Fluorescent Garage Lighting Tips

When it comes to garage lighting fixtures, nothing can beat florescent bulbs in terms of luminosity and clarity. The light fixtures which come built-in to most garages these days can be truly pathetic, lending little light to work under. Use the following steps to replace our existing garage lights with more substantial fluorescent bar lights.

1) Fixture Removal:
After shutting off the power to the garage, remove the existing ceiling lights and set them aside. This is done by unscrewing the fixture from the ceiling and disconnecting the wiring. In general, a two-car garage will require two 8-foot long fluorescent fixtures to light properly. For best results, select fixtures which use the 4-foot long bulbs which are easier to handle.

2) Fixture Installation:
The new garage lighting fixtures will be installed in place of the old lights. Use the manual that came with the fixtures to determine the best mounting procedure for your particular model. The new light will undoubtedly need several toggle bolts to fasten it to the ceiling securely. When possible, mount the light directly into the wooden studs. The powered end does not necessarily need to be positioned near the old fixture’s wiring, as you can extend the reach using insulated wires stapled to the ceiling. If the wires do not match up in color, consult an electrician to determine the correct wiring method.

3) Temperature Considerations:
It is important to note that some florescent lights do not operate correctly in cold temperatures. On the ballast of each fixture you will find a number labeled as “starting temperature” Make sure that this number is higher than the coldest temperature your garage receives at any time during the year. Otherwise, the light may not activate. T12 magnetic ballasts are designed to operate at temperatures 50 degrees and above. For colder temperatures (i.e. below 50 degrees), use only electronic ballasts, as they can operate just fine in temperatures below zero.

4) Power Efficiency
To save money in the long term on your garage lighting, select T8 size bulbs due to their energy efficiency. These do cost more but will save money over the course of years. It is best to avoid the T12 “energy saving” bulbs, as they require temperatures of at least 60 degrees to work correctly.

5) Woodworking
To avoid altering the visual appearance of paints and woods, use florescent bulbs with a CRI rating of at least 85. This will ensure that the materials you work with show their true color.

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