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#214530 - 12/18/14 06:56 PM closet lights
sparkync Offline

Registered: 10/17/02
Posts: 811
Loc: NC
According to the diagram layout of clearance in a clothes closet in Figure 410.2 ( 2011 Code), if I wanted to put an incandescent light in a closet, would I have to go by the bottom storage space which is 24 inches or the top storage space which is 12 inches? That would make a totally enclosed incandescent surface mount light being at least 36 inches from the side wall and back wall. Am I correct? The code says "from the nearest point of a closet storage space".
thanks. Lady I'm doing work for don't like florescets and the closet is packed:(

2014 / 2011 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
#214538 - 12/19/14 11:28 AM Re: closet lights [Re: sparkync]
RSmike Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 130
Loc: Holland, MI USA
Does she like the idea of her house burning down...

How about LED fixtures?

I'm more of an industrial code weenie so I sometimes stumble with house stuff. (Now if it was a Class 1 Div 1 closet I know exactly what you need. haha!)

I'll try to help. Also look at 410.16(C)for location of luminaire. I think this might help you out.

Perhaps if you explain the intent and that the reason is because people are burning down their houses the client will understand.

I'm renovating a closet in my old house. I'm pretty sure I'm going with some type of surface mount LED fixture. I know they still get hot but nothing like a bare incandescent hanging out there just waiting for the fire department to show up... wink


#214539 - 12/19/14 01:01 PM Re: closet lights [Re: sparkync]
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA

This is from the '14 NEC....

"410.16 Luminaires in Clothes Closets.
(A) Luminaire Types Permitted. Only luminaires of the
following types shall be permitted in a closet:
(1) Surface-mounted or recessed incandescent or LED luminaires
with completely enclosed light sources
(2) Surface-mounted or recessed fluorescent luminaires
(3) Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires identified
as suitable for installation within the closet storage

Read (3) carefully, then you could find an LED that is id'd as....! It will not be 'cheap'.

An option is a fluorescent with lamps that suit the clients taste. A good lighting showroom/salesperson can get you fluorescent bulbs that are close to incandescent appearance.

#214540 - 12/19/14 02:54 PM Re: closet lights [Re: sparkync]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
While you're looking at (3), feel free to send ME a thank-you note!

That provision is the result of a proposal I made for the 05 edition, intended to allow illuminated clothes rods to be used in closets.

I wanted the Code to recognize that UL standards already evaluate surface temperatures of such lights, specifically with the intent of preventing 'contact ignition.' In other words, it's already been tested, and you're NOT going to start a fire with them.

Personally, I can't think I've ever seen a closet where there would be a problem if the light were mounted on the wall, above the doorway. The usual practice of sticking a box in the ceiling is a very poor choice. I expect it has persisted as that box is often also a junction box where circuits separate. In older homes (pre-1950) that box is often the first box from the panel.

Otherwise, get creative. Replace the fixture with a receptacle, plug in some holiday lights (of the 'net' or 'icicle' variety), and fill the closet with a shadow-free glow. Wrap the lights around /above the door frame, and they'll never notice them

More likely - install a recessed can with a 'dropped' shower trim. This will direct the light all over- rather than the usual spot on the floor. Again, with a frosted cover, they'll never notice it's fluorescent or LED.

#214545 - 12/19/14 11:40 PM Re: closet lights [Re: sparkync]
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9025
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I had a proposal in too, "accepted in principle".
I guess a lot of people had that idea.
Greg Fretwell

#214547 - 12/20/14 09:17 AM Re: closet lights [Re: sparkync]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
It wasn't that easy.

The story:
A manufacturer of illuminated hanging rods got them UL listed, intending them to be part of store window displays. In no time at all, folks were putting them in their household closets.

This created an issue; UL will not list something that violates the NEC. This is still one of the problems UL has with outlet strips, but that's another discussion.

Yet ... a shirt is a shirt is a shirt. If the light won't ignite it at Macy's, it won't ignite it in your home.

I proposed the NEC allow for fixtures to be allowed closer to clothes if they were cool enough. Yes, there were other proposals. The manufacturer was NOT one of the proposers.

My proposal was flatly rejected. If UL lists it, we'll consider changing the code, said the panel.

Now the topic came alive. The manufacturer came alive. UL quietly told the panel that they had it backwards. Language was adopted that pretty much aped my proposal (specified temperature limit was changed to conform to other UL standards).

Proposal accepted.

Out comes the 'draft' version, and the change is mysteriously absent.

Code is published, and .... there it is!

Finally, out comes the "analysis of changes," explaining the reasons for the change. There was even a picture of an illuminated closet rod. Most amazing, the explanation was taken almost word-for-word from my original proposal.

That's why I claim credit for this particular change.


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