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View Full Version : Garage Lighting Ideas... Anyone???


boardbreaker
07-16-2007, 12:21 AM
Doing some garage remodeling and I'm stuck on the lighting.

Currently, I have the ugly bare bulb incandecent lights hanging down. Two in the two car bay and two in the third car bay, all on one switch. Two car bay is 20' x 20' and third 14' x 30' (for the boat that I don't have). Ceiling is 10' tall. I have attic access to all lights except one over the two car bay.

I don't really want flourescents, so I'm thinking about recessed lighting since I can drill new holes and completely reconfig.

Needs some more ideas from you guys and girls. I know a lot of you have put a lot of time and money into those garages. Please include pictures or web sites whenever possible.

Thanks in advance!

dmayer84
07-16-2007, 12:27 AM
Why not fluorescents? They are cheaper to run

Workin' 4 Toys
07-16-2007, 12:28 AM
Before anything else, I have to ask...Why don't you want flourescents?

Recessed cans? Are you creating a stage show?
Wouldn't you rather a good work environment with evenly distributed lighting throughout?
Or would you just rather spend more on energy?

Workin' 4 Toys
07-16-2007, 12:28 AM
Why not fluorescents? They are cheaper to run
Man, I must have been typing too slow...:o ;)

JimN
07-16-2007, 12:31 AM
It's not a kitchen, task lighting can be used where it's needed but in a garage, most of the lighting needs to be diffuse, which light colored walls and lots of flourescent lights will provide.

Granted, some people are able to see flickering from any flourescent lights but if good ones are used, it's a lot less of a problem.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-16-2007, 12:32 AM
I hope this thread gets Ric to post a pic of his garage......:D


Edit: And Steve's, Rexdogs, Hoosier Bob's and wakepowell's..... etc...

boardbreaker
07-16-2007, 12:46 AM
Sorry guys, I just don't like the look of flourescents, they do flicker, they take awhile to warm up (I'm in OH), they're noisey and the balast go bad. Show me a flourecent that doesn't do all those things and I might consider it.

No, it is not a kitchen, but I plan on having parties in the garage cause I don't want people spilling food and drink all over my carpet. I'll also have cable, PC and project hook in there. I went to a garage party awhile back and the guy had three TVs so everyone could watch the game and it was roomy!

TMCNo1
07-16-2007, 12:51 AM
I hope this thread gets Ric to post a pic of his garage......:D


Edit: And Steve's, Rexdogs, Hoosier Bob's and wakepowell's..... etc...


Unless it's candles and aromatherapy, it ain't gonna work!:D He just has to have that atmosphere when he sits in the boat and watches the radio!

SDAhockey21
07-16-2007, 01:06 AM
newer flourescents are better..

Leroy
07-16-2007, 01:33 AM
Put in cans and then get the flourescent bulbs to use. I've changed over almost all of my house to then and do not know the difference now.

The lights in the garage are slower to light up in the cold of winter.

I guess alternatives....you could do track lighting or halogen.

Ben
07-16-2007, 08:15 AM
I apologize for spelling errors from the start, but, I've got 10 fluorecents in my 3 car carage (24x24, with an extra 11x17 double deep portion on one side), also have 4 cheapo incandecents. Flush mounted the fluorecents. I use the incandecents for going in / out on a regular basis, and turn on the fluorecents to work on something. I'm 4 hours north of you and haven't had an issue with the temp, although if I'm going to work out there in the winter, I run a heater.

If you want better appearance for the incandecents, you could use flush mount can lights. Here's the best pic I got of the flush mounts (was taking pic to document my trailer hoist), but you can get the idea. I think it looks nice & clean (the lights), ignore the mess please, spare time is spent on the boat in the summer, not cleaning the garage...

TNH2oSkier
07-16-2007, 09:06 AM
T-8 Flourescents with cold weather ballasts are what you need. Get the 2 lamp 4' with a cloud diffuser, or lay in type in between the trusses like the photo above. Its still just a garage, can lights are not for task lighting.

dpolen
07-16-2007, 09:32 AM
I use two 200 watt utility bulbs in my garage...best $6 I've ever spent on lighting!

