DIY – How to Install LED Garage Lighting


Hooray for Christmas and Happy New Year! I got a set of 4 sweet new LED overhead lights for my garage for Christmas. Read more to see what I got and how I hung them up!

One thing that can make a significant impact on your experience while working in the garage is lighting. I cannot express how much I hate dragging out hot halogen lights that always seem to need a $5 bulb every time you really need them. Lately my problem has been that since it is so cold my florescent lights haven’t even been turning on or take forever to warm up.

LED lighting has really come a long way in the last 5 years and continues to get cheaper. I have looked at some of the big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes, but I couldn’t seem to find good options at the price point I was looking for (as cheap as possible 🙂 ). So I ended up looking at Amazon and found a lot of good options. The ones that I ended up asking for Christmas was a 4 pack of 36 watt LED shop light garage lamps with 3,600 lumens.

So what is a lumen anyways, and why does it matter?

Here is a good explanation from the US Dept of Energy:

When you’re shopping for lightbulbs, you can choose your next lightbulb for the brightness you want by comparing lumens instead of watts. A lumen is a measure of the amount of brightness of a lightbulb — the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the lightbulb.

Here is an infographic explaining the comparison:

So according to the chart, the lights I picked for my shop that put out 3,600 lumens are comparable to just over 2 100W light bulbs EACH! (sounds like a good deal to me)

At ~$20 per light, even if they broke it wouldn’t be a big deal. I have been paying ~$10 for each 2 pack of fluorescent tubes from Home Depot a couple of times a year. With the new LED lights, I should no longer have to spend yearly on bulbs. Here is a before pic with 1 of 4 fluorescent lights actually working:

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

Before shot. 1/4 fluorescent lights working, and 3 60W LED bulbs. Looks OK, but it was actually really dark in there especially while trying to work on something.

One of the things I really liked about these specific lights is that they don’t have a top housing. The light from the two individual tubes throws some of the light upwards also which makes the room feel really bright.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

Out of the box

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

Plugged in.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

This is a look from the back (top) side.

I was going to take out the existing ceramic bases on the ceiling to the bulbs and put sockets in instead, but ended up just using the bulb electrical socket adapters that were already there. These come in a couple of different flavors to accommodate your situation. There are sockets with pull chains, without pull chains, and bases with plugs built in.

Hanging up the lights is pretty straight forward. It is amazing how little these lights weigh. These LED lights are all plastic and weigh maybe 2 lbs total. Because they weigh so little, I didn’t even use the official mounting brackets that came with them. Instead, I used these awesome self drilling sheetrock anchors. These things are SO EASY. Just figure out where you want the mount, put it in your power drill and drive it in with a #2 phillips. Once fully installed, they are flush with the sheetrock and blend right in.

 

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

These sheetrock anchors reserve a prestigious top-middle spot in my ‘wood screws’ box.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

Helpful tip: If you like to double check your measurements, it is easy with these anchors. I just take the pointy end and stick it into the ceiling then double check my measurements (or eyeball as needed).

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

Betcha can’t find it 🙂 , never-mind no bet, one of you will stare at the pic long enough to find it.

I used a fender washer with the screw to mount the wire hangers that came with the lights. Super easy. As you can see in the pic above, even if I decide to take these down later there isn’t any visible damage to the ceiling.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

I used the included wire for hanging them but tossed the ceiling mount and used ‘good’ sheetrock anchors instead.

Once I got them all installed, I just needed to go back and zip-tie the wires to tidy them up.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

I like how they throw light up as well as down. Makes the room feel brighter.

 

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

All tidied up, on to the next two!

 

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

All 4 LED lights installed.

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

We have a motion sensing light switch for the garage lights. It is bright enough to startle you if you walk out in the garage not expecting the nuclear reactor to kick on and blind you.

Random note: I will never have another garage without a motion sensing light switch to turn on the lights. These things are worth every penny!! They turn on the garage lights when you walk out in the garage or open the garage door. No more stumbling through the dark to get in the house.

 

 

DIY - How to Install LED Garage Lighting

I can see!!

Viola!! Now I am ready to go out and work without dragging around a bunch of portable lights. Next up is to get rid of those 3 yellow (3000k color) light bulbs, they look silly next to the new LED lights (5000k color). I think another set of 4 LED lights would finish out the rest of the garage with light nicely, but this should work for now!

Now YOU, go outside and build something.

 

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