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Workshop Lighting / Utilities

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by lukem, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I have a 32 x 32 x 9 (ceiling height) detached garage that I use for my workshop. It has insulated walls with OSB covering the insulation but the ceiling is open to the roof decking. I'm going to put 7/16 OSB on the ceiling and blow in some cellulose.

    Right now it has a mis-mash of florescent tubes and the ballasts are bad on about half and the other half won't light when it is below 40 degrees.

    After pricing bulbs and ballasts I'm beginning to wonder if I'd be better of putting up all new fixtures rather than fixing the old ones (they have to come down anyway when I put the ceiling up).

    Looking for ideas/alternatives to the 48" tubes. CFLs? Halogens? Other? LEDs are too expensive for lights that may only be on for 10-15 hours a week.

    While I'm doing it I'm thinking about installing a couple receptacles in the ceiling too. Right now I have only one for the garage door opener. Since the ceiling is 9' and I can't reach it without dragging out the stool or ladder would it be better to install one in the center with a cord reel (that's what I'm doing for air)?

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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    T-5s are the best output per watt but I am sure if the stock ballasts and tubes handle the cold. I have some halogens that I use in my garage until I warm it up and then switch to florescent tubes.
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I know 2 years ago we ditched our giant HID lighting system at work for T5 Flourescent tubes. (Factory floor) I like 'em enough that I'm considering something similar for my garage. I have ok lights in there now but there are a lot of dark corners. Already have a drop ceiling in there so recessed fixtures would be slammin'. :cool:

    About those reels. Mount them no higher than you have to. With that large of a garage, the higher up the wall the reel is, the more the cord/hose will pull back after you run it out. I'm always running it out 10 ft past where I need it to end up. I personally don't care for ceiling mounts but they do shorten the run and knock over less stuff if you're messy like me. ;em Hate manually pulling out however much hose/cord you think you need tho.
  4. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    While t-5 lights are great they are more expensive compared to t-8 fixtures, especially for residential use.

    I would put in 12 8' 4 lamp t-8 fixtures in. 4 lights in a row and each row on it's own switch. Available at depot here, However hit up your local electrical supply house and get something better quality and for maybe a few bucks cheaper.

    These will be instant on in cold temps down to 0*.
  5. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    I put 20 T8 four foot dual bulb 6600K in my 32x48x10 barn. I bought it from Home Depot. It is like daylight in there at night.
  6. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    heat seeker likes this.
  7. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    +1, there are cold start fluorescents on the market. Pricey, though.
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Yikes. I priced some T8 fixtures and I was counting on spending that kind of dough. Hmm.

    I wonder if I could put a couple T8's above the work benches (along the walls of two sides) and some 150 watt equivalent CFLs with in the center of the shop. I don't really mind if those take a while to warm up and most start down to 0* or below now.
  9. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    What I did in my shop - on a separate circuit, I have a few incandescents for instant bright lighting, for a quick trip in and out of the shop for instance. For longer stays, or warmer weather, I use the fluorescents.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Tubes are the light source of choice for standard buildings because they are cheaper and make more light per watt than cfls, halogens, LED, whatever. They already start and run at zero degrees.

    I put 8 fixtures of 4 t8 bulbs each from home depot in my shop this year. t8 is better than t5 right now due to very high cost of the t5 fixture and bulbs. Do not buy t12 tubes, they are being eliminated.

    I prefer the 4000k color temperature. Any higher and they start looking blue. Any lower and they look red. 4000k is most like a modern halogen headlight and/or the sun to my eyes. Oh, and buy the big packs of bulbs and they are 1-2$ each.
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I've installed t-8s in my shop and like them. They use an electronic ballast that works better at low temps. The older t-12s used a transformer type ballast and didn't work well cold.

    If your ceiling is not more than 8 ft. tall I'd suggest you consider protection for the bulbs. I've broken way too many bulbs with the end of an errant 2x4 releasing nasty mercury.

