Lights in a flood zone


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Old 01-01-19, 03:02 PM
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Lights in a flood zone

I have a new construction home that is being built in a VE flood zone. The entire house is elevated and is sitting on concrete piles. The bottom of the structure is 12' above the ground. There are two forms of egress from the house. One is an exterior stairway that is open to the environment. The other is an enclosed stairway that is surrounded by break away walls. The enclosed area is very minimal, but there are two closet areas that we will use for general storage and that house incoming utilities. I am getting a bit stuck on the lighting of these two areas. In any normal house, both of these areas would need lights and a switch.

Per R322.1.6, you cannot locate any electrical/mechanical/etc systems below the flood plane. Except, and I will paraphrase a bit: "Locating electrical systems, etc. is permitted below the elevation required in Section R322.2 or R322.3 provided that they are designed and installed to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components.... Electrical wiring systems are permitted to be located below the required elevation provided that they conform to the provisions of the electrical part of this code for wet locations."

Now looking at the code for wet locations E3905.11, "In damp or wet locations, boxes, conduit bodies and fittings shall be placed or equipped so as to prevent moisture from entering or accumulating within the box, conduit body or fitting. Boxes, conduit bodies and fittings installed in wet locations shall be listed for use in
wet locations. Where drainage openings are installed in the field in boxes or conduit bodies..."

The general plan was to install all purpose grey PVC conduit and junction boxes. This would take care of the waterproofing of the wires. However, I am getting stuck on the lights. Lights I see that are rated for wet locations do not supply any sort of seal to the junction box in the conduit. Even if I were to put in a flood light, which comes with a nice gasket that seals to the junction box, if the light were submerged it would let water in through the light bulb area. SO....

How do you all interpret this? Am I supposed to just put in a wet location rated light and ignore the fact that there is no seal? Am I supposed to be purchasing lights made for swimming pools that are made to be submerged for long periods? Not only are those expensive, but also not an attractive choice for in your storage area. Even finding lights that have some sort of water submergence rating is extremely difficult. Almost everything I see is made for being outdoors, so they are far brighter than anything required in a large storage closet. In an ideal world, I would be looking for a light that could be mounted on the ceiling or on the wall, mount to a conduit junction box (any size), 600-800 lumens and provide a seal against water intrusion if a flood event happens. But I just don't see anything that fits the bill. So what am I missing?
 
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Old 01-01-19, 04:23 PM
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Electrical wiring systems are permitted to be located below the required elevation provided that they conform to the provisions of the electrical part of this code for wet locations
I think what you are finding is pretty clear. That part of the code says that the electrical only needs to be rated for wet locations. Wet locations fixtures are not designed to be submersible, they are only designed to be resistant to rain, etc and drain any water that might get into the fixture.

That said I would recommend either going with a submersible type fixture or something that is highly water resistant.

Not only are those expensive, but also not an attractive choice for in your storage area
If it is a storage room, who cares what they look like? Function over fashion. Google wet location LED strip lights. You will get many good options.
 
 

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