Recessed lights in garage workshop?

I'm having a house built and am planning to use the garage as my workshop until we can build a detached workshop down the road. I'm thinking of using recessed can lights to illuminate the space. My garage will be 26-1/2' x 23'. I would prefer not to have a lot of hanging fixtures or tube lights mounted on the ceiling but don't know whether recessed lights would be a good choice. Has anyone here used recessed (can) lights in a workshop? How did they perform? Any other suggestions are appreciated!
Charles J.
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From my own experience I would use tubes. If your shop is unheated, or gets cold when unused, be sure to get the cold weather fixtures.
We have several recessed lights in our house and they provide good decorative lighting, accent lighting, etc. But the light is very localized and you really need to be under one to get their advantage. If you are not, you are in a dark spot.
By contrast our three car garage/shop has three 8-foot, two tube fluorescent units serving about 635 square feet. They are arranged in a "T" with two parallel to the wall opposite the three doors and one perpendicular to the others in the center of the garage. These three fixtures provide a lot of light. Shortly after we finished the house a friend drove down a road .2 mile from our house when the garage doors were up. He said our garage looked like the Cape Kennedy shuttle assembly building - a slight exaggeration but we do have good light.
Ron

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Holy cow Ron - my garage is only a little bigger than yours and I have 9 100W incandescent bulbs, a couple of 4ft shop lights here and there, a portable 500W halogen or two and it seems I'm always carrying a trouble light around with me. My garage is a three car garage and is very much a multi-use garage. It functions part time as a garage (really most of the time), part time as a paint bay (automotive painting - uses two of the bays to do this), a lot of time as a repair garage (only consumes one bay), and one bay is dedicated to my shop area where all of my wood tools call home (note - this can be translated as collection point for everything that comes into the garage...) - and I'm really hurting for light. In fact it's getting so bad that I'm about to do some sort of wholesale lighting changes. I'd like to go with florescent, but I'm in the cold northeast and unless I spend a wad of money on cold start, fluorescents just don't cut it up here for too much of the year. I do have a furnace in the garage, but there's just too many times that I need light and really don't need to be firing up the furnace just to warm up fluorescents. Probably will go with more incandescent. It sucks to be getting old - the eyesight is the second thing to go.
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I'm right there with you Mike. My night vision was always on the low-side of average but now has deteriorated. My revelation was when I peered through a telescope, for the first time since I was a kid. I couldn't see much of anything anymore.
On the upside - it's getting easier to sleep through sunrises... :)
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ummm did you take the cover off? Just kidding ok hiding inthe shadows again before he catches me
oh an on the original topic, dont go with recess, they have horrible lighting unless you want an isolated beam, go with a 4 or 8 foot flo tube with the plastic sheath that protects from accidental breakage
Good Luck
Clif

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Actually the cold start flourescents do not cost all that much, especially in the long run. They were part of the house lighting package we purchased from Lowes, at 10% discount, and I think I paid less than $50 each. Also used the big wattage tubes. $50 probably sounds expensive but the payoff comes from bulb life. I used the non-cold start units at a previous home and I couldn't keep bulbs in them for more than a year before they started going black on the ends. Besides, you always had the dark flickering and buzz on start. The cold starters have been in place for almost 5 years and we haven't replaced a bulb yet. These put out a low hum on start that decreases with warmup.
Another factor was touched on by a later post. Wall color makes a world of difference. If you have a stud wall garage or shop you need a LOT more lighting. My area is sheetrocked and painted white. I do use a magnetic accessory spot on my band saw and my drill press is lighted. I also have a small desk type flourescent hanging on the pegboard above my bench but it seldom gets turned on. Overall if I were to do anything different I would move the two units parallel with the wall (about 6' from wall) a little more to center.
Ron

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My new shop/garage/utility building has 15 sets of the cold start 2 light 8' fluorescent tube lights. They put out a loud awful hum constantly, not just at start up. I have to turn a radio on to drown out the noise. Sometimes I just work in the dim window light just to turn them off. I am very displeased with them!
Gary

