If you are considering upgrading your Garage Lighting with LED Bulbs there are some things you should keep in mind before you start. Although LED Bulbs do use less energy than regular incandescent lights the savings they provide over florescent shop lights is not quite as much.
If you are simply replacing ceiling bulbs that are incandescent or florescent with LED screw in Bulbs then you are ready to go. Just install them and they will work as well or better than what you have. You can even go up a level in your lighting by using a bulb that puts out more light than what you have now. If you have 40 or 60 watt equivalent bulbs you might want to move up to a LED 100 watt equivalent that uses much less than 100 actual watts.
If you are thinking about replacing your standard bulb fixtures with LED Shop Lights then you must make sure that you install units that will keep your overall electric use below the rating of your electrical circuit.
For instance you can normally replace a standard Ceiling Light fixture with a Single Shop Light if florescent bulbs are used in the unit the rating should be at about 80watts of actual electricity and your ceiling light draw is normally rated to use up to an actual 100 watt incandescent bulb.
If you are using LED Bulbs you might think that you can get away with installing two LED Shop lights for every Incandescent Ceiling Bulb fixture and you might be fine doing this but it all depends on the rating of the lights and you must make sure that Florescent bulbs are never used in the unit if it would push the watts above your circuit’s rating.
Calculating what you can do in your garage while still allowing for use of electric tools can be difficult and you might end up running a dedicated circuit to your garage to install your new lighting.
When in doubt you should always consult an electrician and follow manufacturer guidelines and in some areas adding fixtures might not be allowed without an electrical inspection.
Should you use LED Fixtures or Retrofit your Florescent Lights for LED?
Honestly you might not want to go out and purchase new lighting fixtures but in the end you are going to be much happier if you do. There is just something about the hit and miss of reusing old Florescent Fixtures that takes too much time and effort.
When 4 foot LED Bulbs were first available I tried this option but I had a lot of problems with the conversion process. Even bulbs that say they will work in older Florescent fixtures should be avoided for that application.
Just fork out the cash and get new fixtures. They normally won’t cost you more than about $20 for a basic fixture that you would use in your garage or shop. House fixtures that are used in your kitchen might be slightly more but even there you should just buy new fixtures if you decide that those lights become your next project.
As you may have realized we didn’t really go over the 1 2 3’s of how to physically remove your old incandescent light fixture and install a new LED Shop Light in this how to.
The reason being is that the process of hanging a few lights is pretty easy. You simply turn off the power at your circuit breaker and then remove the old fixture. Remaining will be a fixture box that you can use to hardwire your new light and then mount your light by screwing it to the ceiling joists.
Each light might take you an hour to set up and test at most depending on how quick you work you should be done in one weekend afternoon.
Deciding what fixture and calculating the wattage is the important step.
You never want to install fixtures that someone else could mistake for Florescent if using higher wattage bulbs could be a problem for your wiring and electrical circuit. Always give yourself a little room and don’t max out the circuit. The instructions that come with your fixture should help you with this step.
Additionally I suggest that you use some method to mark the fixture behind the bulb so anyone removing a bulb to replace it will see that only LED bulbs should be used and of what wattage.