Which Sun Tunnel ?

OldBiker650August 22, 2013

Doing a new kitchen and need more light.... thinking about a sun tunnel (two 10" actually). Which brand?

I need to have a dimmer on there--next to family room + TV. I also want a good air seal, metal roof flashing, and general longevity for something that gets attached to the roof. I will do all the work myself.

So far, I know of Solatube, Velox, ODL, SunPipe, and Natural Light Energy (NLTubular). Any experience with these brands?

For some reason, the last one is most appealing, so far... nice dimmer and seems fairly robust, at least on paper.

Cheers, Shawn

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We moved to Florida a year ago and found the house dark. We installed Tubular Skylights in a few rooms including a bathroom. I love them, although ours does not have a dimmer. I'm not sure why you would want that unless you put them in a bedroom.

They are not the greatest looking but they provide so much light it is unbelievable. We have them for a year and no leaking. What I liked was that these can be installed around beams, duct work, etc. They don't have to go straight up and can go around barriers.


Here is a link that might be useful: This is who we used

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 12:21AM
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We put two 10" Solatubes in our dining room a couple of years ago, and I love them! My dream was to be able to sit at the table and read the paper without turning on the light. Score! I love how the moonlight shines through, and they provide a warm glow on the roof from the outside at night.

I didn't install them myself, though they are advertised as DIY. I get a little nervous messing with the roof, so I had a contractor friend install them for me.

I've never seen one with a dimmer.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:47AM
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I've seen both Velux & Solartubes installed well
with great results. I liked the flashing of the
velux better though. haven't seen dimmer though!

do you have links to your prefrences?

best of luck.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:31AM
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We put in Velux tubes with dimmers in our bedroom several years ago. We loved them, but the dimmers did not work well, at all. They made a very slight difference in the amount of light coming in - certainly not worth what I paid for them! However, there isn't much glare from the tubes, so I think your TV-watching will be fine.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Thanks for all the info. I am still a wee bit unsure about which brand... which means I will punt on the whole thing until the kitchen is done--I can always put one in afterwards.

I do wonder whether the extra natural light would be worth a) the cost, b) hassle, c) risk of leakage, and d) potential thermal loss.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 3:21AM
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Here is a photo of our dining room, with two 10" Solatubes. We're in the early stages of a kitchen remodel, hence the cabinets all over the floor, and lovely metal shelving! But the light is the point here.

There are no lights on. There is a patio door on the left, but the light in the room is coming from the ceiling. Look at the shadows on the back wall, and on the floor in front of the cabinets. They don't show in the picture, but the skylights are on each side of the light fixture. Natural light - check!

Hassle was minimal for us. I have a friend who is a contractor, and he did the installation for me. Al I had to do was move the table and chairs out of the way. I don't know how long it actually took, but it was done when I got home from work that day. I think he charged me $300 (plus the cost of the units).

Ours have been in for 3 years; no leaks.

And we live in North Dakota, where it gets darn cold in the winter. I haven't see evidence of heat loss, but we got new windows the same summer, so I don't have any way of comparing.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:48PM
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We had 2 SolaTubes installed in our last house, liked 'em so well we added a 3rd. The dealer installed them, no hassle for us, but it looked like it would certainly be something someone handier than I am could handle.

10 years, no leaks. We did notice that the air right at the lens was warmer, but not as warm as a ceiling light. It was very well sealed. That was 13 years ago, and there is even better technology and features in them now.

I don't think I would be concerned about total light dimmers for this purpose. Do you have to close the kitchen blinds and turn out all the lights to watch TV now? Half the year it's dark when you're watching p.m. TV anyway. Since the screen is not actually facing the light, as it's diffused from above, there shouldn't be glare.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:37AM
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