Maristar210
07-16-2007, 11:40 AM
277v HID.....

phecksel
07-16-2007, 12:56 PM
Add several 2 bulb flourescent fixtures on the horizontal surfaces, plus several hanging down. Get daylight bulbs, the color is amazing. As long as you're remodeling and it's your money I'm spending, put a small heater in the garage. Good friend had one in his and kept the temperature at 40F in the winter. If he worked on his fleet, would raise the temperature a little bit.

Ric
07-16-2007, 01:04 PM
woo hoo!!! I have to ask, why not post this in the garage thread?

I have 4 of the 4ft flourescents that run the double 60watt HO bulbs. no flicker, no waiting, but BIG HEAVY ballasts!

My garage is not finished, so it takes all of those HO's to lite the 3 car garage adequately since the walls are not white drywall.

Yes, we have parties out there too, but not because I'm worried about my carpet inside :rolleyes: .

My garage pic will follow WFT's garage pic

Thanks for now

Archimedes
07-16-2007, 01:43 PM
Sorry guys, I just don't like the look of flourescents, they do flicker, they take awhile to warm up (I'm in OH), they're noisey and the balast go bad. Show me a flourecent that doesn't do all those things and I might consider it.


What type of flourescent lights are you using? I've got 6 twin balast lamps in my garage and they don't flicker, come on almost immediately, and make zero noise. They're over 8 years old and I only just had one side of one of them go bad. Perfect garage lighting. Don't look real purty, but they do the job well.

Ric
07-16-2007, 04:29 PM
I think you need a garageful of HOs

Workin' 4 Toys
07-16-2007, 10:54 PM
My garage pic will follow WFT's garage pic
Well, that's somewhat apparent.......:rolleyes: (Hold your breathe)

277v HID..... Well, that might get costly...:rolleyes:

Workin' 4 Toys
07-16-2007, 11:23 PM
Sorry guys, I just don't like the look of flourescents, they do flicker, they take awhile to warm up (I'm in OH), they're noisey and the balast go bad. Show me a flourecent that doesn't do all those things and I might consider it.

No, it is not a kitchen, but I plan on having parties in the garage cause I don't want people spilling food and drink all over my carpet. I'll also have cable, PC and project hook in there. I went to a garage party awhile back and the guy had three TVs so everyone could watch the game and it was roomy!
May not be best fit for your application, but I myself will be monitoring the progress here Energy savings...:D (http://www.sylvania.com/BusinessProducts/Innovations/LED+Systems/SpotFlood)
Otherwise, try the 4' T8 sylvania, 2 or 4 bulb.

TMCNo1
07-17-2007, 11:23 AM
Sorry guys, I just don't like the look of flourescents, they do flicker, they take awhile to warm up (I'm in OH), they're noisey and the balast go bad. Show me a flourecent that doesn't do all those things and I might consider it.

No, it is not a kitchen, but I plan on having parties in the garage cause I don't want people spilling food and drink all over my carpet. I'll also have cable, PC and project hook in there. I went to a garage party awhile back and the guy had three TVs so everyone could watch the game and it was roomy!


Do you know a electrician, electrical designer or have one as a friend?
If so, have him check on some commercial floursecent fixtures for you rather than the cheap consumer versions available at your local DIY warehouse. There are many more options for you to chose from and the surface mount or the recessed are available with diffuser grill/lens that offer the best of both worlds.
In the long run, they are not that much more expensive, due to their design, energy savings and durability compared to the cheapies. I have (4) 4', 2 lamp flourescent surface mount in my 28'W x 22'L and I have never had to change a ballast and have only changed lamps once in 25 years.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-17-2007, 11:36 PM
boardbreaker....So what's it gonna be?
Tell us what you are GOING to use, and maybe we can help. Seems the majority recommends flourescents.
Still stuck on incandescents in cans? If so, let us know.

Oh, and before and after pics in the garage thread are mandatory...;)

JimN
07-18-2007, 12:26 AM
Why not do something interesting, like solar powered LED lights?

Leroy
07-18-2007, 12:46 AM
I'm with you Jim! LEDs are going to take over very quickly!

Why not do something interesting, like solar powered LED lights?

