Closet lighting to meet NYC code?

dandylandyJune 24, 2011

Hi there,

Hoping someone here can help me. My GC is telling me that the electrician won't sign off our job if we don't get flat, hideous, fluorescent tube lights in our closets. He said that is the only thing that meets code for closets in NYC.

I find this hard to believe, as we saw a ton of apartments when we were shopping for a place, some of them fairly new construction, that had other types of lighting.

Can someone please advise?

Thanks in advance.

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petey_racer

With the right kind of lamp, flat hideous fluorescent lights will give you the best light in a closet if it is mounted over the door frame. That said, they are not the only approved kinds of fixtures.

What exactly is this guy saying?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:33AM
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weedmeister

There was some talk on here a while back about this. It turned out (IIRC) that it was less about the fixture and more about the distance between the fixture and anything in the closet, like shelves.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 3:39PM
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bus_driver

Lighting in a closet is not required by any code that I know. Do you own a MagLite?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 4:17PM
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dandylandy

Hi again,

OP here, sorry I was away from my computer over the weekend.

When we bought this place, the previous owner had incandescent bulbs in the closets. They had glass globes over them - the round kind that are $10 at Home Depot; half were on the ceiling, half were directly above the door frame. Some were jamb switched, others were on a light switch. We have some walk-in closets, and some reach-in closets.

In all above cases, the GC told me that we would have to install fluorescent tube lighting, as incandescent can get too hot and be a fire hazard (I think this is what he said.)

I am just wondering if anyone can point me to the code, or to an inexpensive fixture - I was thinking maybe we could use a kitchen fluorescent undercabinet light in a closet.

Sorry that I am so ignorant, but can those be hardwired? I am used to seeing the kind with a plug.

See the link to the kind of thing I have found- looking at the 24" one which puts out around 1000 lumens:

Here is a link that might be useful: fluorescent light undercabinet

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 7:13AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

The main concern is that should an incandescent lamp break, hot fragments could fall on clothing, etc. in the closet causing a fire. The choice in fixture is a function of clearance between the fixture and shelving but most closets aren't big enough to leave a lot of choices. You might want to get used to fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps are going the way of the dodo.

As for what you've seen in other apartments, any new work is required to meet the current code, which is changed every few years. Of course, lots of people do things that don't meet code.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:15AM
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dandylandy

Thanks, I have been researching fluorescent and found out I can get a color temperature of around 2700 kelvin which will give a more yellow light similar to incandescent, vs. the normal fluorescents which are more like 5000 kelvin and seem so white and clinical.

Can someone comment if the type of fixture I linked to can be hardwired?

Here is a link that might be useful: can this be hardwired?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:34AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Unfortunately for consumers, fluorescent lamps have more variables than incandescent lamps. Beyond color temperature (measured in degrees Kelvin) there is also the color rendering index (CRI) which measures how accurately colors are rendered. So it's possible to have two fluorescent lamps with the same color temperature but with a different CRI resulting in, say, a sweater looking different under the two light sources.

There are fixtures similar to the one you linked that are able to be hard wired. Your electrician should be able to get them or try a lighting store.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:26PM
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dandylandy

Thanks, Mike, that is helpful to know!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 11:23AM
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chrisk327

Therre are also round globelike florescents. I've been putting in my house ones that Home Depot carries, I think they market it as a kitchen fixture, but its a 9-10" round florescent with a plastic cover, maybe called Silva?

In the longer closets I put in 4' florescents with covers, which has a lot of light output.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 4:25PM
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bus_driver

You described a Circline. I do not like those, but they would meet the NEC requirements. NYC? I do not know.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 4:46PM
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brickeyee

"There was some talk on here a while back about this. It turned out (IIRC) that it was less about the fixture and more about the distance between the fixture and anything in the closet, like shelves."

Both.

Incandescent lights must be enclosed, and all lights have restricted locations.

They are not allowed to be above clothes or shelves.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Ron Natalie

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 space

(B) Luminaire Types Not Permitted. Incandescent luminaires with open or partially enclosed lamps and pendant luminaires or lampholders shall not be permitted.

(C) Location. The minimum clearance between luminaires installed in clothes closets and the nearest point of a closet storage space shall be as follows:

(1) 300 mm (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.

(2) 150 mm (6 in.) for surface-mounted fluorescent luminaires installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling.

(3) 150 mm (6 in.) for recessed incandescent or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source installed in the wall or the ceiling.

(4) 150 mm (6 in.) for recessed fluorescent luminaires installed in the wall or the ceiling.

(5) Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires shall be permitted to be installed within the closet storage space where identified for this use.

You also need to know what closet storage space is defined as.

410.2 Definitions.

Closet Storage Space. The volume bounded by the sides and back closet walls and planes extending from the closet floor vertically to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) or to the highest clothes-hanging rod and parallel to the walls at a horizontal distance of 600 mm (24 in.) from the sides and back of the closet walls, respectively, and continuing vertically to the closet ceiling parallel to the walls at a horizontal distance of 300 mm (12 in.) or the width of the shelf, whichever is greater; for a closet that permits access to both sides of a hanging rod, this space includes the volume below the highest rod extending 300 mm (12 in.) on either side of the rod on a plane horizontal to the floor extending the entire length of the rod.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:46AM
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brickeyee

Depending on your jurisdiction you may NOT be under the moset recent NEC revision.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Ron Natalie

The only thing that has changed in recent memory on this article is the inclusion of LED lighting into the mix (and some gratuitous section renumbering).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:34PM
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