Acceptable Type of Light Fixture For Closet Lighting

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

Incandescent luminaires with open or partially enclosed lamps and pendant luminaires or lampholders are not 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

There are location requirements when installing closet lighting 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.