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 12:52 AM
I'm with you Jim! LEDs are going to take over very quickly!
If you haven't noticed, this concept has peaked my interest, and I have been inquiring for a LONG time.... We talked about this subject some time ago. People thought I was nuts..
Note my "link" in post #20...
Prices have come down slightly. Back when I started looking for a 120volt LED "bulb", they were over $200 a piece. Now I have found some below $100 and I am going to see how things go. As of now, the Cold Cathode compact is a better alternative.

JimN
07-18-2007, 12:58 AM
I'll have to find out what a friend of mine is using for lights. He went off the grid completely about 18 years ago. I don't know if he's using an invertor or not but he has been very happy with the way the system works. AFAIK, he has changed his batteries only once or twice and he powers his workshop lights with solar, too. He uses a generator when he wants to use his power tools but for most of his power, it's DC, baby!

I like the fact that it's possible to have power and not pay those thieving bastiges at WE Energies.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 01:03 AM
The LED "bulbs" at 3 or 5 watts could help too, and not require a complex solar set up. Not sure how the energy companies will view them. But there has to be a long term benefit over compact flourescents and there hazardous waste disposal. I believe most solar panels have a 30-40 year life expectancy when placed on a roof. The batteries on the other hand, could outway the benefits.

I am not quite sure yet how they will "build" these LED bulbs, but I plan to find out.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 01:06 AM
I like the fact that it's possible to have power and not pay those thieving bastiges at WE Energies.
I would be okay with at least cutting back a touch. Not sure how I'd get away without the power completely. But wind turbines also peak my interest. I plan to experiment with them one day...

JimN
07-18-2007, 01:19 AM
"Not sure how the energy companies will view them"

I don't effin' care! They're the most self-serving monopoly I have seen. Wisconsin Gas and the old Wisconsin Electric are one now and guess who uses more natural gas than any other singe customer? My bills have come close to tripling in the last 5 years and I don't see how I am using that much more than I was. My bill shows that I'm using a helluva lot more than last year and I find that hard to believe.

My interest has been piqued for a long time now and I'm closer than ever to doing something about it. If the batteries are made for this kind of use, and Bell has used batteries for underground energy storage for decades, the cost of replacing them will be less than what it costs to be connected. When the rates were lower, it was harder to justify but I use CF bulbs and a couple of halogen ( a few hours per day, dimmed) and don't leave lights on when I'm not there. My summer bills are higher because of the dehumidifier in the basement but that's supposed to be an Energy Star piece. My fridge may be part of the problem and I'm probably going to replace it soon, anyway. I'll know if it is, soon enough.

What I would like is to find a piece of land on a river, where I could build on high ground, facing South with proper orientation and overhangs, to maximize the solar gain during winter. Close to the top of the hill, I could put a turbine, I could have a water wheel to generate more and for lighting, I could use solar.

Actually, another thing I have been considering is solar tubes for the garage. I could use them for the areas that don't have direct lighting and the flourescent fixtures can fill in the rest. At night, I generally have enough light.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 09:51 AM
I guess my point was, how they get "pushed" on the public. For example, around here they bombard us with flyers and such relating to the energy efficiency of energy star products.
I like your way of thinking. I had considered the solar tubes myself when building my house. But the sources I contacted didn't seem to interested in my adventure for some reason.
I had thought of using them for heating the garage. Things didn't work out. I guess maybe the jobs are few and far between and my little job didn't seem worth it or something. They must be used to getting $50,000 jobs for whole house systems. If I recall, the garage solar tube job would have been around $10K, so I didn't keep that job file around long.:o
Check into cold cathode compacts if you like regular compact flourescents. They are instant start, don't put off near as much heat, and even work good in exterior fixtures. They even worked when it was -10 degrees F here last winter. Maximum wattage I can get my hands on so far is 8 watts. But for what they are used for, they are perfect.

JimN
07-18-2007, 10:08 AM
Solar tubes- you mean the water filled ones for heating? I meant the ones for light.

I've looked at the tags on Energy Star appliances and according to what they show, most are pretty efficient, other than water heaters, dryers and ovens. My parents had an 80 gal water heater and the tag showed something like $600/yr. A comparable gas model is in the $275/yr range. I would never pay $50/month just to heat water but I think I need to count how many loads go in the dryer every month.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 10:44 AM
Solar tubes- you mean the water filled ones for heating? I meant the ones for light.

