How to Set Up Your Shop to Have Good Lighting
Opening an automotive repair shop is not small task to undertake and while you may have a great deal of space to work, you’re going to need to make sure you not only have the tools for your trade, but that you also have enough good lighting throughout to see what you’re doing. Have you ever walked into a shop that had little lighting and wondered how in the world the mechanic could make a repair when he couldn’t see what he was doing? Don’t let this happen to you when you start setting your own shop up.
Whether you made the decision to stock up a garage at your home where you can tinker on your hobby cars or have a few buddy’s over to check out your new motorcycle and hang out in the garage while you change the oil or you’ve decided to go into the great wide open with your repair shop business, you need to have the best lighting possible so you can easily access your tools and see the engine and body parts you need to see for the best repair service.
So, you might be asking yourself how to make sure you have the best lighting that you can possibly have in your shop. A shop should have enough illumination to see everything clearly and most shop owners or homeowners with a garage don’t want to fork over massive amounts of cash to put lighting in. So, without breaking the bank, how do you know which lighting source is best for your set up?
The size and layout of your shop will be the factoring element in determining the light source that works best. Shelton Roofing, a west coast roofing contractor recommends skylights for their clients and these work with both large and small garages and can be a great asset for inexpensive overhead lighting during daylight hours. You can use skylights in unison with fluorescent lighting and other shop lighting to ensure a brighter way to work. When you are choosing lighting however, you need to take a few things into consideration about bulb types before rushing out to the local hardware store and buying something that will be less than useful in the shop.
For small garages such as a home garage, many people have found it helpful to remove the individual bare light bulbs and replace with a long, at minimum four to eight-foot fluorescent light fixture. Using one fixture on each side of the garage can be an ideal way to bring enough lighting to see all areas and be able to work on your vehicles or other things such as woodworking or crafts in the garage.
In a larger shop with more than one or two repair bays, skylights can work wonders but you’re still going to need ample lighting throughout the shop to see clearly. To choose the right lighting, consider the following:
- The lifespan of the bulb is key to how much you will spend on replacements over time. Choose a bulb with a long lifespan even if those bulbs cost more (and they will cost more!) because it will still save you money over time.
- LED lights are energy efficient and will use up to 60% less power to run than other lighting.
- Incandescent lights can be of concern when used near gasoline and they can get very hot.
- You need to purchase the right amount of lights to use. Typically, when using standard bare bulbs, you’re going to need four to five for each bay in the shop. With fluorescent fixtures, a couple eight-foot fixtures over each bay will usually work well.
- Check the installation instructions for the lighting you choose. You need to make sure that you have all the tools for the install and that the work at hand is going to be something you can do if you are doing this on your own. If the installation including running new wiring, you should seek help from a licensed electrician to ensure everything is up to code and you won’t need to worry about an electrical fire from improper installation.
- Your shop bulbs should be bright enough to see everything without straining your eyes. Low lights will cause a dim room and can cause eye strain. This can not only make it tough to see what you’re working on, but it can cause vision problems over time.
No matter the type of lighting you prefer, making sure your shop is properly lit is going to be one of the most important considerations when setting things up. Lighting is often one of the last things people think about when building a garage, repair shop or other building space, but making sure you choose the best lighting source for the work you plan on doing in your shop is the best way to make sure you do a good job with the work you do.