What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Let the sun shine in

Now the truth can be told (okay, I finally got around to taking photos), but here is the surprise I had for Bette. While she was gone I installed two 14" solar tubes in our living room ceiling. See, our living room/dining room (actually our whole house) doesn't have a southern facing window. As a result, it's normally dark in our house. So dark that even on bright days outside we need to turn on a light to read.

When I put in the solar tube for our one bathroom (no windows) the result was fantastic. We had talked about having skylights installed, but all the quotes we got were pretty hefty, and we weren't sure that the results would be what we wanted (skylights offer a better view, some more light, but also introduce a greater chance of leaking and loss of heat). So we thought, we'll, we could put in 2 solar tubes and see how that worked out (actually, we planned for 4). When I went into the attic in March (when it was warm, but not 90 degrees), I quickly became stumped on just how to get onto the cathedral ceiling to do the installation. I finally was able to come up with a plan a few weeks ago. And fortunately, enough of that plan survived the actual implementation that I could get over and leverage myself up to the cathedral ceiling area.

I should have taken photos up there to show you what I had to go through to get these installed. Let's just say for a 6' 3" 300 pound person, it was a tight fit. My knees still hurt and I have scratches on my back from the roofing nails. The tubes (two of them, one locks to the ceiling, and is dropped from the roof flashing) allow up to a 48" of length without having to add an extender kit. Subtract from that 9+" for the ceiling joists (2) and wood I need to crawl over, plus the 6 or so inches above the roof line (on the downhill slope side) for the flashing on the roof, and there was plenty of room for overlap of the two tubes (about 8" or so). That's the space I had to fit into and work on these, in an attic with poor ventilation (read that as stifling hot), having gone through blown in insulation and now over fiberglass insulation (yep, I wore a mask, which just added to the problem). And besides getting to the actual site I had to deal with electrical wiring (which forced me to place these higher up on the ceiling than I had planned). Now you may know why I was complaining about being sore the past two weeks.

So we now have some decent light in the living room. Heck, we may actually be able to have plants in the living room other than deep shade varieties.

My only real complaint (other than the second one was a real bitch to get put together, and I thought it would be the easier of the two as it wasn't the one I had to crawl the farthest to get to) is that even though they're the same model form the same manufacturer purchased from the same store (half a week apart, the had 3 the first time and 2 the second, so I don't think there was a restocking), they don't have the same diffuser. I can deal with the difference of the tubes (one had a definite order to which tube was on the bottom, the other one had interchangeable tubes), but the diffuser difference bothers me. The rings have different shapes (one is thicker and more rounded), both have the honeycomb glass showing, but the thicker ringed on also has a lens on top of that. ODL, I'm not sure why you did that, but it's annoying to have to buy an extra diffuser to get them to match. Before I do make that purchase, I'll try their customer support and see if I can trade one (personally, I'd prefer the diffuser with the lens as I think that does a better job).


vince said...

Blogger ate my first comment, but may yet barf it back up. Anyway, I like those. Having more sunlight in your home is a good thing.

Steve Buchheit said...

Ain't it the truth.