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What Is The Difference Between A Sun Tunnel And A Skylight?

Skylights or Sun Tunnels?

Do you dream of a home or office drenched in natural light? Adding more natural light helps you be more productive, happier, healthier and calmer. Installing skylights and sun tunnels can reduce the effects of certain afflictions, such as winter depression and seasonal affective disorder. And adding natural light saves on energy bills.

A skylight or a sun tunnel is a beautiful way to add natural light without doing major renovations. Your first thought might be to install a skylight, but a sun tunnel might also be a viable, cost-effective option, especially in places where a skylight might not be practical.

Sun Tunnels

A sun tunnel, also called a solar tube, is like a funnel that pours natural light from the roof into an interior room. Sun tunnels bring natural sunlight to spaces where skylights are impractical, such as closets, dark hallways, laundry rooms, and bathrooms.

The sun tunnel is a sheet-metal tube with a polished interior which acts as a continuous mirror to channel light along its entire length. Sunlight enters a metallic tube through a clear covering protruding from your roof.

Sun Tunnels in a windowless room

On your roof, the sun tunnel is capped by a weather-proof acrylic dome. The tube ends in a diffuser in the ceiling of the room below. The diffuser looks like a porthole or a recessed light. The dome gathers light from the outside and the diffuser spreads the light into the room.

While you won’t get a view of the sky like you would with a skylight, sun tunnels are much lower in cost and easy-to-install. Sun tunnels take up very little space on your roof and minimize heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.

Some sun tunnels can be used with solar night lights. Sunlight is captured for use at night through a solar charged battery. This produces a gorgeous soft light at night, without using electricity.


Skylights brighten any room during the day. They are especially welcome in the Pacific Northwest where winters can be dark, rainy and overcast. Skylights also add beautiful natural light to bathrooms that have no windows. You won’t need to use as many lights during the day when you have a skylight, which saves on your electric bill. If you have a small or cramped room, adding a skylight will make the room feel significantly larger and provides a full, unobstructed view of the sky.

Skylight adds even more light to a room

Adding the natural warmth of sunlight during the chilly winter can cut down on your electric bill. But on cloudy days, you may experience more heat loss than gain. Newer skylights help prevent too much heat loss by using Low-E glass and blinds.

In warmer weather, some skylights have remote controls to open them up, allowing for greater air flow and better ventilation. Heat rises, so on a stuffy day, opening the skylight and allowing the stale air to escape is a blessing.

When working or relaxing at home, skylights and sun tunnels provide more natural light to brighten your mood and make you feel more energetic. It is one of the best changes you can make to add beauty to your home as well as improve the health and well being of those living within.

Whether you choose a sun tunnel or a skylight, it is best to hire a professional who knows how to install and repair existing installations. Pfeifer Roofing has the experience and knowledge to properly install your sun tunnel or skylight to prevent leaks and to provide energy efficiency.

Ready to consult with an expert? We offer a free consultation!

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