at night.
19. Will a Solatube Daylighting System work for a mobile home?
Yes, and Solatube Daylighting Systems install easily without structural modifications. Solatube Daylighting Systems are a great solution for the dark interiors from windows shaded by carports and patio covers. A Solatube 160 DS is usually adequate since tube lengths are short.
20. Can a Solatube Daylighting System be installed through a wall?
This is not what the product was designed for and is not recommended.
21. Will a Solatube Daylighting System work with both a light and vent kit at the same time?
Yes. They can be combined with any Solatube 160DS (10”) for a 3-in-1 fixture (vent, daylighting system, electric light).