A survey of garage projects out there revealed to me: as many craftsmen recommended calling a professional as gave do-it-yourself advice when it came to installing overhead garage lighting! Don’t be scared off from do-it-yourself projects for lack of knowledge! Make sure you have proper information and proceed.
Most people choose fluorescent fixtures for their overhead lighting, and there’s three good reasons for that: cost, ease and effectiveness. Fluorescent can be found in any homeowner’s or hardware store, they are simple to install and operate, and they offer a wide range of bright light that will give you overhead lighting as bright as daylight.
There are dangers, and this, I’m sure is what cautions people away from self-installation jobs. Often the garage is near the main source of power to the house. With this in mind, you will need to make sure that you are not in danger of crossing a main power if you are hard-wiring your lights. If you are installing simple plug-in fixtures, this is not a concern at all. Of course, always make sure that your power is turned off when you begin to work from your plan.
Locate your fixtures and run the cable.
Locate where your overhead fixtures will be on the ceiling. You can use tape to do so, measuring off before you start the project. You’re going to need the plan, so that you know how much cable you need, where the fixtures are going for the best light, and how many fixtures you will need to provide adequate lighting throughout. Once you have the locations set, you are ready to run the cable. You will need wire staples to hold your cable in place once you string it along the rafters, to keep it out of the way. Before you begin to hook things up, make sure your main garage power source is off. Ascertain that you have enough cable to go from the place your switch will be to the first fixture, and you are ready to wire.
Wire your fixture.
Instructions will come with your light fixture, but to review: You will have to insert the wire of your cable through the knockout hole of the fixture and tighten the cable connector. Strip the bottom 4 inches of the wires to give you room to connect the wires, and connect the white to white, and the black to black of the fixture wires and the cable wires. The remaining green or bare wire is your ground wire. This will connect to a screw on the housing of the fixture which will serve as the ground for the fixture. Now you will assemble and connect the fixture to the garage ceiling and begin backtracking and fastening the cable to the joists with the wire staples. You’ve completed your first overhead light fixture. The rest will continue in the same manner, for each switch or in groupings for each switch.
It’s paramount to insure that each overhead garage lighting fixture is grounded and that you have clearly marked each circuit breaker as you hook them to the lines, so you know what circuit links to what.
Now, step back and admire your handiwork!