Lighting for Workshops

Written by timothy burns
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Lighting for Workshops
Florescent light fixtures are most commonly used for workshop lighting. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The answer to "Which light fixture is best suited to my workshop?" depends on the type of work and the size of the workshop in question. Large workshops that require consistent lighting throughout the room are best served by fixed position florescent or HID lamps and fixtures. Some workshops require specialised illumination over individual work areas. These lighting requirements can be served with portable halogen work lamps or individual track light fixtures.

Fluorescent Light Fixtures

The most common light fixture for an average workshop is a 48-inch multi-bulb florescent light fixture. This fixture can be recess-mounted in a suspended ceiling with an acrylic prism lens covering the light bulbs. The lenses protect the lamps and keep workshop dust from entering the fixture. Florescent light fixtures can also be surface-mounted beneath a painted drywall ceiling or hung from chains to a height directly above the workbench to create optimum lighting conditions.

Track Lighting Spot Lamps

For workshops requiring increased lighting for detailed work, individual spot lamps can be mounted on track lighting fixtures. Track lighting fixtures use traditional incandescent bulbs or can be fitted with extra bright spot lamps. Track lighting fixtures can swivel and point specifically at a workbench and create optimal lighting conditions.

Freestanding Halogen Work Lamps

Freestanding halogen work lamps are convenient for temporary lighting, or in large workshops. Mounted on fibreglass telescoping stands, halogen work lamps use 100- to 300-watt high intensity halogen bulbs. These work lamps can be directed into a car's engine cavity to eliminate shadows in a typically dark work area. The portable telescoping lamps can also be strategically placed around the workshop and pointed toward a brightly painted ceiling to create indirect overall room illumination.

High Voltage HID Lighting

High voltage high intensity discharge (HID) lamps are best suited for workshops with ceilings 16 feet or higher above the work floor. 240V high voltage circuits are needed to operate the HID lamps. The light bulbs contain mercury, sodium or halogen vapour which becomes an energy discharging plasma when electrified. Ultra bright HID light bulbs are long-lasting and economical to operate when compared with incandescent or florescent light bulb arrays, which would create the same illumination. HID lighting also creates a significant amount of heat which, if utilised properly, can supplement the workshop's existing HVAC system.

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