Are you planning to install solar tubes for your house or office? Certainly, you’ll want to know the solar tube costs so you can plan and budget well enough. So, how much will the whole installation process cost? Are there solar tube packages for homeowners on a budget?
Solar tubes (sun tunnels, tubular skylights, or sun tubes) are gaining nationwide popularity as people try to cut on daytime fuel prices. They offer a good source of free healthy natural light to your home.
The solar tube’s dome captures light and channels it into the tubes that have a polished interior. Sunlight reflects in the interior walls of the tube on its way to the ceiling. Here, it meets lenses or a diffuser that disperses it evenly around the room.
How much is a solar tube?
If you want to purchase a solar tube, you have to be ready to part with about $200. But, that depends on the size and brand.
Various sun tube brands operate on distinct principles. For instance, some have metallic tubes, while others are plastic. Some domes are laminated glass, while others are acrylic or polycarbonate.
Diffusers can also be glass or transparent synthetic fiber. Some advanced varieties even have an optic fiber instead of a tube.
These features influence the cost of purchasing a solar tube.
Solar Tube Installation Costs
If you install the solar tube yourself, you’ll need about $150-$250. DIY saves you cash, but you have to be ready to obtain the professional skills required. And, you must have the installation tool and equipment.
To install a solar tube, you need to drill holes in the ceiling and the roof. Then, fix the dome and flashings at the roof and diffuser at the ceiling end. Then, connect the two holes with the tubes, and you’ll be good to go!
If you have any problem implementing the installation, look at our comprehensive step-by-step guide on installing a solar tube.
If you decide to seek professional assistance, the cost of installing a solar tube will range from $500 and $1000. The pricing depends on the brand you buy, labor, and the agency that installs for you.
Solar Tube Maintenance Costs
Good news- seldom will you need to repair your solar tube! If you have the high-end tunnels, they’ll stand in place for long without any maintenance.
In a year or so, you may want to clean the diffuser and the dome. And, cleaning your solar tube would take you less than an hour.
If you’re hiring someone for routine maintenance, it will not go over $75.
Solar Tube Rebates, Credits, and Tax Reliefs
According to federal law, you can get up to 26% in tax credit if you install solar tubes. Respective states also have their rebates and other tax cuts for anyone willing to go solar.
The government wants more homeowners to embrace green power. So, they chip in to make the prices of purchasing and installing solar appliances and systems lower.
The 22% to 26% tax credit typically applies to the materials purchased and installation costs. Your tube’s features must be solar-powered to qualify for the credits.
For instance, you could have blinds powered by solar. Upon verification of the costs you incur, you can claim the credits.
Factors That Influence Solar Tube Costs
Several factors determine how much you spend on solar tubes. Your location, the package you choose, and your house design will directly influence the overall cost of installing a solar tube.
Solar tube companies have different packages that suit your budget. The cost of installation will depend on the package you choose.
If you have a constrained budget, it’ll cost you about $200-$400 to have a solar fixture shining on your ceiling. But, you’ll have to put up with the all size, no light capture technology, and overall low performance. Lower packages are popular among builders with budget constraints and those who buy from local hardware stores.
The price of the mid-range solar tube installation package is about $450 to $900. These tubes are bigger than those in the DIY package, and the domes are designed to capture more light. Domes have enhanced optical qualities to capture more sunlight.
Then, the highest-end package comes with several features and customization abilities. The cost of installing a high-end solar tube is about $900-$1500. It’s the largest, cutest, and most durable of the three installations. So, it’s no wonder that it is the best performer of the three.
Table showing the Solar Tube Costs per Package
|Package Type||Features||Installation Cost|
|Budget/DIY Package||Basic, Lower performance||$150-$250|
|Mid-range Package||Improved light capture, Better performance||$450-$900|
|High-end Package||Advanced, Best performance||$900-$1500|
Some jurisdictions offer massive tax cuts while others don’t. Find out how much your state will provide you with in terms of rebates or tax reliefs.
How much will it cost to install a solar tube in the basement or lower floors of my house?
The simple answer is- the same as the cost of installing in your upper floors, plus the cost of using longer tubes. You can channel the sunlight through several floors of a building.
The price of a reflective extension tube is about $50 a few feet. Calculate the length you want to cover and purchase accordingly.
However, it means you have to drill the floors in search of ample space to accommodate the tubes. Seek technical assistance to help you know how you can make the solar tube shine in your basement.
Some technicians might show you how you can install it through the existing plumbing, wiring a wall, and HVAC ducts. Others might advise you to take the tubing through the exterior walls of your building without drilling an inch of your concrete columns.
And, in a more advanced technique, the agency you’re working with can use the miniature fiber optic cables that will run from your roof to whichever floor you want the sunlight to shine.
Does a solar tube produce more light than an electric bulb?
One of the benefits of using solar tubes as your home’s lighting solution is their ability to provide high-quality light. An ordinary electric bulb consumes 100W of power. However, the light output from a solar tube can be equivalent to about 300W from an electric bulb.
300 watts of natural light is enough to light up a whole 200 square feet of a study room. And, if you increase the size of your solar dome, you’d have more brightness.
Where’s the best part of my house to install a solar tube?
Any part of your house can have a solar tube. Tubular skylights don’t require any advanced interior redecoration. The lights look just like the standard electric fixture, and they are adaptable in any part of your home.
You, however, don’t want to place your skylight above your computer or other screens as the glare can be irritating.
The best places to have sun tube is in your:
- Laundry room
Does my house really need a solar tube?
While the world’s fuel prices continue to soar, solar tubes will hand you a drastic reduction in daytime power bills. If you feel your house deserves natural light (and I believe it does), you’ll undoubtedly find them good.
Check whether your roof has enough space that can support a solar tube. And, this doesn’t have to be your home- it could be your workplace too!
Inspect your attic and confirm if there is enough space and suitable conditions for installing solar tubes in your home. If need be, consult a solar professional. If anything stands in the tube’s way, the expert will guide and advise you appropriately. The installation agency may decide to remove or avoid the item blocking your tubes.
See the good and bad of solar tubes, and make a prudent decision.
● Little or no maintenance required
● You can’t watch the sky.