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nocones Dork
11/28/12 6:20 p.m.

I'm building a garage as some of you may know. It needs lighting. The lift bay is going to have 6 high wattage CFLs in old school pendants. The rest is planned to be ~20 4' flourescents.

Should I...

Use T12? Cheapest option but rumor is may be on the outs. Cold start an issue for magnetic balasts

Use T8? More expensive but I am assuming won't go away. 0 degree balasts are readily available

Use clasic style bulb cages with CFL or LED bulbs? Cold start an issue for CFL and cost may be prohibitive with led.

What say the hive?

Woody MegaDork
11/28/12 6:33 p.m.

I have a bunch of eight foot T12s and they do tend to hum and flicker when it's cold.

Regardless of what you use for light, sheetrocking the walls and painting them white will make a huge difference. I have enough light to do surgery in my garage.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/28/12 6:35 p.m.

I forget what I have in mine - probably T12 based on the age of the house. I just buy the best tubes I can for them. My garage is heated (ahhhh, luxury) so I can't comment on temperatures.

More importantly, shop around on enclosures. Remember that light exits the tube in all directions, and a reflective enclosure will throw a lot more of it down than a white one.

44Dwarf SuperDork
11/28/12 6:45 p.m.

Had 18 8ft T12 in my garage (2 floors) in one week i lost 5 on the lower level whent to buy balast and for the cost of the ballest i could buy a modern T8 so I've converted the ground floor to T8's. They work great in the cold while the heat comes up when i deside to light the heat. T8 also use less wattage and give more Lumins. Got the fixtures at HD but got bulbs from electric supply house parly being frugle and partly cause the bulbs due vary in quality.

fasted58 UberDork
11/28/12 6:45 p.m.

IIRC, I have a bunch of the cheap older plug-in 4' T-12s in my unheated garage. Bulbs last forever, tough starting/ flickering in sub-freezing temps but I ain't working out there in those temps anyway unless absolutely necessary.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
11/28/12 6:53 p.m.

Go with T8 lamps, the T12s are on their way out. T8s are more energy efficient and last longer than the T12s as well.

Woody MegaDork
11/28/12 6:57 p.m.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that T12 ballasts are pretty expensive to replace.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/28/12 7:10 p.m.

I guess I have T8s then, I've changed a couple of ballasts and it wasn't bad at all.

mazdeuce HalfDork
11/28/12 7:24 p.m.

Threw out my t12's and plugged in incandescents the first winter. I hated them that much.

bigdaddylee82 Reader
11/28/12 7:35 p.m.

I put T8s up in my garage, can't complain too much. They were all the cheapest dual bulb 4' fixtures that Home Depot had, I did eventually replace the ballasts on two. The new ballasts were only a few dollars less than I spent on the original fixtures, but after replacing the ballasts I like the lights better than the originals. The ones with new ballasts are instant on, no matter the temperature, well at least down to below freezing.

For some real light, and energy savings, take a look at T5s. I worked in a huge metal framed building, fab shop for a couple years. The shop was built new in 2008, and illuminated with 4 bulb 4' T5s. When they were building the place I soughed at the use of "office" lights where I expected to see metal halide bay lights hanging from the ceiling, but quickly ate my words when I saw them in use. They're more expensive on the initial purchase but they're supposed to be pretty efficient.

  • Lee
asoduk New Reader
11/28/12 8:03 p.m.

I can't speak for their use in a garage, but I recently replaced the can lights in my house with Cree LR-6 LED can adapters and we LOVE them. They are 6W and available in multiple "colors". I am totally sold on LED lighting and would be looking that direction. Check out the Cree troffer line. There are also t8 LED "bulbs" that I'd look into.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
11/28/12 8:49 p.m.

I've been using cheap t8 "shop" fixtures (includes a wire guard) in the garages over the past few years. They're bright and have the mentioned 0* ballasts. Quality is a bit iffy, tho. It seems I've had to replace about 40% of the fixtures, often so recently I can wipe the dust off the housing and return the old fixture in the new package as defective. They're cheap enough that replacing the ballast isn't worth the effort.

carguy123 PowerDork
11/28/12 10:46 p.m.

