Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Solatube FAQ page! To quickly find answers to your questions, click a topic in the side menu or enter a question in the search box below. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us your question directly by contacting us.
Are Solatube Daylighting Systems maintenance-free?
The Solatube® Daylighting System features passive daylighting technology that does not rely on moving parts, making it virtually maintenance-free. All assemblies (dome, flashing, tubing, diffuser) have seals to prevent bug and dirt infiltration. In addition, the dome and flashing are designed to eliminate debris build-up. Unlike traditional skylights, that need periodic cleaning and inspection, the Solatube Daylighting System does not require ongoing maintenance.
Will a Solatube Daylighting System work in cold climates and northern latitudes?
Our products feature dome optics that help collect low-angle sunlight, which is extremely important in northern latitudes. As a result, Solatube® Daylighting Systems have performed successfully in cold weather climates like the Northern U.S.A., Canada, and Northern Europe for more than 20 years.
Are there any issues with leaks?
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.
For more information, see the “Flashing” menu in the Product Selection Guides for our specific daylighting product.
Can Solatube Daylighting Systems tolerate very heavy rain?
Yes, all Solatube® Daylighting Systems are designed with features that prevent water from entering the system. The round shape of the domes themselves prevent water from collecting on the surface.
In addition, the circular and seamless, one-piece design of the self-flashing systems allows rain runoff to naturally flow past the daylighting system. As a result, the flashing has no weak points that could separate and allow water to enter. However, an optional turret extension may be added to raise the dome above the roof deck where required.
For curb-mounted applications, the height of the curb would raise the dome sufficiently to avoid any rain runoff. The curb itself (made by others) would typically incorporate a water diverter (cricket) for sloped roof applications.
How durable is the Solatube Daylighting System?
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.
We have specific product configurations that can meet High Velocity Hurricane Zone requirements as well as OSHA fall protection standards and military anti-terrorism blast requirements. Click here to view our code compliance report for specific test standards.
Is there a way to turn off or “block out” a Solatube Daylighting System?
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. Designed for both residential and commercial applications, it’s perfect for bedrooms, family rooms, offices, classrooms and conference rooms. The Daylight Dimmer is available for the Solatube Daylighting System 160 DS and 290 DS, the Solatube Smart LED™ System, and the Solatube SolaMaster® 330 DS and 750 DS. The Daylight Dimmer can also be integrated with an overall lighting control system. For more details, click here for the Daylight Dimmer Integration Guide.
What is seasonal consistency and why is it important?
The ability of a tubular daylighting device to capture low-angled winter light may differ significantly from its ability to capture high-angled summer light. The ratio of summer to winter light output can be an indicator of the product’s effectiveness in delivering (or not delivering) consistent light throughout the course of a year. Solatube® Daylighting Systems will produce uniform levels of output regardless of season (or climatic conditions), resulting in steady and reliable interior illumination despite variations in exterior conditions or seasonal changes in the daylighting resource.
On what roof types can Solatube Daylighting Systems be installed?
Solatube® Daylighting Systems can be installed on practically any roof type. We offer numerous roof mount options for both self-mounted and curb-mounted applications. For details, see our Product Selection Guides for residential and commercial applications.
What is the approximate light coverage of a Solatube Daylighting System?
For Residential applications
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)
- Solatube Smart LED™ System* (10 in. / 250 mm) – up to 250 sq. ft (23 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
For Commercial applications
Please consult a Solatube Commercial Representative as acceptable illuminated areas will vary greatly due to ceiling heights and space uses. Our commercial experts are well-versed in application-specific Solatube design and light analysis for both new and retrofit projects.
Where can Solatube Daylighting Systems be installed?
The better question is where can’t they be installed? Solatube® Daylighting Systems have been installed in virtually every type of residential and commercial application. See our residential and commercial showcases for examples.