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toyobug 09-24-08 05:44 AM

"Solatube" lighting..
Does anyone here have any experience / insight to installing one of these?

Solatube Brighten Up Series us great for every room you are considering for a skylight

Looks like an excellent way to cut down on my electric bill, so I would like to install a few.

Daox 09-24-08 08:16 AM

Looks like a good idea for adding light and not loosing as much heat as long as it is sealed at the ceiling. I have no experience with them though.

Sandy 09-24-08 09:47 AM

A friend of mine (yes, I do have some) had one of those installed.
They have a narrow corridor type kitchen, and it lets in light so they don't need the normal lights on except at night,
and he was surprised at how little light outside it took to brighten up the room.
Even in the darker evening, it gathers the light and helps considerably.
I don't see these (yet) at the diy stores.
Only by dealers/installers.

toyobug 09-24-08 10:24 AM

Sandy- did you install them yourself? If so how easy / difficult? What type of sealant did you use inside and out?

My house has a "sunroom" added to the rear. approx. 20'X20'. Access to the room is through the back door which is in my dining room. Needless to say the dining room window looks out into this room, which hinders natural light from coming in. It is a dark room even during the brightest part of the day. I would like to put two in there and One in my hallway.
I've closed in the sunroom and made it into a fourth bedroom, with a back foyer area to access the backyard through the "new" rear door.

Daox 09-24-08 12:59 PM

The more I think about this, the more I like it toyobug. I too have my living room that is blocked by my sunroom. We are actually repainting it in the near future just to brighten up the room. It is currently a fairly dark red color and we are going with a lighter blue/grey on two walls and cream color on the other two. Anyway, the solatube might be perfect for this room! The only problem I see is that I'd have a fairly long horizontal stretch to get into the room. The solatube could go out the west end of the room and up through the covered porches roof or south to the roof of the sunroom. I don't think this should be a problem though?

toyobug 09-25-08 07:25 AM

Judging the picture on the right side of the screen on this link:
Solatube Daylighting Systems for homeowner projects are the smart alternative solution to traditional skylights
It looks like the tube reflects the light. I wouldn't think that a horizontal run would matter much. How long of a horizontal stretch are you talking about? Do you have the ability to run it through some sort of attic or access above the ceiling over the sunroom and living room? I just looked at the pictures you posted in your intro, and it looks like you do have some space between the ceiling and roof over both the sunroom and covered porch. I would go for it.
I have a ranch style house, so my installation would be be straight forward. I'm hoping to hear something from Sandy, to get an idea what you or I will be up against.
I will be home from Iraq on vacation again in Dec. My "plan" is to install them then. I say "plan" because you never know what the wife may have "planned" LOL!

toyobug 09-25-08 08:15 AM

If you attempt it before I do, the only thing I would suggest is LOTS of pre-measuring!

Found this info Daox:

Can a Solatube Daylighting System work for the first floor of a two-story house?--
"Yes, if there is a closet, existing chase, or place for the tubes to run through the house from the roof to the first floor.
A Solatube 290 DS is recommended due to the long distance from the roof. Usually a chase is built around the unit for added protection."

This sounds like the horizontal route isn't preferred. Look on the site under the FAQS. That's where I found the question above.

Sandy 09-25-08 10:31 AM

I haven't installed one (yet).
From what I've read so far,
they're only dealer installed.
One would guess, that they could be diy installed if you can get them,
or make one with a sky light, some shiny metal, and ingenuity.

Daox 09-25-08 10:38 AM

FYI I looked up the local dealer for me. It looks like they do offer to sell you just the parts. Its not cheap though.

Brighter Concepts Solatube Price List

I also emailed my step father (general handyman and DIYer) to see if he has heard of them. This is what he said:
"I have seen them. Gary and Brenda have one in their upstairs Bathroom. They do add light but nowhere near what a window does. A great option for a room without a window such as a bathroom. From what I've seen, are a bit of work to install. Especially since you need to cut open the roof and then are faced with flashing and sealing that opening."

toyobug 09-25-08 10:49 AM

Daox, I've seen them for as cheap as $250 for the 10"
I'll dig thru my favorites and find that site.
I'm not discouraged yet, I think I may still try at least one install to see for myself how well they work. Providing I find the correct site for the cheaper ones.

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