I will shortly be introducing my (detached) garage to the wonders of
modern electricity. Short of trial and error, does anyone know of a
good rule of thumb for deciding how much light and heat is required
per m^2? The garage is only slightly larger than a car, and will be
used for tinkering and storage (but not of cars), and perhaps the odd
bit of tumble-drying.
Part of me wants to say "3 strip lights and a 3kW heater", but I can't
help thinking there must be a more scientific way.
I guess it would be nice to know this in general, since my whole house
appears to be underlit and underheated.
You will need additional light in a garage compared to living spaces, as
they are invariably used as working areas. For a simple 4.8m x 2.4m garage,
a twin tube 58W fitting would provide oodles. 3 singles spaced throughout
would be even better, but might be over the top, depending on what you
wanted to use the room for.
As for heating, it is more important to get the insulation sorted than
increase the heater power. If you can spare 50mm of every wall, it is well
worth sticking some slabs of celotex on. Draft proof and insulate the door
too. (Don't forget the ceiling!) Then, 3kW will be well overpowered for the
garage (although it will get it to temperature quickly). A wall mounted
convector with timer and THERMOSTAT (essential!) would be inobtrusive, quiet
I have fluorescent fittings ( 4 'bulbs' - 2 are old single 4 ft
fittings, one is a modern twin 58W fitting) in my garage and while for
general use it's ok, it's not quite enough IMO. particularly at each
end. Though possibly I could have arranged them slightly better
Doing it from scratch I'd probably have 4 twin fittings - that ought to
do It :-)
Painting the walls white would probably help as well, we painted our
shed white inside and it really made it seem brighter inside.
Could I add my support for that idea too! Thanks to someone who was
very helpful with that suggestion a couple of months ago I splashed
some white paint on the garage walls and it did indeed make a big
In my workshop (approx single garage sort of size) I went for 4 x 5' 58W
single tubes - one on each end wall, two equally spaced in the middle.
With the ceiling and walls painted off-white I find these give a nice
even light for working in.
It's not just the level of light that counts - but also having it
arriving from several directions so that you are not always working in
(when I installed the lights I put them on a double switch so that I
could switch two pairs of two independently - I have so far never found
the desire to only use one set on its own when working in there -
although being able to switch only half on is OK when you are just
popping out to get a tool or something).
Yes. Mounting a light in the middle of the ceiling, bulb pointing
down, is not good. Mounting it the other way up with a white painted
ceiling helps a lot. If you go for multiple lights, the best option is
to mount them on the wall high up, with tube shielded from view, and
the light bouncing off the ceiling and upper wall. Trough or shelf.
Fl lights last so long that the tubes need to be cleaned occasionally,
or the light output falls a lot. Stay well away from 'cool white'
N. Thornton wrote:
I just mounted up 4 35W single fluro tubes in my loft - about 28 meters
long (L bend in teh middle) and 4.5meters wide.
Its adequate to see what you are doing. Not enough for close detailed
If that helps. Works out at 1W per square meter.
Something else I forgot mention - it is well worth going for a fitting
that has a nice tight fitting diffuser. Not only will this make the
light nicer to work in, and keep the dust of the tubes, but more
importantly it has saved a tube on a number of occasions when I have
been rotating a large bit of stock and forgot that it was longer than
the height of the lights!
If you are planning to have a lathe, pillar drill or things that turn, an
ordinary light bulb of some sort would be a must IMO, last thing you need is
to be lulled into thinking something has stopped when it is still turning.
This was last demonstrated to me by an old metalwork teacher, oh so many
moons ago. I think it is based around the same principal shown in old
movies when the wheels on a car give the idea of being stopped or going in
the opposite direction, when they are really going forward.
Big Al - The Peoples Pal
On Tue, 2 Dec 2003 00:57:53 -0000, "Big Al - The Peoples Pal"
Something to do with harmonic frequency no doubt. That is, if the
light is flickering at 50Hz and the power tool is rotating at some
direct multiple of that (say 200Hz) then it will appear to be still as
your eye is getting the rotating tool or chuck snapshot in the same
position each time.
IMBW but I was under the impression that modern fl lights had high
frequency ballasts to eliminate this problem? I must admit to never
having observed the effect myself in my workshop which is all fl
lighting and I am usually very sensitive to flicker (find 50Hz TV quite
objectionable for example).
Then again I can usually tell when a tool is running due to the noise!
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