Closet Lighting: Is Yours Up To Code? Let’s Ask An Electrician
Closet lighting is a great thing to have, and as electricians, we actually recommend it. It’s not cool going into work with two different shoes on because you thought one was black instead of blue. We can all agree that a well-lit closet is added convenience to be able to see what you are actually picking out to wear, and helps you to see what you actually own!
Back in the day, it was as simple as pulling a chain to turn on a single light bulb to illuminate your wardrobe. But this simple lighting concept that many had/still have in their closets is now in violation of the NEC (National Electric Code) standards.
Is Your Closet Lighting Up To NEC Standards?
Article 410 of the NEC is all about installation of lighting products, including luminaries, lamp holders, lamps, etc. Specifically, NEC 410.16 covers the safety standards for the installation of closet lighting.
Acceptable Type of Light Fixture For Closet Lighting
According to the NEC 410.16(A), the following is defined as acceptable for installation in clothing closets:
- Surface or recessed incandescent or LED luminaires with an enclosed light source.
- Surface or recessed fluorescent luminaires.
- Surface-mounted or recessed LED luminaires identified for use within the closet storage space.
Unacceptable Type of Light Fixture For Closet Lighting
NEC 410.16(B) states: “Incandescent luminaires with open or partially enclosed lamps and pendant luminaires or lampholders shall not be permitted.”
What this means is that you cannot have one single exposed light bulb hanging down with a pull chain for lighting your clothing closets. Another example of this is your standard incandescent recessed lighting fixture because the light bulb is partially enclosed, not fully enclosed. LED light fixtures must also be fully enclosed, unless they are identified as safe for closet space.
Why Can’t I Have a Partially Enclosed Light Fixture In My Closet?
It’s a fire hazard. Plain and simple. Light bulbs, especially those of the incandescent type, run hot. We can easily forget to turn off a light in our home, especially if we have children. Leaving that light on for an extended period of time in a closet that has common combustible materials can definitely be a potential fire hazard.
Spacing Requirements For Closet Light Fixtures
Yes, there are even location requirements when installing closet lighting fixtures. NEC 410.16(C) states that when installing these light fixtures:
- 12 in. for surface-mounted incandescent or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling.
- 6 in. for surface-mounted fluorescent luminaires installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling.
- 6 in. for recessed incandescent or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source installed in the wall or the ceiling.
Hire A Licensed Electrician For Closet Lighting Installation
Need help updating your closet lighting so that it is up to code? Need help adding closet lighting so that it is done correctly up to code? Call KB Electric LLC, your number 1 licensed electrician for professional, and precise installation for all of your closet lighting needs. (267) 467-3178.