Installing Your High Bays; Everything You Need to Know


Congratulations! You just received your long-awaited order of Sunco High Bays in the mail, and you’re excited to get them installed. The only hitch in your plan is that you aren’t quite sure how many you’ll need per square foot—you don’t want it so bright that you blind anyone who enters your space, but you want it bright enough to keep things operating efficiently. What do you do now?  


Table of contents  

  1. The Power of the High Bay
  2. What are the Different Kinds of High Bays?
  3. Benefits of Choosing the Right Industrial Lighting.
  4. How to Choose the Right High Bay for Your Space?   
  5. How High Should I Hang my High Bays? 
  6. How Far Apart Should I Space my Lights? 
  7. Common Troubleshooting  


The Power of the High Bay 

Never fear, Sunco’s blogger is here. I know how tough it can be to find the answers you’re looking for through a simple Google search. Everyone seems to have different suggestions for you and your high bay installation needs. The problem is, not all high bays are made the same; some have a higher lumen output than others, while others have varying color temperatures. Lucky for you, your search ends here.  

I’ve gone ahead and compiled information across dozens of platforms to create the mother of all high bay installation guides. Ranging from Sunco’s own technicians to online electrical forums and even other lighting companies. Let’s get started. 


What are the Different Kinds of High Bays? 

If you’ve already figured out the kind of High Bay you’d like to use, you can go ahead and skip down to the installation guide.

While Sunco offers UFO, linear, and vapor tight high bays, there are a handful of styles that can be found in the lighting industry. Let's break down the most common styles: 

  1. UFO High Bay LED Lights: 

  • These lights have a compact, circular design resembling a UFO (hence the name). 
  • Rugged and durable, they are suitable for industrial environments. 
  • UFO high bays are often used to replace metal halide fixtures. 
  • They provide focused illumination and are ideal for high ceilings.


       2. Linear High Bay LED Lights: 

    • Linear high bays come in a panel-style shape and are excellent replacements for traditional fluorescent fixtures. 
    • They work well in large spaces and can seamlessly replace tube-style high bays. 
    • These lights offer uniform brightness and are commonly used in warehouses and factories. 


             3. Traditional Round High Bay LED Lights: 

      • As the name suggests, these lights have a classic round shape. 
      • They provide wide coverage and are suitable for general lighting in large areas. 
      • Traditional round high bays are often used in commercial spaces and storage facilities. 


      4. High Bay LED Lights with Motion Sensors:

      • Some high bay LED lights come equipped with motion sensors. 
      • These sensors detect movement and adjust the light output accordingly. 
      • They are energy-efficient because they only illuminate when needed. 
      • Ideal for areas where occupancy varies, such as warehouses and garages. 


      Benefits of Choosing the Right Industrial Lighting 


      Prevent Workplace Accidents 

      Bright, high quality industrial lights decrease the chances of workplace accidents and injuries. Poor warehouse lighting is hazardous, whether it’s an unlit corner or uneven lighting making it difficult for employees to see. 

      Increase Savings 

      Switching from traditional fluorescent warehouse lighting to LED industrial lighting significantly lowers energy usage—which means major savings on your electricity bill. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than fluorescents. 

      Higher Employee Productivity and Satisfaction 

      Lighting has an undeniable impact on mood.  We covered that a little bit here in this blog. Bright, quality light from LED bulbs promotes alertness and energy while cutting back on eye strain and fatigue.  


      How to Choose the Right High Bay for Your Space? 


      Now that we’ve established that there are a lot of options and benefits, it’s time to choose the correct kind of high bay for your space. You’ll want to determine the square footage of the space you’re looking to illuminate, as well as the height. From there, you can determine how bright you want each individual high bay to be. This requires knowledge of the following: 

      • Lumens: Lumens is a measure of brightness and should be considered when choosing high bay LED lights. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light output will be. (Lumens ≠ Wattage) 
      • Foot candles: Foot candles are another unit of measurement used to determine the amount of light needed for different applications. It measures the amount of light that falls on a specific area and can help you determine the appropriate brightness level for your space. 
      • Color rendering index (CRI): CRI is a measure of how well a light source can reproduce colors accurately compared to natural light. A higher CRI means that colors will appear more vivid and accurate under the light. For example, a CRI rating sits between 0 and 100—the higher the number, the better the CRI. Typically, light sources with a CRI of 80 to 90 are regarded as good and those with a CRI of 90+ are excellent. 
      • Beam angle: Beam angle refers to the spread of light emitted from the fixture. A narrow beam angle is best for concentrated lighting needs such as a high ceiling, while a wider beam angle is ideal for wider coverage areas. A standard UFO high bay beam angle is about 90 degrees, as seen in Sunco’s units. 



      Most people tend to stop there when doing their high bay research, but truthfully, there is a bit more to lighting than how bright your fixture is. Take some time to consider things like the Energy Star Rating of your unit, as well as the durability. You’ll want something that is built to last, and that includes a warranty. As an example, Sunco's UFO High Bays boast a 50,000 hour life expectancy, as well as a 7-year warranty Make sure that you find something that will last a while, to prevent extra expenses and re-installation costs.  


