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stubits 06-19-2009 10:04 AM

Linen Closet Lighting
I am in the process of refinishing a linen closet in my house and would like to include lighting. This is trickier than it first appears because of the design of the closet. The closet is only 31" wide and about 29" deep.

I've planned to make the shelves the full width and length of the closet, so a light mounted to the ceiling would do very little good. To this end, I think I need a separate light source at each shelf, or perhaps something that runs from top to bottom. Of course, it is a linen closet though which means there will be sheets and towels on each shelf, so I don't want to create a fire hazard of any sort. Finally, my attic access is through this closet, so the shelves need to be removable.

I know that NEC 410.8 applies here and I'd like to be compliant, but it seems to only address incandescent and fluorescent. It also seems to require that the light be mounted either on the ceiling or the wall above the door. Neither would do much good in my case.

So, what do you recommend? Are LED lights an option?


ScottR 06-19-2009 10:14 AM

What about a recessed can just outside the closet? With a gimbal or eyeball trim, if you really want a lot of light in there..

I had no light in my hallway. I was considering putting a light in the linen closet that's in that hall, but once I put a can outside the closet (just regular reflective trim) it was plenty bright.

Otherwise, an LED strip light does seem like a good application here, going down the inside of the door jam if the shelves are tight front to back. Though I'm not sure what the NEC says about it, if you get a low-voltage fixture and put the transformer in the attic, I don't see that it would be prohibited.

J. V. 06-19-2009 10:44 AM

A 20 watt fluorescent fixture on the wall above the door is where I would put it. I say 20 watt as it will fit. I would use 30 watt personally, but you do not have the room.

stubits 06-19-2009 11:06 AM

Thanks guys for the suggestions.

Unfortunately, given the setup, a fixture mounted to the wall above the door would only serve to illuminate the shelf below it.

I had not thought of a light mounted in the hallway, although given where the closet is located, it would look rather awkward.

Any thoughts on the use of LED lights vis-a-vis the NEC?


Suzuki91vx800 06-19-2009 11:15 AM

anybody know how expensive a fiber optic set up would cost? they are like the little low voltage lights but the housing that contains the light bulb can be remotely mounted like in a utility room or something where it would be easy to change the bulb. then you could run the lights down the wall or even under the shelfs them self since there would be no or very little heat.

Suzuki91vx800 06-19-2009 11:16 AM

I dont know how many starands you can run off of a single unit but im sure there would be plenty of room for future expansion like for lighting in your living room or home theater lighting and stuff like that

neat stuff

looks kind of expensive but can be expanded upon to accommodate some of your other needs

gma2rjc 06-19-2009 12:19 PM

Having no knowledge of anything electrical, here's a suggestion FWIW.

Can you use the little LED puck lights that are used for task lighting under kitchen cabinets? If you mount one under each shelf, but toward the front where it's closest to the door, you would have enough light.

I don't know how many of those you can hook up to one outlet or one power strip, but it would make it easy when you have to remove the shelves to access the attic. You'd only need to unplug them.

stubits 06-19-2009 12:32 PM

Suzuki- Fiber optic is an excellent option, but too pricey for me for this application. It looks like hundreds of dollars for lighting a 29"x31" closet. Thanks though!

GMA - Thanks! My reading of the NEC suggests that would not be allowable. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Can undercabinet lighting be used in a closet?

BowDown 06-19-2009 01:08 PM

Could use some rope light and a switched outlet? :laughing:

stubits 06-19-2009 01:15 PM

I wouldn't be opposed to it at all. Actually seems like the best solution, but is it up to code? More importantly, is it safe? Any sparkies around willing to chime in?

I think the standard rope light wouldn't work because it is technically an incandescent light. But what if I used LED rope light?

jpelzer 06-19-2009 01:38 PM

I have these in my equipment rack. Choose the white ones (not multicolor). LED, so no heat. 4 of them aught to give enough light to find your towel.

stubits 06-19-2009 01:44 PM

I'd be thinking about these...

I prefer the strip because I'd rather mount to the cleats than to the shelf itself, because as I mentioned, the shelves need to be removable.

That said, I want to make sure that I am not building a fire hazard and would like this to be code compliant if possible. Does anyone know if LED lights are permitted in closets under the NEC?


jpelzer 06-19-2009 01:58 PM

Don't think they'd be covered by the code really, since they're not permanently installed. They're pretty low hazard. If you're really worried, give the transformer breathing room.

stubits 06-19-2009 01:59 PM

Any issues mounting the transformer in the attic?

jpelzer 06-19-2009 02:02 PM

Other than having to run the power up there, and the cords back down, etc? Seems like overkill to me. The transformer for these is like 2"x2"x1/2", pretty tiny.

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