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barn lighting

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  • barn lighting

    My old barn on my new farmette has electricity running to it, but the electricity is not "dispersed" throughout the structure. Which means I get to choose how I want it.

    So, naturally, I'm here to solicit suggestions.

    The general outline plan is/will be 2 10X15' stalls on either side, and a 10X10' tack room and 10X10' feed room. (Barn is 30'X40') Center aisle is 10'X40'.

    I'm imagining 3 lights running down each "aisle", so over 2 stalls/feed room, center aisle, and 2 stalls/tack room. But I'm at a loss for details such as-

    1) type of lights (different for various areas?)
    2) separate switches for.... ? Each individual stall? Each end of barn aisle?
    3) I'd take comments on where I should have outlets.

  • #2
    PM sent..
    HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


    • #3
      My setup is similar - 2 12X12 stalls on one side of 36X36 center aisle ("center" if there were more stalls on the other side - right now it's hay storage).

      I went with cold-ballast fluorescent because I hate the buzzing & slow startup for halide.

      I have 2 banks of 8' fixtures - 4 fixtures total - placed crosswise, not along the length, so they can light the whole barn and stalls or just half, leaving the stalls dark.
      One fixture run directly over a stall, the other is set just outside the other stall.
      Both operated by separate switches placed by the service door so I can flip on one or both when I come in.
      That way I can light the aisle without bright light coming on in the stalls (& levitating sleeping horses).

      GFI 4-plug outlets over each stall for heated buckets, clippers, etc.
      More outlets along the wall by the service door and the 12X12 blank area I use for my feedroom.
      Handy to plug in a small fridge & radio/boombox.

      After 8yrs I'm happy with the setup except for the fact of having to get on a 10' ladder to clean the (white) metal shades for the fixtures.
      Which I have yet to do
      I swipe as much as a broom can reach, but let's just say last year's hayguy counted bales by drawing lines in the dust one of them....
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        After a nearby barn lost 14 horses in an electrical fire, I'd like to suggest you put all your wiring in conduit. I also only use enclosed (explosion proof, vaportight) fixtures with cages over them.

        The conduit will keep mice from chewing the wires. Mice and other rodents actually like the taste of the plastic coating on wiring. If they can chew it, they will. The conduit is not cheap, and it is labor intensive. But it makes it so much safer.
        blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
        check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
        Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/


        • #5
          Conduit isn't that expensive for a barn the size of the OP's. Mine was similar in size when we built and we used conduit throughout, which added about $1,000 to the price for the materials and labor. Well worth it.

          Definitely want covered lights, and the vapor sealed ones are ideal. I cringe when I go into most barns around here and see open fluorescent fixtures or those spot light types (with the exposed bulb). Everyone does that because they are cheap, but not worth the risk.

          My stalls are on one switch and I've never felt any regret over that. They have the lights mounted on the sides, not in the center, so all areas are illuminated even if a horse is inside. I also have overhangs for each stall and those are on the same switch, and i kind of wish I'd made that separate, but no big deal.

          The aisle and open areas, plus grooming/wash area are lit with vapor tight cold/wet friendly fluorescents. In groom/wash, I have them again near sides, not over center where the horse would create shade ... I can see when cleaning feet and working on legs.

          We have attached gravel paddocks and I had some flood lights installed under the eaves that shine out there and make it easy to clean if we have to do it in the dark.

          One thing recently added that I love is the outside lights by the door and front of barn are now on a remote switch. We can turn them on and off from the house, or could carry the remote in the car and use it that way. Love it and it was only like $100 to add when we remodeled this year. Now I can leave those lights off and just turn on when going to do night check (and have those lights to guide me as I go), then get back in the house and switch them off.

          For outlets, consider whether you will have fans or heated buckets in your stalls, and place accordingly. Also if you will need a fence charger. In groom areas, I have outlets at front and back so I don't have to drag cords under horses. And all should be out of reach of horses. Another cringe inducing thing as last barn I was at had outlets right by the open top stall doors...they had the little doors on the outlets, but all that did was give the horses something to rip off, then expose the outlet more. That place, however, was a fire trap in more ways than one!


          • #6
            Don't want to derail the OP's thread, but since I'm still thinking out my "electric in the barn situation", I want to ask if anyone has looked into or installed LED lighting in a barn situation?

            I know they're stupid expensive, but (as I understand it) they're very safe (cool and minimal glass to break), aren't bothered by extremes of temperature, very energy efficient and (my favorite) long lasting - like decades long.

            Aside from price and (maybe) availability - are there any other downsides to using LED lighting in a barn?


            • #7
              When we added on this year, that's when we did the flood lights for our paddocks and we looked at some LED ones. The lighting store people told us they didn't put out that much light, so people were returning them often...so we went with something else. Those were the only ones I looked at. I do like the idea as they are very efficient and not hot. We plan to switch our under cabinet lighting in our kitchen from the current fluorescent to LED, but that's a lot different than a barn -- less distance and less area to be lit.
              Last edited by horsepoor; Sep. 13, 2012, 05:08 PM. Reason: Correcting autocorrect!


              • #8
                Originally posted by bdj View Post
                Don't want to derail the OP's thread, but since I'm still thinking out my "electric in the barn situation", I want to ask if anyone has looked into or installed LED lighting in a barn situation?

