Garages are used for more than just parking your vehicle. You store a ton of stuff in there, and small repairs to everything in the home are usually done in these spaces. That said, you can only get the most out of your garage if it has well-designed lighting. Garage lighting is more than just installing incandescent bulbs, which is what this article attempts to explain.
So, let's dig in and find out what makes LED garage lighting so important and what options you have to effectively light your garage.
Why Upgrade Garage Lighting?
To understand why it is important to properly light your garage, you must understand what makes it so important. You see, garages are generally used for parking, and you don't need to pay too much attention to lighting. While parking is a primary purpose, it is not the only function of a garage. You'll also use it to store equipment, supplies, and other household items. It will make the garage an important part of the home and do more than just provide parking for your car. So, like every other area of the house, you must devote all your attention to lighting it.
Effectively lighting a garage will increase its utility. You don't have to use portable LED lights when doing quick repairs in the garage. Plus, it will be easier to store and access supplies. A well-lit garage can prevent safety hazards when you're making quick repairs. You can see everything clearly; therefore, the risk of serious falls and injuries is greatly reduced.
A well-lit garage will also make parking and taking the car outside easier without scratching it with the walls of the small garage. So if you're looking to upgrade a garage, you should always start with the lighting.
Different Types of Garage Lights
When looking for light fixtures for your garage, you'll come across a variety of options. It's important to understand the ins and outs of each option before making a decision. Let's look at them.
1. LED garage lights
LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, should be your first choice when lighting your garage. The main advantage of LEDs is that they use much less energy than incandescent and fluorescent lights and last longer. Typically, LEDs use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. In addition, LEDs last more than 80% longer than traditional light bulbs.
By installing LEDs in your garage, you can not only reduce power consumption, but also avoid the hassle of changing bulbs every now and then. Another benefit of LEDs is flexibility in terms of variety. You can get LED fixtures in a variety of different sizes and shapes. Combinations of these fixtures can be used to create effective lighting designs for garages.
The only downside to using LEDs in your garage is that they are unidirectional. This means that the light from the LED only travels in one direction. So if you have to properly light your entire garage, multiple LED light fixtures are a must.
2. Fluorescent lamps
Fluorescent lights are best for lighting large areas. You can use them if you have a small or commercial garage. This lamp has a mercury vapor based tube shape. Light is produced when the mercury in these fixtures ionizes as an electric current passes through them. Additionally, these tubes have an inert gas and phosphorus coating inside.
The main benefit of these lights is that they emit different wavelengths, which makes them suitable for illuminating large areas. You also have to get a ballast to make these fixture bulbs.
While the ionization of mercury produces bright light, the heat it generates can also impair the quality and functionality of the luminaire. Although mercury liquefies when the temperature drops. Therefore, this lamp has a shorter lifespan than LED bulbs.
3. Incandescent light bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are popular mainly because of their low cost. These are the cheapest solutions for a variety of light spaces, including washrooms, bedrooms, patios and garages. This lamp uses a heated filament that illuminates the area when an electric current flows through it.
That said, despite being cheap, this bulb is the least practical option for lighting any space. First, the filaments in these bulbs are very fragile and will fail after a few hundred hours. The only way to fix this is to get a new bulb, which means you'll have to replace them quite often. Second, they require high wattage and consume more energy, which can add significantly to your energy bills.
4. Halogen lamp
Halogen lights have the same basic design as incandescent bulbs, but are a bit more advanced. Most people prefer them because they give off a white light which is more comfortable for the eyes since it doesn't create any pressure. In addition, the energy consumption of halogen lamps is significantly lower than that of incandescent bulbs, as is the service life.
That said, halogen lights need to catch up as they consume more power and are less durable than LEDs.
Benefits of Garage Lights
Lighting up your garage with the proper fixtures and design will have all sorts of benefits. The important ones are as follows:
1. Enhanced utility
As mentioned earlier, the function of the garage is not only to store vehicles, which can only be realized if there is enough lighting. With proper lighting, a garage can be transformed into a workspace where minor vehicle repairs and other electronics can be performed.
A good lighting design will also make working in the garage more fluid. You'll be able to see more clearly what you're doing, reducing the chance of errors. Plus, even if a small part accidentally falls out of place, you'll be able to spot it thanks to the well-lit area.
