Light tubes / Sunpipes. Useful in the home?

Sun pipes or light tubes are effectively holes in your roof connected to a ceiling inside. They are designed to bring in natural light into otherwise dark areas of a building. This is of course the best quality light free of charge when the sun is up. So it all sounds great. And it can be, however there are some points to bear in mind and some simple tips that can make a world of difference.

Firstly, how often are you at home during the day. For many people are at work, school etc when the sun is shining and the light pouring in. Weekends for most are different and the light provided by the sun tube can be tremendous. So weighing up cost vs usefulness is important

Secondly, there is a huge difference in quality dependent on which system you buy. Please don’t be fooled by the cheap flexible tube varieties that are on the market. Yes they are cheap, but unless you are doing the absolute minimum distance between roof and ceiling I would not entertain them. So anything more than 1m distance I would avoid this type and look at the solid tubes. These again have different reflective indexes, so if you are really short on light and want to maximise it then make sure that you are ask about this and get the appropriate one.

Thirdly, you can make sun tubes into light fittings. So when the sun isn’t shining one can still use the fitting as a light.

Fourthly, be aware that you are effectively putting a thermal bridge between the ceiling and the roof. If your loft is insulated at ceiling level then ensure that you wrap up the tube in the loft with some sort of insulation to minimise the heat losses.

Fifthly, there are systems that are specifically designed for bathrooms that have extractors built into them. So if you are ‘lighting up’ a loo then you can have a system that provides you with a light fitting and extractor all in one.

Hope that this helps.