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On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 22:51:20 GMT, "Charles Jackson"
|I'm having a house built and am planning to use the garage as my workshop |until we can build a detached workshop down the road. I'm thinking of using |recessed can lights to illuminate the space. My garage will be 26-1/2' x |23'. I would prefer not to have a lot of hanging fixtures or tube lights |mounted on the ceiling but don't know whether recessed lights would be a |good choice. Has anyone here used recessed (can) lights in a workshop? How |did they perform? Any other suggestions are appreciated!
Personally I would avoid them. I have a lot of them in my house and with the 13' to 15' ceiling height there's just not enough light even though I've maxed out the permissible wattage with halogen bulbs.
If you use enough of them to get decent lighting level in a shop I think it would serve as a pretty good paint curing booth too, although I speak from the desert of southern Arizona.
You can get fluorescent fixtures that are recessed and hence flush with a finished ceiling. I have installed some four tube, four-foot Lithonia fixtures from Home Depot in my garage/shop. Even though the shop is unfinished, with exposed stud/OSB walls and I-joist/plywood ceiling, I get ample (but not excessive) light levels at bench height with a row of these mounted on eight foot centers about 11' above the floor.
A lot of folks here don't like Lithonia and I will offer one big caveat. And I mean BIG CAVEAT!
While these are available at *Home* Depot they are *industrial* lights and DO NOT belong in a residential setting because they generate prodigious amounts of radio-frequency interference. I learned this after installing them so I got HD to order, and provide to me at no cost, *resident* replacement ballasts, but I had to install them.
If you go to fluorescent fixtures, make sure they are rated for residential service, especially if you want to listen to AM radio, receive off-the-air TV, or your neighbor is a ham radio operator.
If he is and you live in S. Florida, you should be thanking him for being there.
Wes
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This question was asked a long time ago and several times since .I kept one response as I found it to be one of the most usefull, I was not the originator ,i am just passing on the info ,it is as follows....
"Don't know who has asked the question or exactly what the requirements are, but let me offer the following based on having designed a few million sq ft of industrial lighting and having sold a few hundred thousand dollars of lighting equipment in my time.
Assume a ceiling height of 10-12 ft max.
You have automatically eliminated all HID sources and are looking at a 2 lamp, HO, fixture for the application.
By definition, 1 lumen /sq ft = 1 foot candle.
Typical lumen efficiency over life of lamp = 90% Typical lumen depreciation from dirt = 20%-30% Typical lumen/watt output of a flourscent tube = 60-80 lumens/watt.
A great lighting level for a wood working shop would be 100 foot candles, maintained.
Calculate the required number of fixtures as follows:
100 FC/0.9 Lumen efficiency/0.75 Dirt depreciation = 148 FC.
148 FC/70 Lumens/watt = Approximately 2 Watts/square ft of floor space.
If you have a 40 x 40 shop, that's 3200 watts of lighting required which would mean 80, 40 watt tubes or 40, 2 lamp fixtures which would translate into 4 rows of 10 fixtures each, 10 ft apart.
It's not rocket science.
It's the LGB theory of lighting design.
"Put one here, here, and here, and let's get a beer".
HTH
Lew "
Hope this helps....mjh -- http://members.tripod.com/mikehide2

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"Mike Hide" writes:

Glad you found it useful.
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Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Thanks Lew It was apprecieted, the figure of 2 watts per square foot makes it general regardless of what kind of configuration used .....mjh
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"Mike Hide" writes:

Just remember, the 2 watts is lamp wattage and does not include ballast losses.
Lew
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Lew, can you give some rough idea of what kind of ballast losses can be estimated? It probably depends on the quality of the ballast, but is there a rough rule-of-thumb for typical medium quality-line Home Depot fixtures?
thanks-

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"brad" writes:

You'll have to check a ballast catalog, but in days past, the input wattage for a 2 lamp, 40W fixture was 92 watts.
It's not a big deal.
Lew
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