Chances are, your shop overhead lighting seems perfectly acceptable and something you’ve been accustomed to and pretty much ignore. While it’s not uncommon for us to have become somewhat complacent with the shop’s existing overhead lighting, maybe it’s time to consider moving to the next level by switching existing fluorescent lighting to LED (light emitting diode) lights.
Compared to fluorescent bulbs, LED lights are up to 80% more efficient. LEDs convert 95% of their energy into light and only 5% is wasted as heat, while using less power to provide a strong and consistent output at a lower wattage. LED lights utilize a driver that turns AC voltage into DC voltage. The performance difference between fluorescent and LED is incredible...LEDs are MUCH brighter, providing illumination that is far superior, especially for a shop area. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, which emit light 360-degrees around the circumference of the bulb (which is why these light fixtures require a reflector), LED bulbs only emit light downward, sending all available power down instead of a mix of down and reflection. It’s sort of like the difference between working under moonlight and sunlight.
While the “easier” route is to replace every light fixture with one designed specifically for LED bulbs (this obviously adds to the cost of switching over), LED bulbs can be installed in existing fluorescent fixtures. It involves removing the ballasts, which requires a bit more labor regarding wiring mods. New LED bulb holders are also required. As you can see, converting existing fluorescent fixtures to accommodate LEDs will be a bit cheaper but will require more labor time. It’s easier, but more expensive, to simply replace the entire light fixture designed for LEDs. The choice is yours.
Regardless of which way you decide to go, the results will be amazing. At every shop I’ve visited that has made the switch, someone makes the same comment: “I wish I had done this sooner.” For a light level closer to daylight, I’ve been told you should choose PED bulbs rated at 5,000K or higher.
Brightening your shop not only provides technicians with better working conditions, but the move to LED lighting can also impress the heck out of your customers, and ensure they see you more clearly as the professional you are.
Benefits of LED
- Longer bulb lifespan
- Improved energy efficiency
- Instant-on...no flickering while warming up
- No heat or UV emissions
- Ability to withstand frequent switching
- Low voltage operation
Downside of LED
- Higher upfront cost, especially if replacing entire fixtures