A sun tunnel can be a great option for bringing natural light into your home. But what exactly is it, and how is it different than a skylight?

What is a sun tunnel?

A sun tunnel is essentially a small window–typically 10” or 14”–that is installed on your roof. Light enters through a weather proof, UV resistant, plastic dome. It then travels through a reflective tube of sheet metal. The sheet metal acts similar to a mirror, allowing light to bounce through. It ends in a diffuser in your ceiling, which spreads the light throughout your space.

What are the benefits of a sun tunnel?

  • It allows for natural light in dark and isolated spaces in your home—including places where windows, and even skylights, are not an option. They work well in bathrooms, hallways, closets, offices, etc.
  • It is an inexpensive way to add natural light to your home. Sun tunnels cost less than traditional skylights, and can save you a lot in energy costs—especially in areas like a bathroom where lights are regularly turned on and off. Additionally, many are also eligible for tax credits of up to 30%.
  • A sun tunnel takes up very little space on your roof and ceiling.
  • It is a sealed system that is well insulated. This means that there is not much heating or cooling loss.

Why is there a dome at the top?

The domed top of the sun tunnel captures more light than a flat surface. While the flat surface can sometimes reflect light, the dome causes the light to refract and enter the reflective tube. The dome is recommended, and the most popular choice, but homeowners do have the option of a flat look as well.

Should I choose a skylight or sun tunnel?

It depends on the size of your space, its location in the house, your aesthetic preferences, and your budget. One thing to note is that sun tunnels do not open, and so if ventilation is a serious consideration for you, they would not be the best option.

Things to keep in mind…

  1. The sun tunnel is carefully installed to not comprise the integrity of your roof. The sheet metal tubing comes in two varieties to allow for different installation needs:
    • Flexible
      • This allows for installation without access to an attic or crawlspace.
      • It is best for short distances.
      • Because the material allows for bending and manipulation, it does not allow for as much light to enter the home as rigid tubing.
    • Rigid
      • Best reflects and allows for maximum light in your home.
  2. You can add an LED light kit to your diffuser.
    • Many are solar powered.
    • This will allow you to use the sun tunnel as a traditional light when it is dark outside
  3. You can also add decorative diffusers.
    • A standard sun tunnel diffuser is flush with the ceiling. If you choose for a more decorative look, you have many options.
  4. You can install more than one.

Sun tunnels can make a world of difference in your home! To learn more, and for a free residential review and estimate, contact us at 585-400-7663 or office@400roof.com.