How to Install a Solar Skylight Tube

How to Install a Solar Skylight Tube

There is something relaxing about a room filled with natural light that electric lighting just can't duplicate. With a Skylight Tube from US Sunlight Solar, natural light can be captured from the roof and tunneled in to just about any room in a home. Adding natural light to rooms of your home will help cut down on the dependency of electric lighting and thus help you save money on electric bills.

The Skylight Tube installs on the roof of a home without having to make major structural changes or do any reframing. The flexible tubing that tunnels light from the roof lens to the desired household room can be extended to as much as 8 feet. When expanded 2 feet from the roof, the flexible tubing will provide enough natural light for a room 175sq/ft and when extended to 8 feet it will light a 100sq/ft room or area. Users will not have to worry about the dual layer polycarbonate roof lens breaking in inclement weather as it is 250 times stronger than its acrylic counterparts.

The ENERGY STAR® Skylight Tube uses a 3-lens configuration that blocks out heat and cold while still providing all of the natural lighting benefits. US Sunlight Solar estimates that installation of the Skylight Tube on an asphalt shingle roof should take about 2 hours for a professional or about one afternoon for a DIY'er. It is recommended that the Skylight Tube be installed on asphalt shingle roofs. Refer to the "More Info" tab on the product page for videos and a step-by-step installation guide.

  • Natural light for almost any room in a home
  • Roof lens is hail resistant and 250x stronger than acrylic competitors
  • 3 lens design lets in natural light and minimizes heat gain
  • Flexible tubing extends up to 8ft
  • Can add natural light to a room up to 175sq/ft
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

Required Tools

  • Ladder
  • Reciprocating saw or jig saw
  • Power drill with a 1/2” – 1” inch drill bit (only one needed)
  • 1 – 2” deck screw and screw bit
  • Hammer & roofing nails or self tapping galvanized screws (included)
  • Tin snips or wire cutters
  • Caulk Gun with Waterproof Roofing Sealant
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Roofing knife or box cutter
  • Flat pry bar
  • Sheetrock saw
  • Adjustable Wrench or Pliers
  • Phillips Screwdriver or Drill Bit

ATTENTION: Please consult a professional installer if you are unsure of where to locate your SkylightTube or if you do not feel comfortable with the installation process. For full installation details, please reference the included manufacturer instructions.

 

Step 1: Location of the diffuser

Determine where you wish to install the SkylightTube. From inside the attic, center a nail or piece of wire between the ceiling joists and continue it through the drywall so it is visible from the ceiling below.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Cutting out the ceiling hole

Using a string make a loop around the protruding wire or nail and measure out 7.5” from the center. Hold a pencil or pen to the string at the 7.5” mark and draw a circle measuring 15”.

Begin cutting the circle with a drywall saw as you get to the end of the cut hold on to the wire or nail to brace the material for removal.

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

Step 3: Installing the diffuser housing / Cutting the roof opening

IMPORTANT! - Do not cut through any roofing rafters or framing members. Only cut through the roof sheeting and shingles. Also, make sure there is no wiring or waterlines in the area you are cutting.

Before inserting the diffuser housing through the cut hole on ceiling, the 4 hold-down tabs should be turned inward in order to clear the hole. Then bring them out before using a power drill or screw driver to tighten the tabs. Insert the diffuser housing as shown in, and press it flush with the ceiling. Use a power drill with a Phillips head bit or a screwdriver to tighten the 4 hold down tabs, making sure that they press firmly to the Sheetrock.

From inside the attic, locate the desired position for the flashing and dome opening. Generally, directly above the ceiling opening is optimal but this position can vary depending on your particular attic conditions. Start by measuring the distance between the 2 rafters and mark the center location. You should have a minimum distance between them to allow for a 15” hole to be cut. Drive the 2” deck screw through so that it shows on the outside roof surface. From on the roof, measure 7.5” out and mark from both sides of the exposed screw, repeat this at 90 and 45 degree angles to achieve a circular pattern. Then draw in the pattern with chalk. Using a 1/2” drill bit, drill a pilot hole on the edge of the circle to fit the saw blade for cutting. Start cutting the circle with a reciprocating saw, as you reach the end of the cut secure the material by holding onto the exposed screw so it won’t fall into the attic space. Remove the disk of material and discard.