This benefit is even more important for commercial garage owners who must keep their lights on for extended periods of time. With the right solution, you won't have to change your fixtures as often, even if you leave them on for the entire working day. Also, good lighting will attract more customers and help you generate more profits.
Another benefit of good lighting in commercial spaces is keeping employees alert. Light plays an important role in influencing mood. While well-lit areas keep employees motivated and alert, dim lighting conditions can make them feel drowsy, which can affect the performance of commercial spaces.
An efficient lighting solution is also cost-effective as it consumes less electricity and saves on energy bills. While it benefits the home garage, it also has a greater impact on commercial spaces. Unlike home garages, lights in commercial garages must be kept on longer. So if the fixtures consume more power, the energy bill can pile up. In contrast, a cost-effective solution will save considerable capital that can be used to improve business productivity.
For example, incandescent light bulbs consume 80% more energy than LEDs. This means that by installing LEDs, you can reduce your energy bills by 80%, given that lights are the largest consumers of electricity in your commercial space.
How to Properly Light a Garage
Now that you're familiar with the basics of garage lighting and understand the options available, let's discuss the factors you must consider when lighting your garage.
1. Determine the proper fixture
The first step in lighting your garage is the choice of fixtures; as mentioned earlier, there are many options. While LEDs are ideal for most garages, some may prefer other fixtures for different reasons. We discuss popular fixtures in detail so you can find out which ones are the best fit.
It's important to choose fixtures before finalizing your design, as all types of lights have unique characteristics that play a key role in determining how your garage lighting will look. For example, incandescent light bulbs emit a yellowish light, while LED lights are usually white. Therefore, they will both provide a different look to the garage. Before choosing fixtures, you have to figure out what your garage's ideal look will be.
For more information, read Halogen vs. LED Bulbs: How to Choose?
2. Figure out your light output
The light output of a bulb is measured in lumens - the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Different spaces have different lighting requirements, but in general, 5 lumens per square foot will do for most garages. To find out the number of lights in your garage, you need to multiply five by the total square footage of the garage.
Once you get the exact numbers, start looking for fixtures that will provide the amount of light your garage needs. Note that most of the time, especially with LEDs, you will have to use multiple fixtures to ensure that every part of the garage is lit.
3. Calculate color temperature
Color temperature is a measure of the color of light, based on the Kelvin scale, which ranges from 1,000 to 10,000. In addition to determining the color of light, color temperature also affects the mood of the occupants and the overall mood of the space. For example, lamps with temperatures below 3,000K provide a warm light that creates a cozy ambience that would not be appropriate for a workspace. In contrast, lights with a color temperature in excess of 4,000K are on the cooler side of the spectrum, mimicking natural daylight and making occupants feel alert.
Therefore, when looking for a lighting solution for your garage, it is best to choose fixtures with a color temperature of around 5,000K.
4. Color rendering index
Have you ever been to a store and looked at an item, only to have that same item start to look different the moment you put it in natural light? This is because of the color rendering index that the lights installed in the store are very dim. The color rendering index measures how well light mimics natural light in showing the true colors of objects beneath it.
Like color temperature, it is measured on a scale of 0-100. The closer you get to 100, the more natural the colors will start to look, or at least how they look in natural light. You should look for lights with a CRI over 80 to effectively light your garage.
5. Understand the effect of light on different wall colors
When looking for a lighting solution for your garage, you must also consider the color of the walls. Lighter colored walls reflect light, so low lumen solutions are also suitable. By contrast, walls with darker finishes will absorb light and require you to install fixtures that provide more lumens.
Tips for Improving Garage Lighting
If the lights in your garage seem dim, the tips below will help you improve them;
1.Use light combinations: The lighting in any space can be broken down into three categories: ambient, task, and accent lights. All three are important and should be installed in the garage to maximize their effectiveness.
2.Choose the right light fixtures: Ambient light, task lights and accent lights require different types of light fixtures, which must be chosen correctly to ensure a good lighting design in the garage.
3.Using LEDs: LEDs are cost-effective because they consume less energy than traditional light bulbs and last longer. Additionally, a wide range of LEDs can help you achieve an efficient garage lighting design.
4.Always choose a higher CRI: When working in your garage, you need to see exactly how objects will look in natural light. It can be achieved by using fixtures with a higher CRI.
Install a motion sensor: Motion detectors can turn lights on and off by detecting motion in the environment. By turning off the lights when they are no longer needed, they can save a lot on electricity bills.
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