I've got a 35 x 50 metal building for my shop and I have 18 - 4' T8s. The shop is uninsulated and even in freezing weather I have no problems with them starting. If it's real cold then they come on slightly dim but are up to full brightness very quickly. I've never timed how long it takes, but it's pretty quick.

They've been up for 5 years and I've never had to replace a bulb or a ballast. I don't run them every night, but then again sometimes I forget to turn them off and it's too far to walk in the cold so I leave them on all night and the next day.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/29/12 12:07 a.m.

I should find out what we have at the shop. They're probably 25' in the air under a 50' ceiling and give out a goodly amount of light. They're also on motion sensors so they only run when needed and you don't need to switch them off. We replaced a bunch of stadium-style lights (that were 2 years old) and our savings were in the "hundreds of dollars a month" range.

Just checked my garage, looks like I have T12s.

Curmudgeon MegaDork
11/29/12 7:37 a.m.

I used the cheap T12's? (cheap Home Depot 4 footers) when I built my shop. It gets down to the 20's F and they would flicker when cold but as they warmed up they'd work OK. I gotta agree paint the walls white, preferably semi gloss because it will reflect more light and also is easy to wipe down, unlike flat/eggshell/satin/etc.

DILYSI Dave MegaDork
11/29/12 7:42 a.m.

The T-number refers to how many eighths of an inch in diameter they are.

T12 = 1.5"
T8 = 1"
T5 = 5/8"

Curmudgeon MegaDork
11/29/12 7:45 a.m.

Good to know. Thanks!

slantvaliant SuperDork
11/29/12 7:49 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: They're also on motion sensors so they only run when needed and you don't need to switch them off.

Flashback to my college Descriptive Geometry class (fancy paper, pencil, and T-square drafting, basically. Yeah, I'm old.). The instructor's office had motion sensor lighting. He he had a tendency to sit and study a student's work a little too long ... It was a little disconcerting to see the lights come on in his office, with him waving his hands wildly in the air.

carguy123 PowerDork
11/29/12 8:45 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: They're also on motion sensors so they only run when needed and you don't need to switch them off.

It's my understanding that you don't want to be switching flourescent lights off & on. Some thing about the cost to start it and then it's supposed to affect bulb life greatly. Am I wrong?

DaveEstey SuperDork
11/29/12 9:56 a.m.

I won't use less than T8's. There's no reason to.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/29/12 10:04 a.m.
carguy123 wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: They're also on motion sensors so they only run when needed and you don't need to switch them off.

It's my understanding that you don't want to be switching flourescent lights off & on. Some thing about the cost to start it and then it's supposed to affect bulb life greatly. Am I wrong?

Dunno, you'll have to ask someone who's not me about that one. I know that's supposedly the case with CFLs. These things are on a fairly long timer, so they don't go dark on people working and don't see a lot of on-off cycles each day.

If they go dark on the mechanics out in the shop, they're either sleeping on the job or have been trapped under a car long enough to stop twitching.

belteshazzar UberDork
11/29/12 10:07 a.m.

GRM, always on point...

i JUST walked out to my garage, and one of my T8's quit working. I come inside in disgust, and what's at the top of the discussion board? this thread.

AngryCorvair PowerDork
11/29/12 2:00 p.m.

re T12 cold flicker, yesterday i bought a two-tube 4' T12 fixture with electronic ballast at Lowe's for $12 everyday price. the first one wouldn't light two 40-watt tubes even though that's the rating on the fixture. traded it for another one and it works fine. i hate made in china crap, but there was no option at Lowes.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/29/12 2:08 p.m.

Bill says he thinks we have T5s in the shop. I took a look from ground level, and they have a very good reflector behind them.

andrave HalfDork
11/29/12 2:17 p.m.

yeah I also have the cheapest crap lowes sells in my basement, they flicker like crazy until they are warmed up and one goes bad every so often. I keep a spare box around and just return the bad ones with whatever the last receipt was. I'd say around 10% of the ones I bought were dead out of the box, btw.

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