[Explored] What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting? 

Nowadays, solar tube lighting has become one of the popular choices for naturally lit living environments. It’s a convenient alternative to the traditional skylight. Another reason for the popularity of solar tubes is, they are cost-effective, offer easy installation, and last but not least, provide bright and natural white light.

Undoubtedly, solar tube is a great option but it has some limitations that you should be aware of before buying them. For example, the solar tube is suitable for every home and you won’t get much variety in the design of the solar tube.

In this article, we have shared the drawbacks of the solar tube. So, fasten your seat belt, and let’s dive in to learn about the shortcomings of solar tube lighting.

What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting

The Shortcomings of Solar Tube Lighting

To cut off electricity bills, a solar tube is a great option. By using a solar tube, you can save energy as well as money. Though solar tube provides a lot of advantages, it has a few shortcomings as well. If you are willing to buy solar tubes for your home or workspace, then you should know the drawbacks of this. 

1. Solar Tube Isn’t Compatible with Every Type of Home

Unfortunately, the solar tube isn’t compatible with every type of home roof. If your home has a flat or steep roof then the standard solar tube won’t be installed there. For installing a solar tube on your home roof, it must have a slope of 15 to 60 degrees. However, you can find solar tubes for flat roofs but they are hard to be found and the installation process is complicated.

Moreover, the solar tube is designed for roofs that are made of asphalt shingles or wood. If your home is made of metals or tiles then you will need to use an adaptor in that case. 

2. Ventilation Issue while Using Solar Tube

Compared to the skylight, the solar tube failed to provide ventilation. The lighting of the solar tube can’t be opened to release the heat as well as air won’t come in either. So, if your room hasn’t enough ventilation then a Solar tube won’t be a wise choice.

3. Lack of Lighting Control

Another drawback is, there won’t be a switch or something for controlling the light brightness. The brightness of the light will depend on the sun. But you can use a dimming kit to control the brightness which will cost you extra bucks. 

4. Have a Single Energy Source

The solar tube uses a single energy source. For that, during bad weather, you won’t get enough light through it. So, if you are willing to use solar tubes then you will need to store energy for using it in bad weather.

5. Won’t Get a Lot of Solar Tube Design Styles

If you have seen the skylight, then you must have noticed that it gives you the flexibility to pick a design for your home. But when it comes to solar tubes, there you won’t get a lot of designs. So, if you are willing to have the solar tube for aesthetic purposes, it will surely disappoint you.

6. Can Create too Much Noise

On a breezy day, the solar tubes that come with additional aluminum reflectors create noises. Suppose, you are sleeping and at night it starts creating noise. 

7. Thermosiphon and Water Condensation Issue

If you are living in an area that has a high-humidity environment then moist air will get into the solar tube. For this, inside the solar tube, there will be water condensation. Because of this, the lifespan of the solar tube will be decreased as well as the water can leaks into your room and cause efflorescence on your room’s wall.

Also, in the winter season, there you might face thermosiphon issues. The installed pipe of the solar tube can reduce the room’s R-value by leaking the temperature.

Additionally, if you own a smaller house, then you may have issues while installing. The solar tube takes up a lot of space while installing and it may hamper the aesthetic view of your house. Also, you won’t be able to enjoy the sky view from your room.

Things You Should Follow to Encounter the Shortcomings of Solar Tube Lighting

However, you won’t be able to encounter all of the mentioned shortcomings of the solar tube but you can encounter the necessary ones. 

  • For controlling the light, you can use a dimming kit. 
  • If the room’s temperature is leaking or water is coming through the tube, then seal the gaps around the light tube at the ceiling and at the roof plane. You can use caulk. 
  • Use R-15 batt insulation to wrap the light pipe.
  • Before buying, make sure the tube has a lens and a gasket.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – FAQs

Do solar tubes cause roof leaks?

Actually, the answer is no. The solar tube doesn’t cause roof leaks. Due to the dome at the top of it and the proper installation of it, water couldn’t pass through the tube.

Do solar tubes add heat?

Though the solar tubes use aluminum which is known as a great heat conductor it doesn’t add that much heat. And it won’t add any additional heat to your room. Spectralight technology has been used here which helps to reduce the heat.

Do solar tubes block UV?

Yes, solar tube block UV rays. Special UV inhibitors are used in the dome of the solar tube that blocks UV rays.


Lastly, here are the notable shortcomings of the solar tubes. But if you don’t have issues with these drawbacks or can encounter them then for green light, solar tube is the best option for you. Less installation cost with great efficiency. So, hope that it will help you to take your decision. Install it and enjoy naturally lit living environments today!

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