I am considering an addition to my garage and have started to think about
what I would like to have for lighting when I complete the construction.
Like most people I want a brightly lite area with low up front cost and low
electrical consumption. Plus a system that works well in cold weather. This
structure may not be heated at all times and I would like to flip the switch
and have the lights to work instantly with out a major delay and extented
flicker. I have been told that my best choice in fluorescent lighting would
be 4 foot T-8's with high power ballasts?
There are some fixtures that sate cold weather. OTOH, I just turned my shop
light on at 15 degrees. It took about 3 minutes for them to reach full
brightness, but they were plenty bright enough for me to find the snow
FWIW, I just finished installing the lighting in my new shop/garage
and used 8' Lithonia 2-lamp fixtures with T-12 lamps.These were the
cold weather type from Home Depot. There are 2 switched sections of 3
fixtures (main) and 2 fixtures (auto section) for a total of 1100
watts of lighting. They are mounted flush on a 9' white painted
ceiling with no added reflectors. Quite honestly, this is the best
lighted shop I have ever had and when switched there is no lighting
delay at all. Even at $60+ per fixture it was money well spent.
Your criteria for bright lighting and low cost/low power consumption
are mutually exclusive. The free lunch adage definitely applies
here...so go ahead and get some decent lighting, keeping in mind that
the system isn't going to be on 24/7 anyway. The 8' fixtures are much
more cost effective than the smaller ones. HTH
Others have addressed the cold start issue. I'll add this: Garages are
places where long-handled tools are sometimes handled with a certain amount
of abandon, so they could end up having a collision with a fluorescent tube.
Standing in a rain of glass isn't fun. So, when you're at the store, look
for something that sort of disappears into the display: Plastic tubes into
which you slip the fluorescent bulbs before installing them in the fixture.
They work. They're cheap.
I replaced a pair of fluorescent shop lights in my garage a couple of
years ago because of the problems with the cold. I was replacing the
tubes at least twice a year (fortunately, 40W T-12 are a dime a
dozen, so it wasn't a biggie, financially speaking). The new
fixtures were really nothing special. They were advertised as having
solid state ballasts and will work in temps down to -15. They use
32W T-8 tubes. They're instant on (hard to get used to at first),
which means no starters. They're about 2/3 of the way through their
third winter, and they're still doing just what they're supposed to
be doing. And I haven't replaced a tube yet. They were only
marginally more expensive than the standard, generic, low-tech
models. As I recall, I paid about $10 for each fixture plus about $2
each for the tubes.
First you need to get over the low cost and high quality and proper
function thing. The ones that work will not be low cost.
There are a number of possible good choices. You just need to make sure
the fixutres are cold rated and you use the lamps called for. They will
not be the cheepies.
My shed has fluroscents, in zero temps lights didnt come on for long
So I added a few regular incandescents for instant on light.
Hopefully I DONT need in my unheated shed often in such weather. Its
16 by 20 I use it for storage
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