What sort of garage you are building? Honestly, no matter how you answer that question, you need to consider a few issues that apply to all styles and settings. Key among them is the lighting you will use. If you already have a garage, but are bothered by the lack of good lighting, we have some great suggestions:
Step One: Do a plan of the garage
Whether you are just in the planning or building stage or you have a disorganized garage, do the following:
- Draw a schematic of the entire space with all doors and windows
- Select a workbench space large enough for any projects
- Set aside space for things you can hang from walls
- Create seasonal storage
- Consider any electrical appliances such as household utilities, central vacuum system or a spare fridge
Once you have a workable floor plan, you need to also consider all that space above your head (if any). Many garages have enough room above the door to keep storage containers and other unusual items.
Once the floor plan shows you where you’ll work, have items stored and all the rest, you can begin to draft an effective lighting schematic.
The Lighting Available
Before we delve into fixtures, let’s consider the kinds of lightbulbs from which to choose:
To get started, let’s clear up the types of lightbulbs that are out there:
- CFL or Compact Fluorescent Lamp
Available in an array of styles, most consumers will purchase the spiral shaped designs. These are noted for consuming far less energy than standard incandescent lightbulbs, offering a much more natural light, and remaining cool for long periods of time. They last for roughly ten thousand hours (ten times longer than incandescent options) and create the identical amount of light with 75% less energy usage.
You know “Light Emitting Diode” bulbs when you see them, and they are amazingly energy efficient. Superior to many other types of bulb, they have super long lives, can obtain savings levels nearing 90%, remain cool at all times, and have no harmful chemicals to worry about. They are ideal for accent lighting in addition to other applications, but they can be very costly. However, if you do some quick math, you realize that the energy savings and replacement costs kept in your pocket make LED lights a wise choice.
Though these don’t compare to the energy savings of CFLs, they still far exceed the performance of incandescent bulbs, with savings over 33% and life of more than 3,000 hours. Without harmful contents like lead or mercury, they can be found for nearly any application, and their light is considered some of the brightest, whitest and clearest.
Most of us are familiar with the long and tubular shapes taken by most fluorescent bulbs. With mercury vapor necessary to create their light, they can be found in a narrow range of hues created by the phosphor coatings applied to the insides of the bulbs. Commonly seen in overhead lighting, they are not all that efficient, but are affordable and typically last for long periods.
Choosing Your Bulbs
So, what is the right choice for your garage? Most experts will point towards fluorescents as the higher performers, but will say that some are bothered by the humming these bulbs make. They also have to warm up to attain maximum brightness.
There are some variations among the bulbs, with T5, T8, or T12 the most frequently selected options. The upper case T stands for the diameter of the tube in 1/8″ measures. This is why the T8 is the most common as it measures an inch in diameter.
The T8 is also more energy efficient than a larger T12, but gives off the same light. It creates far more natural light and the typical T8 is fitted with “rapid start ballasts”. These spare the bulbs from the wear and tear that “instant start ballasts” create. Most fixtures require the use of 4-foot tubes, though some fixtures have 8-foot bulb designs. It is best to avoid the longer fixtures as the bulbs are difficult to handle and the short bulbs consume much less energy.
The bulbs also have different intensities, with 3000k being at the warmer end of the spectrum and 5000k being a much cooler hue.
Make your choices based on the amount of time you spend doing work in the different areas of the garage. Most garage owners will have to install supplemental lighting, and it is best to do this knowing the type of bulb as well as the strength and type of light needed.
Also, remember to consider exterior illumination. Whether above the garage door, the regular door access or anywhere else, it ensures safety. Typically, experts point towards CFL bulbs for these fixtures.
When It’s Time to Change the Garage Door
Thinking of doing the garage door too? If so, contact us at (519) 829-3777 with any questions about well-insulated and weathertight garage doors, and how they will make your home and your garage more comfortable. You can also visit our showroom, where we are happy to take the time to explain the entire range of doors we carry and which will work best with the style of your home. You can also send us a request for an online quotation.
Lastly, if you’d need to see how your garage will look like with its new door, visit our design center, upload a photo of your garage or home, and see what the choices will really look like installed! We also have an image gallery to get you started.
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