Rules for putting a light fixture in a small closet?

Old 03-09-09, 10:42 AM
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Rules for putting a light fixture in a small closet?

Hi, my wife is bugging me to add some lighting to a small pantry/closet in our kitchen. I would prefer to light it using a recessed light outside the pantry. She, however, has seen a neighbor's house with a recessed light in the closet. The switch turns the light on/off when the door is opened/closed. The problem I see is heat, since this is only about 26" x 24" big, and the light would only be maybe 18" above some of the items in the pantry. This seems like a bad idea because of the heat. Also seems like the lower shelves wouldn't get much light, even if the new fixture was placed at the very front of the enclosure.

Can anybody advise what the codes say about this type of situation? Thanks!
Old 03-09-09, 06:34 PM
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How about mounting a fluorescent strip light (T-8) above the header of the door? They give off very little heat, you will shine light all over the pantry items, and the light will be pretty much hidden.

Code wise there are restrictions about mounting lights in clothes closets but this is a pantry. However, some inspectors will still in force the same codes because you could easily put combustible items in there.
Old 03-09-09, 08:02 PM
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You could buy a can light designed to accept a CFL.
Old 03-15-09, 10:16 AM
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I wish I could be of assistance on the legal/code end, but I don't have experience in that.

For useable light in a closet, I recommend getting a 1 light flush mount. You can put in a CFL that will only draw 12-14watts, so heat won't be an issue. Flush mounts/ Close to ceiling lights that are only 1 light can be found in diameters as small as ~8". You could mount it up in the front of the closet and it should give enough light. Even if it didn't an 18 watt CFL (75 watt equivelent) would surely do the job.

The downside to using CFLs in them: Warm up period may be inconvenient if you are just going in the pantry 30 seconds at a time.

The great thing about using flush mounts, is they are cheap. You can get a 1 light for $9 at home depot.
Old 03-29-09, 01:10 PM
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I might suggest a slightly different approach (one in which I am in the process of doing). I am planning to use recessed lights but setting them up for LED lighting capsules. It appears that they will likely never have to be replaced (approx 50,000 hour life) and use 15-20 % of the power of incandescent; therefore they generate much less heat.

I realize that this would cost approx 100.00; but I think it will more than pay for itself eventually; and the low-heat is a real plus for my application.

I dont like CFL's because they don't dim very well and they flicker.

Old 03-30-09, 08:32 AM
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Closet Lighting

NEC article 410.8 covers lighting in clothes closets.

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