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I just picked up a great deal on some 4' fluorescent ceiling mount lights for my garage. Looking at the docs from the manufacturer, they state:

MOUNTING Ceiling surface mount (HO and VHO units must be suspended at least 6” from ceiling for cooler operation and longer ballast life)

Does this mean that I can't surface mount my surface mount lights?

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    Is it a High Output or Very High Output unit? – Comintern Feb 4 '16 at 13:49
  • Even the regular ones are happier (run cooler = live longer) with some room for air to circulate. – Ecnerwal Feb 4 '16 at 16:53
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High output fluorescent lights do generate a fair amount of heat. If directly attached to a solid surface the ballast will over heat and may turn off to cool down. The life of the light will be reduced due to the high heat. I always use 12 gauge single jack chain for mounting the 6 tube enclosed fixtures. I do have 5 or 6, 4 tube open fixtures that are directly mounted to the ceiling. The enclosed fixtures when directly mounted shut down and some have to be power cycled to get them to restart (after finding this out all the enclosed fixtures were suspended and they worked great after that).

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There is always some fine print. I don't know if this is the light that you purchased, but it has the exact wording, so I'll show it as the example. The line in question means that they are surface mountable up to that level of light output (since they produce more heat.)

Reading lighting specs

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