Both Canada and the U.S. have requirements in their respective electrical codes for lighting in storage and clothing closets. For clothing closets, the guidelines specify light placement and warn against the use of pendant lights and incandescent lights that are not lensed (covered) for safety against fire breaking bulbs. Both Canadian and U.S. electrical codes also specify the types of fixtures that may be used in commercial storage and utility spaces. More specifics on the electrical codes governing clothing closets and utility storage spaces are covered below. (image of professional master electrician)
Clothing Closet Lighting Specifications
Canadian electrical code (section 30:204)
- Every luminaire installed in a clothes closet shall be located on the ceiling or on the front wall above the door of the closet, unless mounted on the trim or sidewall of the doorway and approved for the application.
- Lamp holders and luminaires of the pendant or suspended type, and lamp holders and luminaires of the bare lamp type shall not be installed in clothes closets.
The U.S. National Electrical Code (NEC) (section 410-8)
- Pendant fixtures are not permitted to be installed in clothes closets.
- Fluorescent fixtures are allowed but must be either recessed or surface mounted.
- LED fixture must also be fully enclosed at a distances ranging from 6-12 inches from walls and ceilings.
Storage Space Lighting Specifications
According to the International Code Council (section E3803.4 covering storage or equipment spaces) lighting is required in storage spaces which meet the following criteria:
- In attics, under-floor spaces, utility rooms and basements, at least one lighting outlet shall be installed where these spaces are used for storage or contain equipment requiring servicing.
- Such lighting outlet shall be controlled by a wall switch or shall have an integral switch.
- At least one point of control shall be at the usual point of entry to these spaces.
- The lighting outlet shall be provided at or near the equipment requiring servicing.
This brief description of electrical code relating to closets and utility storage is by no means exhaustive. If in doubt of safety, it’s important to consult a professional electrician.
Get our eBook, How to Light a Small Storage Space, to learn everything you need to know about lighting closets and other small storage spaces.