I was thinking about installing 4 ceiling shop lights in my garage. The
garage has 1 standard ceiling outlet just above the garage door opener
(which is also plugged into outlet) and I was hoping to power the 4
shop lights from this outlet. I know very little about electrical.
Is this okay?
Lights look like this:
36 In. 2-Light Strip Fluorescent Fixture
Model C 2 30 120
This 3 ft. fluorescent fixture has a 120 volt ballast and uses two 30
watt T12 lamps..."
4 lights with a total of 8 - 30 watt tubes equals - 240 watts.
A normal outlet is rated at least at 15 amps or roughly 1500 watts.
Therefore you could run roughly 48 of those light tubes on 1500 watts.
Check the amps or watts on the garage door opener and throw it into the
equation - I doubt if it will draw anymore than 300 watts and only when
it is running.
Remember this equation - volts x amps = watts
So - watts/volts = amps
So - watts/amps = volts
In your home - volts = 120
In special home circuits - volts is 220
In a minimum outlet - 15 amps
Many outlets are - 20 amps
You can check your fuse box to see the amp rating of each breaker and
In my opinion - the outlet will run your lights with plenty of power
left over. The worst it could do is pop the circuit breaker.
You will hate yourself in the end if you buy 36 inch tubes. Stick with the
48 inch tubes. 48 inch is the standard, they are cheaper and usually less
As for the circuitry, who knows what is on that circuit. You need to do some
research before you make the decision to add load to that circuit.
First I suggest you consider the problem of a switch to turn it on or
Next I would rethink your choice of lights.
30W T12 is odd size old technology. The lamps and parts for a 30W
fixture are not going to be easy to find. 40W is the standard and I would
look for T-8's designed for cold temperatures. Garages tend to be cold and
the T-8's handle the cold better and more efficient than the usual T-12 at
Power-wise, unless the rest of the circuit is highly loaded (unlikely, but it's
always good to check), you should have no problem -- you're looking at under 3A
Do you have access in the attic so you can wire up the junction boxes for the
fixtures? Don't want to do something stupid like string extension cords all
over the ceiling of the garage.
BTW, 240W of fluorescent lights strikes me as a being quite a bit of light for a
garage, even if it's a two-car bay. You sure your plan isn't overkill?
BBTW, those look like magnetic ballast units (offhand, I can't remember if you
can get T12 bulb fixtures with electronic ballasts or not). If they are, I'd
recommend spending a bit more and getting units that use T8 bulbs and electronic
ballasts -- the rapid startup, lack of flicker, and somewhat reduced energy
costs make them more than worth the extra material cost (IMHO, of course).
I did this last year with no problem. I actually installed a few
receptacles on the cieling and plugged each light in with the supplied cord.
My only complaint is that on very cold days the fluorescent lights do not
like to start. Make sure you select a bulb/starter appropriate for the temp
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