    Also, a white painted ceiling makes a major difference in overall effective lighting.
  12. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    My shop is 32 x 48 x 14 ceiling. I have 11 fixtures of 4 t8 bulbs each. 5 of these are switched on or off all the time, as they light the front of the shop where I do most of my work. The other six have pull cords and are in the rear half of the shop. These I can individually turn on and off as needed. There are web sites that guide layout and number of fixtures depending on the lumens you want at the lighted surfaces. Also, each 4 t8 bulb fixture has staggered 3500k and 4100k tubes, giving great color for wood working. Good luck.
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    ... and I do keep my shop heated, no lower than 50F in the coldest winter, and normally about 58F, a great working temperature with in-floor radiant heat.
  14. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I had a random 150 Watt equivalent CFL laying around the house. Last night I went out to the shop wired up one of those cheapo ceramic fixtures and plugged it in. It was about 15* outside and not much better inside the shop. It started and took about 3 minutes to get bright enough. It threw pretty good light despite being one of the "soft" color bulbs.

    I think I'm going to put in 4 T8 fixtures above the benches at about 7' high...and fill in the center of the shop with CFLs. Bench lights will be on one circuit and the CFLs on another. If it comes down to it I might use a halogen or two on the CFL circuit for a little extra instant light while the CFLs are ramping up.
  15. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I just added all new lighting to my garage this past summer. It was long overdue.

    First off, T5's are absolutely crazy bright and in my opinion they aren't even useable with ceilings less than 15' tall. Not to mention the up front cost and the lack of availability of bulbs locally. I really don't think you're going to see T5's take over T8's for residential with their high output. My eyes hurt just thinking about the display they have at Home Depot 8' off the ground.

    The electronic ballast T8's will start at quite low temps. I believe the cheapo Lithonia strip lights I picked up at Lowes are rated to 0 degrees F and they are not anything special.

    I found the best deal and easiest install was with the 8 foot tandem T8 fixtures. I also went with 4000k bulbs as somebody else mentioned above. I agree, anything more than that is super, ultra blue. They may have the best overall color rendering but they are very odd looking. Not like any "daylight" I've ever seen.

    I have a similarly sized garage to you (but 10' ceiling) and I ended up with (6) 8 foot tandem fixtures and (4) 4 foot fixtures and my overall light level is perfect for what I do. I have them split between two cirtcuits since this would be too much draw for a single 15A circuit. I also didn't want every light on when I go out into the garage for something quick.

    CFLs just don't seem like suitable shop lighting to me? But your mileage may vary...
    Highbeam likes this.
  16. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    I think the higher temperature bulbs look more natural in a garage that isn't finished. My garage still has all of the raw lumber which already makes it quite yellow. I bet if I ever get it finished with white walls and ceiling, the blue tint of the 6000k bulbs will be more prevelant.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I removed all the drywall above my shop to address some other issues and now have the framing (trusses) showing. Its astounding how much darker this made my shop.
  18. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I have OSB on the walls painted white. I plan on painting the ceiling white too.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I hope to join you soon with that floor heat. Here are the ends of 1800 LF of pex buried in my slab.

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  20. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    I have 4100K T8s in Lithonia 4 lamp tandem fixtures. My shop is drywalled and painted. They work great, start instantly in any weather, and don't buzz. Couldn't be happier.
  21. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest


    Hmm, my 8 foot T12 fixtures (can't wait to lose those) buzz pretty good, esp when cold. Never bothered me much tho, maybe it's 'cause I can't here 'em over the stereo? ::-)

    They make a pretty good "bump" too when I hit the switch. Surface mounted to my drop ceiling.
  22. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    Sounds like my old place, except for the stereo part. Hated those T12s.
  23. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Well, I got the ceiling sheeted out with OSB. I've begun installing a few 4" round "old work" boxes in the ceiling to mount porcelain sockets to for "general lighting".

    BTW the "old work" boxes are great for this, especially with OSB...4 1/8" hole saw...pop them in and tighten them up. About 2 minutes per box. Doesn't get any easier.

    I'm using 100W equivalent "daylight" CFL bulbs at the moment because I had some extras. I only have a couple done, but I'm really pleased with the amount of light they are putting out. I might install some 200W equivalents in areas where I need extra light.

    I'm going to move forward with installing these in a grid pattern on one circuit, and add a second circuit for the T8 bench lights later (when time and $ permit).

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