                I know they're stupid expensive, but (as I understand it) they're very safe (cool and minimal glass to break), aren't bothered by extremes of temperature, very energy efficient and (my favorite) long lasting - like decades long.

                Aside from price and (maybe) availability - are there any other downsides to using LED lighting in a barn?
                I have been watching the price of LED lighting for the past 2 years- it has decreased substantially as the availability of fixtures has increased. You may want to check out some of the products by RAB and Maxlite on prolighting.com or another commercial electric site. I don't mind the cost if I don't have to worry about changing the bulb or broken glass for the next 20 years. I have installed LED par38's in my outdoor spot and floods and I am quite happy. Caveat: you need to pay attention to the lumen output when selecting your light bulbs/fixtures so as not to be disappointed by the light output.


                • #9
                  Re: coduit. There is a post on another thread either here or on TOB regarding conduit. Metal conduit is NOT appropriate for barns or outside applications due to corrosion,etc. Check the codes in your area.



                  • #10
                    In municipalities that have adopted it (which is most areas) Article 547 of the National Electric Code (Agricultural Buildings) governs installations and states the acceptable wiring methods for horse barns. There are several acceptable methods with the most common by far being PVC conduit. Metal conduit is not acceptable (and hasn't been for many years) since corrosion in a barn environment can deteriorate the ground path.

                    A few other requirements: vaporproof (not explosion proof) lighting fixtures are required as are weatherproof boxes, covers and fittings throughout.

                    Great strides are being made might now in LED lighting but at the moment not much is available in vaporproof that would be appropriate for a barn. Vaporproof T5 fluorescent fixtures are a good choice. T5 lamps are crayon thin, high output, energy efficient, and instant start in any weather. They come in 4' lengths, the 8' fixtures are really two 4' fixtures in a common enclosure. The old T12 lamps (1 1/2" diameter) are becoming a thing of the past due to energy regulations. 4' T12 lamps stopped being manufactured in June of this year.

                    PM me if you want additional help. I am a Licensed Master Electrician in Long Island, NY and have wired many barns in the area. Happy to guide you.
                    HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks all for the recommendations! I have an electrician coming out on Sunday so this gives me a great start so I can seem somewhat educated.


                      • #12
                        tcgelec - Do mice not chew on the pvc conduit? Is it a different kind of plastic than the coating on romex? We need to replace an outdoor light on the front of our barn (old wiring was a combo of romex and a two wire extension cord with the plug removed!) (We really think the guy we bought this place from was on some kind of drugs.) Hubby is suggesting coated armored cable, thinking that would be even better than pvc conduit. (More vermin resistant while still waterproof?)
                        blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                        check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                        Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/


                        • #13
                          I've never seen any evidence of vermin damage to PVC conduit in many years doing this stuff. PVC-coated armored cable is acceptable, but depending on your area there may be a problem with availability. (It is commonly called "Parking Deck cable" in the trade) The fittings for it are expensive and there is a bit of a learning curve in the termination of cables. But yes it is legal.
                          HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


                          • #14
                            We use fluorescent in our aisles, 4', 4 bulb 40 watt each fixture, spaced about 3-4 feet apart. 2, 150 watt compact florescent in stalls, each side, with “bulb guards”. The new generation don’t take that long to get bright. They also never get hot. GFC outlets at each stall far enough away that a horse with a long neck can’t get to it. We just have stall light switches for each side of the aisle. But plan to redo with switches at each stall ( called 2 way switch) but still have the “master” switch at the entrance to the barn. Code in most areas should only call for 14-2 wire for the lights, 12-2 for the outlets. Big difference in price of the wiring. Using a master switch and then a 2 way switch for each stall you should be able to wire the outlets into the “main” 12-2 run. And still be able to turn off the stall light in stalls that aren’t being used without shutting off the outlet. For lights off, fan on.
                            Conduit is cheap and easy to install. It shouldn’t, shouldn’t being the operative word, add that much more to cost. If you have to upgrade the circuit breaker panel go with a 200 amps panel if you have the power.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gumtree View Post
                              Code in most areas should only call for 14-2 wire for the lights, 12-2 for the outlets. Big difference in price of the wiring. Using a master switch and then a 2 way switch for each stall you should be able to wire the outlets into the “main” 12-2 run.
                              Can't tell from this description whether it is being advocated to tap a 14 gauge wire (rated for 15 amps) from a 12 gauge wire (rated for 20 amps) which is not legal or safe. That would mean that the 14 gauge wire was protected by a 20 amp breaker which is not safe. Protecting the 12 gauge wire with a 15 amp breaker would make it safe... but then there would have been no reason to use 12 gauge wire at all...

                              Also, a switch controlling a light from 2 locations is called a 3 way switch. The "middle" switches in a system where lights are controlled from 3 or more locations is called a 4 way switch. Go figure. The term 2 way switch is not used.
                              HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


                              • #16
                                Lights over each stall so you can turn all the stall lights on at once, and then aisle lights that you can also turn on seperate. In addition to a light in the tack and feed rooms.

                                You will need a plug for your water heater outside, a plug near your hydrant for heat tape, a plug outside for an outside spotlight for trailer loading at night, a plug inside the tack/feed room for heaters/other stuff.

                                Are you going to put a mini fridge in the tack room for meds or a water heater for your wash rack?

                                Also plugs by each stall if you want to run fans and bucket heaters.

                                Make sure you explain to the electrician that you need to be able to run the lights AND fans at the same time.