 

 

Step 4: Measure and cut the excess flex tube

From inside the attic, measure the distance from the top of the roof opening to 6” below the opening in the ceiling. Remove the flashing and dome assembly from the box but keep it in the cardboard insert. With the unit upside down, pull up the flex tube to its most extended position and mark the same distance as in the attic space.

Begin cutting the excess material first with a sharp utility knife then when you get to the end of the cut use the wire cutters or tin snips to cut through the wire.

Drop the flex tube into the roof opening, then set the flashing assembly into position and make a note of the outer footprint or mark with chalk.

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

Step 5: Remove the surrounding shingles

Once you know the outline of the flashing, remove the surrounding shingles with a pry bar. (right) Composition asphalt shingles can be installed in various sizes depending on your roof configuration so it is recommended that you remove the entire piece as you find it in the footprint of the SkylightTube flashing.

Make sure you remove enough shingles to allow the upper 2/3rds of the flashing to make direct contact with the sheathing and roof underlayment. Save all of the pieces you remove for re-installation later.

 

Step 6: Install the flashing assembly

When you are ready to install the flashing assembly, first apply a bead of waterproof caulk or roofing adhesive to the underside of the flashing base. Re-install the flex tube into the roof opening and carefully place the top of the flashing underneath the top-most row of shingles. Line up the bottom of the flashing with the shingle line and drive Screw A into the center hole on the bottom as shown in. This will allow you to fine tune the angle if necessary. Use standard 1.5” roofing nails or screws to secure the flashing in place. There are 7 positions, as shown above.

 

 

Step 7: Replace the shingles

Use a framing square to cut the replacement shingles to size. Generally, you'll want to refit each row so they overlap the flashing up to 1/2" from the inner edge of the dome frame. Trim excess material from shingles so they fit all around with the same 1/2" gap. Use roofing nails and adhesive to re-attach the shingles. For ideal fit and finish, we recommend covering the flashing with shingles, leaving only the bottom center area of the flashing exposed.

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 8: Secure the flex tube to the diffuser housing

Gently maneuver the flex tube through the diffuser housing making sure not to force it over the retaining band screw posts. You will need to compress the flex tube inward to clear each screw post as you pull it down.

It is important to not puncture the flex tube as you go through this step.

Pull the tube down through the housing until it is fully extended. It is important to pull the flex tube as tight as possible for the best light transmission.

Once the flex tube is in the desired position, poke the 3 retaining band screw posts through the flex material so they are exposed, then compress the retaining band and insert it into the flex tube. Attach the center hole of the retaining band onto one of the screw posts. Overlap the outer slots of the retaining band and attach to the corresponding post. Then hand the remaining slot onto the remaining post. Carefully attach the retaining band hardware to each post and tighten with pliers or an adjustable wrench.

 

Step 9: Trim off excess tube material and secure with foil tape

Once the retaining band is secure, trim off the excess material with a utility knife at the edge of the diffuser housing, and cut the wire with tin snips or wire cutters. Fold in the extra material over the retaining band and make sure to push it up beyond the indent on the inner edge of the housing so that the diffuser assembly will fit properly. Use the included aluminum tape to secure the extra material to the edges. Try to tape it down as smooth as possible.

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 10: Insert diffuser assembly and trim ring

Once the foil tape is installed, re-check to make sure there is no material covering the indent then insert the diffuser assembly as shown. Use a flat head screwdriver to flip the 4 hold-down tabs inward to secure the diffuser assembly in position. Finally, install the trim ring by lining up the inner tabs with the guides then pressing it flush against the diffuser housing. Turn clockwise to secure.

Watch step-by-step instructional videos here.

 

 

 

Finished!

Note: Once the SkylightTube is installed it requires no maintenance. However, you may wish to rinse off the dome annually to keep it clear of any residual dirt or debris.

 

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