I've looked at the tags on Energy Star appliances and according to what they show, most are pretty efficient, other than water heaters, dryers and ovens. My parents had an 80 gal water heater and the tag showed something like $600/yr. A comparable gas model is in the $275/yr range. I would never pay $50/month just to heat water but I think I need to count how many loads go in the dryer every month.
My new washer said $10.00/yr with gas, and $12(I think) if electric heated water. I don't recall what the dryer said, but it was not much more than that. (I bought all energy star appliances. ;)
Oh, and air conditioners, 14.5 SEER each if I recall. Can you say "energy tax credits"...:D
I will have to see if my water heater still has the tag on it. I can say this, it's a 75 gallon but it looks like a 150 by the size of it.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2007, 10:49 AM
opps....Yes I meant the ones for heating.
I am interested in the lighting too, I anticipate adding a few more light fixtures, and adding an all in one energy efficient system would be great. Like the one you had mentioned. I would love to have a lighting source that is self sufficient, at least in the garage.
That might help offset the price it costs to run all the compressors, welders, drill press, chop saw,...etc....(Alright maybe not, but I'd feel better..;) )

I have been considering running the heat off my generator.

Ric
08-10-2007, 06:12 PM
ok you're sounding kook fringe here with your plan, but most importantly, you do understand that the monopolistic competition will never lose money and since their fuel costs have exponentially increased in the past few years, well... so do yours... you get that right?

I mean, if your usage has substantially increased recently, you have to argue that, but cost per kwh? it's reality... even though it bites.

"Not sure how the energy companies will view them"

I don't effin' care! They're the most self-serving monopoly I have seen. Wisconsin Gas and the old Wisconsin Electric are one now and guess who uses more natural gas than any other singe customer? My bills have come close to tripling in the last 5 years and I don't see how I am using that much more than I was. My bill shows that I'm using a helluva lot more than last year and I find that hard to believe.

My interest has been piqued for a long time now and I'm closer than ever to doing something about it. If the batteries are made for this kind of use, and Bell has used batteries for underground energy storage for decades, the cost of replacing them will be less than what it costs to be connected. When the rates were lower, it was harder to justify but I use CF bulbs and a couple of halogen ( a few hours per day, dimmed) and don't leave lights on when I'm not there. My summer bills are higher because of the dehumidifier in the basement but that's supposed to be an Energy Star piece. My fridge may be part of the problem and I'm probably going to replace it soon, anyway. I'll know if it is, soon enough.

What I would like is to find a piece of land on a river, where I could build on high ground, facing South with proper orientation and overhangs, to maximize the solar gain during winter. Close to the top of the hill, I could put a turbine, I could have a water wheel to generate more and for lighting, I could use solar.

Actually, another thing I have been considering is solar tubes for the garage. I could use them for the areas that don't have direct lighting and the flourescent fixtures can fill in the rest. At night, I generally have enough light.

JimN
08-10-2007, 07:10 PM
Their fuel costs have increased but at the wholesale level. The Electric Power division of WE Energies is the single largest customer the natural gas division. Yes, I know monopolies don't lose money but they also have eliminated all competition, so the customers have no choice but to buy from them and there's no market pressure to regulate prices.

My usage increase can only be from a couple of things- my house is wired in a way that the rental unit and my place are using each other's circuits, they're gouging or my meter is wrong. I have the same appliances and didn't keep the heat set particularly high.

Leroy
08-10-2007, 07:30 PM
THey are getting cheaper all the time! I'm sure you can find them cheaper. THe LEDs are pennies so the price will come down.

http://www.besthomeledlighting.com/store/1674216/all_led_bulbs

Workin' 4 Toys
08-10-2007, 07:47 PM
Leroy, Don't buy them yet. Unless you are going to use them as a signal beacon at your light house.
I finally broke loose and dropped $90 on one 5 watt. And the color and brightness leave alot to be desired.
I would advise the cold cathode fl. over the LEDs at this point. My 5 watt cold cathodes may use a little more juice to burn than the LED, but I can select the color temp. 2700, 3500, 4100, 5000 & 6000, and they are a HECK of a lot cheaper.
Life expectancy
LED 50,000 hour
CC 25,000 hour