Closet lights - fluorescent, halogen or LED??

akrobinOctober 23, 2008

My husband and I are doing a major remodel of our new house and since he's away from home, I get the job of managing it all. It's been a great learning experience, but right now the lighting is making me crazy. I've got a couple of questions, but will break them down by topics.

I want to put lights inside our closets (96" x 24", with sliding doors)...attached to the header above the door, hardwired, with a switch outside the closet. Everything I see online is either battery operated or fluorescent. I'm not opposed to fluorescent, we have CFL's in all our lamps, but it doesn't seem like the best application for fluorescent lights. I want something that will be happy running for five to ten minutes at a time, a couple times a day.

Halogen lights seem like a good alternative. I like the idea of using a two or three bulb direction spotlight or short track light, so that I can aim the lights into different areas of the closet.

Has anyone done this or seen it done? Do you know if halogen lights fall under incandescent or fluorescent when it comes to code? And what does it mean when the say that an incandescant light must have a "closed lens"? The halogen light I am looking at does not protrude at all from the shade. Does that count?

Finally, does anyone have experience with LED lights in closets? Seen any that aren't battery operated?

If this wasn't challenging enough...check out my next question: Low Voltage Light Transformers - Magnetic or Electronic?

Thanks, in advance, for your help!

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lightguy

I use low voltage halogen for my closet.
The important thing is how well the light shows the true colors of your clothes.

Halogen is the best. It has a very high CRI (color rendering index). Fluorescent bulbs are notoriously bad with their CRI. LEDs generally are not good either. Now, the Cree recessed lights have great CRIs. Not as good as halogen, but still in the 90%+ range.

If you're thinking of a track, and the clothes won't be affected by the heat, go with low voltage halogen.

As for transformer. They're both technically good. Fixtures with integral individual transformers are usually electronic.
Both have positives and negatives. It sort of depends on what your light fixture is.

Sorry for the vagueness on the second question.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 7:24PM
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akrobin

Thanks for that. Are halogens really so hot that they would affect my clothes?

My transformer question is actually a separate post, with more details on my dilemna...you know, in case you want to check that one out too. I could use all the help I can get.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 8:31PM
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solarpowered

Per NEC section 410.8(B), the only types of luminaires allowed in a closet are:

(1) A surface-mounted or recessed incandescent luminaire
(fixture) with a completely enclosed lamp
(2) A surface-mounted or recessed fluorescent luminaire
(fixture)

Also, per 410.8(D), there are the following restrictions on location:

(1) Surface-mounted incandescent luminaires (fixtures) installed
on the wall above the door or on the ceiling,
provided there is a minimum clearance of 300 mm
(12 in.) between the luminaire (fixture) and the nearest
point of a storage space
(2) Surface-mounted fluorescent luminaires (fixtures) installed
on the wall above the door or on the ceiling,
provided there is a minimum clearance of 150 mm
(6 in.) between the luminaire (fixture) and the nearest
point of a storage space
(3) Recessed incandescent luminaires (fixtures) with a
completely enclosed lamp installed in the wall or the
ceiling, provided there is a minimum clearance of
150 mm (6 in.) between the luminaire (fixture) and the
nearest point of a storage space
(4) Recessed fluorescent luminaires (fixtures) installed in
the wall or the ceiling, provided there is a minimum
clearance of 150 mm (6 in.) between the luminaire
(fixture) and the nearest point of a storage space

I note that "storage space" is defined in 410.8(A).

I doubt that track lighting is considered "surface-mounted luminaires." In any case, it is rare for a track fixture to be "fully-enclosed."

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:24AM
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modernhouse

I have a similar closet where I have mounted 2 14W T5 fluorescent Juno fixtures. They turn on instantly (unlike all my other CFL) and provide plenty of light. The model Juno fixture is UFL22.

Here is a link that might be useful: Juno UFL22

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 3:19PM
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akrobin

Thanks for all the good info. It's not exactly the answer I was looking for, but there's no point in installing something that is not to code. The Juno lights look like they could work. It seems odd though that they all switch on/off from the fixture...I was hoping to wire it to a switch outside of the closet.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 7:55PM
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modernhouse

I have the Junos on a wall light switch and not on the switch on the light fixture. It was no problem.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 1:00AM
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sherwhy

We are going with CFL's in closets and laundry room. The rest of the house will be LED. I'd save money and go with CFL in areas you don't use very much.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:14AM
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srg215

we're doing exactly the same as sherwhy.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:21PM
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