      Installation Guide  


      How High Should I Hang My High Bays? 


      Now that you’ve figured out which High Bay is most suitable for your space, it’s time to determine the best way to install them. First things first, measure the heigh and square footage of your desired location. This could be a warehouse, barn, garage, or workshop, but try to ensure that the ceiling of this space is at least 10-15ft high. We’re not trying to flash-bang anyone when we turn the lights on, and high bays are incredibly bright. This goes for all styles of high bays.  

      There are two ways to go about installing your high bays. 


      1. Replacing Your Current Lights  

      If you already have fluorescent or metal halide high bays installed and you’re simply looking to upgrade, be aware that LED high bay lights can give off the same lumens and still operate at a lower wattage than non-LED units. That’s because LEDs use less power, so keep the wattage equivalency in mind. For example, a 1000W metal halide light is similar to a 400W LED high bay light. If you need 8000 watts in an area, you’ll need eight 400W LED high bay lights.  

      This can be confusing, and while most companies provide the wattage equivalency on their product listings, I’ve included a chart to make less work for you.



               2. New Installation: 

      If this is your first time installing lights into a space, you have a little more leeway. But with leeway comes more room for uncertainty, so here are some more general guidelines to give you structure. 

      Generally, lumen output is affected by the installation height. For example: 

      • 10-15 feet high needs 10,000-15,000 lumens of lights 
      • 15-20 feet high needs 16,000 to 20,000 lumens of lights 
      • 25-35 feet high needs 33,000 –35,000 lumens of lights 
      • 40+ feet high needs anywhere over 45,000 lumens of lights 


      Below is another chart to break down how to determine ceiling height and fixture spacing. You can also get a good idea of the recommended lumens and wattage for your space.  


      How Far Apart Should I Space my Lights? 


      This is probably the most common question we get when it comes to UFO high bay installation. Not only is it important for lighting your space well, but it also requires knowledge of your county's electrical codes. Be sure to check with code compliance when installing your high bays. They can differ from state to state and even city to city.  


      The closer together you install your fixtures, the more overlap the light at ground level will have—and the brighter that light will be. The farther apart you install your lights, the less the lights will overlap. Put them far enough apart and, instead of overlapping, you'll have gaps. The bigger the gaps, the more uneven your lighting will be at ground level. 


      Speaking generally, here is what we suggest when considering your High Bay Spacing  


      • 15 to 19-feet high – For factory space lighting, you want the distance for your LED high bay lights to be around 10 to 12 feet apart. With normal, uniform lighting, keep the distance to around 14 feet. 
      • 20 to 29-feet high – If you want more lighting in the area, the light fixture distance should be around 20 feet. Again, standard lighting needs a 14-foot distance. A greater height means more LED high bay lights will be necessary.  
      • 30+ feet – For spaces with high ceilings, the spacing for light should be about 20 feet high to ensure brightness. For normal light and bright conditions, 25-feet of space is best, but the lumen output should be anywhere from 400 to 1,000 Watts.  


      Sunco provides high bay purchasers with an installation manual, as well as a graphic guide on the product page for about how many square feet each height will cover.


      As the graphic explains, these high bays have a 90-degree beam angle, covering a wide square footage per unit, varying slightly based on height. While this graphic focuses exclusively on UFO High bays, below are the recommended heights for Linear High Bays, which have a much longer design and provide a lot of light.  


      Things to Know During Installation: 

      • Be sure to check the compatibility of the dimmer switch you are using, should you choose to purchase a dimmable high bay. Some dimmers do not work in conjunction with lights as powerful as these units.  
      • Determine if you would like to hang your high bay or ceiling mount them. Both linear and UFO high bays from Sunco offer either option. It all just depends on your ceiling height.  


      Common Troubleshooting  

      Everything doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes, after an hour of installation, your lights aren’t working properly. Don’t panic. Here’s a troubleshooting list that should address almost any issues which may occur.  



      Light isn’t turning on. 

      Double check if fixture is properly connected and circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped 

      Light unexpectedly fails 

      Check on possible weather issues or local outages. If you come up short on solutions, check with your lighting retailer regarding warranty and replacements. 

      Light not dimming to lowest setting 

      Ensure that the minimum dimmer load requirement is met. To find out how many LED light bulbs your dimmer switch can support, divide the minimum and maximum load of the dimmer by 10.  

      Light not dimming smoothly 

      Verify dimmer compatibility  

      Light is flickering when turning on 

      Check that fixture wiring connections are secure or verify that the fixture is grounded. 

      Light flickering with other lights on the same circuit. 

      Check that the lights on the same circuit are not overloading the circuit. 

      Fixture is buzzing with power outages. 

      Verify that the light is connected to the surge protector securely 

      Fixture is buzzing with appliances or electronic devices. 

      Look for nearby interferences that can cause buzzing, such as televisions, radios, computers, etc. 

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