Closet light

chrisk327May 17, 2011

I have a question regarding an acceptable form of closet light, I went through the rough inspection and now am installing fixtures and want to make sure I'm not mistepping here.

I'm planning on installing 3' strip syle florescent fixtures (uncovered) in my closets.

my understanding is that this is acceptable as long as not within 6" of combustable (which they are properly placed for this). is this correct?

the reason I'm favoring this, is b/c the "closet light" florescents were single strip covered, pull chain fixtures, which i'm sure have their place, but aren't all that nice or bright.

basically someone was questioning "shouldn't that have a cover?" and I want to double check my understanding.

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Ron Natalie

You've got the rule wrong. A surface mounted fluorescent luminaire must be mounted 6" away from the nearest clothing storage space.

Clothing storage space is all the space 24" out from the side and back walls up to the height of the highest hanging rod (or 6' if there isn't one) and then from the width of any shelf or 12" (which ever is more) up to the ceiling.

Covers are only strictly required on incandescent fixtures (which also have different clearance requirements).

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:31PM
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brickeyee

A can light with a cover (glass) over the opening is often about the easiest to install and get approved.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Ron Natalie

Perhaps, but it doesn't improve things as far as the NEC is concerned.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 12:41PM
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chrisk327

ok thanks, I'm pretty sure we're in compliance based upon that definition. I can't imagine possibly being able to fit something with greater clearance requirements in a closet with those limitations. I basically wouldn't be able to have a shelf at all in a 24" x 48" closet.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:28PM
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brickeyee

"Perhaps, but it doesn't improve things as far as the NEC is concerned."

Yes it does.

The light still needs to be in the allowed areas, but it IS an NEC compliant installation.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Ron Natalie

Huh? The presence or absence of a cover, or the differentiation of surface mount vs. recessed (other than maybe an inch more clearance) of a fluorescent fixture makes NO difference at all as far as anything in the NEC.

The only time a cover makes a difference is with incandescent fixtures.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:23PM
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chrisk327

ok. for whatever this is worth, I asked the electrician who is wiring my boiler and panel. he told me that I won't pass inspection if I don't have a cover on the fluorescents.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Ron Natalie

Like I said, the NEC doesn't care.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 11:54AM
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brickeyee

I have been using recessed incandescent fixtures with a glass cover for many years, and no AHJ has ever batted an eye.

The easy availability of glass covers tor standard can lights has lowered the cost of the fixture.

A recessed fixture is no longer actually 'in' the closet at all.

It is in the joist cavity separated from the closet by a glass cover.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:27PM
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Ron Natalie

We're not talking about incandescents here. Bare or exposed incandescent bulbs and pendants are specifically disallowed by the code. Recessed or surface mounted fluorescents are.
Now if the fixture is enclosed and is missing the cover, that is one thing, but my recessed can with the bare fluorescent (pin based so you can't stick an incandescent bulb in the luminaire) is perfectly accesptable and passes code here in VA.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 1:29PM
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