Monday, June 2, 2008

Let There Be Light


Our second bathroom is a dark little place. It boasts no windows for the sun to peer through and rests far from the lit gleam of bedrooms and the family room. No doubt gnomes and trolls lurk in its unlit corners, or at least that's what the kids must think when they tear into the bathroom, turning on every light in a 30 foot radius.

Over Memorial Day weekend, my ever handy husband took it upon himself to install a tubular skylight. We'd watched an episode of Living with Ed where Ed Begley, Jr. had a few installed in his house. I remember reading that the Dervaes wanted one as well. That puts us in the "in" crowd, no?

Installing the solar tube took my husband the good part of a Sunday. I'm sure he could give more detailed instructions of what he did but, from my vantage point, he read the reportedly simple directions, crawled in and out of the attic a number of times, scaled the roof half a dozen times, cut some holes in the roof, some holes in the bathroom ceiling, slide the tube and cover in, and got a whole heck of a lot of dust all over the bathroom.



The tubular skylight kit cost about $179. Add in $99 because allegedly Home Depot does not rent jigsaws (Note to Self: Do Not Send Husband to Home Depot Alone). What do you end up with?
Me running into the bathroom all week thinking the kids left the light on.
Will we save a ton of dough? A bunch of electricity? Will it balance out the environmental impact of new material used to create the skylight? I don't know. We don't use the light in that bathroom a ton. It is, however, one of the few fixtures for which I could never find a CFL bulb so it still sports an incandescent bulb. Further, the boys were always leaving that light on. In the entire week since my husband installed the skylight, we've turned the bathroom light on twice - both times late at night. Now, the bathroom is perpetually lit up by the sun and stays that way until 8pm or so. The light peeks out into the hallway as well so we are not turning that light on as much either.
All in all, it seems like a bright little solution for a dark room.

21 comments:

Daphne said...

I had to laugh. I did the same thing when my neighbors remodeled and installed a porch light. When it is on it looks like my laundry room light was left on and I keep running downstairs to turn it off, only to find it is already off.

katecontinued said...

How great for you. I just read the best bit of history yesterday about prism lights used for this purpose prior to electrical lighting. This Treehugger link and this link are both fascinating.

Once electricity came - these wonderful glass innovations were abandoned - to our great loss.

Wendy said...

I would love to have some tube lights. I can think of, at least, four rooms that could benefit from sunlight exposure during the day: my livingroom, the kitchen, my girls' bedroom, both of our bathrooms ... I guess that's five ;).

How did you say you'd convinced your husband to install those lights?

eco 'burban mom said...

Oh, my... You have seen the light! Now, can you help my DH see his way to the home depot for this kit for my house? He already has a jig saw though, I wonder what other tool he will "need" to get the job done! :o) Funny how that works out, isn't it? New skylight for you, new tool for him! Ah, well, I guess it's fair. Imagine what you would have paid someone to install it for you!

Crunchy Chicken said...

I've been wanting to install a million of those around the house, especially since it's so gray 80% of the year. Except we lack any and all skill to do it ourselves.

Nice work!

pink dogwood said...

what a great idea, why didn't I ever think of this?

JAM said...

Wow - can you rent out your husband to pay for that jigsaw? I'd love some too. Here's my progress on book reports so far - I can see I'm not nearly as detailed as others, but maybe it will let people know if they want to try the book...
http://belmontmom.blogspot.com/2008/06/book-reviews.html
I don't know how to do the link so it looks better yet - sorry...

Theresa said...

I've got a bathroom that would benefit from such a thing as well. Is the tube going up through the attic insulated at all? I have this idea that it might lead to some heat loss somehow, if it wasn't insulated or airtight or something. But I really have no clue about such things.

CindyW said...

My neighbor has two of those tube lights. They look so cool that I want them all over my house - hallway, kitchen, living room. My neighbor had professional folks do the installation. I did not know that a handy person could complete the task on his/her own. Pencil it down on the to-do list for my husband. I'd like to do it myself, except I may get too enthusiastic and cut out too many holes on the ceiling. Thanks for sharing.

Beany said...

I didn't even know that such things existed! I have to file this away in case we wind up with a traditional living space like a house. Looks professionally done too!

kendra said...

That's great! I could think of about a dozen places in our house where we could use those. Some places in our house are so dark. If you don't mind, please send your husband up here next weekend. :)

Gruppie Girl said...

That looks amazing!

I vaguely remember that episode of Living With Ed. Someone famous installed a few tubular skylights in his home...right?

Damn all of my windows! A skylight would be a fun new toy.

Domestic Accident said...

Oh, that's so cool. I've been thinking of one of those in mudroom because it's very dungeon-ish. You did neglect to mention how much cussing was involved in the installation...

Robj98168 said...

These are sooo cool. I have wanted one in my bathroom for awhile now. Guess I will have to to keep up with the Beans!

Going Crunchy said...

Kick ass! That is a great idea!

Verde said...

I don't know about "in". I know that the Penn. Amish use them and that the elderly lady I visited this week in the next town over had them all over.

I do so want one for a similar dark spot where we always have to flip a switch.

Heather @ SGF said...

Cool! We've been talking about putting some of those in too. Although I think we're waiting until we re-do our roof. Good job!

Kellie & Marc said...

Way cool - we saw that episode too and wanted to test these out. Luckily our new house has windows galore so the hub has no excuse for new tools. :)

Kristin H. said...

Brilliant. I love this idea and wish we could do ours (we have an attic separating us from the roof.) I remember being in my chiropractors office in California and looking up at the ceiling. It ocurred to me that there were no light bulbs in the office. everything was lit by skylights. Great idea.

Green Bean said...

Daphne: Glad i'm not alone!

Kate: How cool!! I'd never heard of prism lights but they sound awesome. So many great technologies were abandoned in the 19th and 20th centuries when we began to rely more on fossil fuels!

Wendy: My husband loves to do that kind of stuff - just rarely has the time. I'm now trying to get him to figure out some sort of grey water system.

Eco Burbs: Too true. It would have cost that much and more to have someone install it.

Crunchy: Finally! Something you can't do yet . . . we'll lend you the jig saw. Now get up there on that attic, girl. ;-)

Jam: Briliant idea! (I'll check out the book reviews in a sec)

Theresa: No clue whether it would lead to heat loss. I'm inclined to think no as it seems well insulated but, in any event, ours is in a very interior room and we're in nor California so not quite as chilly as Canada.

Cindy: Honestly, it was one of the easier projects my husband has tackled. We're now trying to figure where else we could add some.

Kendra: Per Jam's idea, I'll be renting him out for this project at all of your homes!

Gruppie: Yeah, Ed did one in his kitchen and one in his bathroom in one episode and in another they had some famous guy, why am I blanking on his name, who did one in their basement or something crazy. He said it is not supposed to work that far down but it did!

Beany: Thanks! It does look really good. :)

Domestic Accident: Honestly, no swearing! Now, I grew up with a father who swore at every project. When my husband, then boyfriend, completed a project without a single cuss word, I married him!

Verde: Cool! I had no idea the Amish used them but, you know, we could learn a lot from them in terms of how to live a similarly comfortable life without all relying on electricity, gas, and such.

Rob: Come on, dude! I thought you were an Ed fan! Gotta keep up.

Heather: Yeah, I'd definitely wait until you re-roof.

Kellie: Always better to avoid a project . . . and the accompanying tool if you can.

Kristin: We have an attic too and it does work!

Green Bean said...

Jam: Can't find your blog! Hopefully you didn't delete it. :( I really wanted to read your thoughts on your book.

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