Interior Closet Lighting
Closet lighting is not a place most people would think of as a safety hazard. In older homes with older light bulbs, closets are one of the few places in the house where a source of high heat source can get too close to flammable materials. In early 20th century homes it was all too common to see a lone incandescent light bulb with a pull chain in a closet. Today, lighting must be installed safely, with adequate separation from clothes, boxes and other flammables stored in the closet. We can also choose the quality of the light, as well as bulb efficiency.
By the Numbers
According to the 2009 International Residential Code, closet lighting should be surface mounted with lamps completely enclosed with a clearance from any combustibles of, 12 inches for incandescent or LED lights, and 6 inches for florescent lighting.
Metal pull chains on old ceramic closet fixtures may be dangerous as well; if the base cracks, the chain can become electrified. Should you be standing on a hardwood floor barefoot after a shower, you may get the surprise of your life.
What you Should Do
Homeowners should replace lighting in their clothes closets if the light has the potential to ignite flammable materials in the closet. These days there are an assortment of great lighting choices at Big Box stores light Lowes and Home Depot
For other helpful tips on how to improve your home and keep your family safe, check back often.
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Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Master Inspector
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