Code Question For Closet Lights

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Existing setup:
1955 house, pull chain lights in closets, junction boxes in ceiling, porcelain fixtures flush with ceiling.
Plan:
- Install box extender on existing box. - Run Wiremold raceways from box, across the ceiling and down the wall to surface mount switch box. - Attach porcelain fixtures to box extender.
Any code issues with this plan?
Thanks!
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Not sure about the extender, but for reasons which don't matter, I once had an electrician replace a worn out porcelain fixture in a closet. He said code no longer allowed the installation of incandescent fixtures in closets. Had to be fluorescent. Less chance of fire if anyone stacked cloth items too close to bulb.
This is in Rochester NY.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote: ...

Think it still depends on the closet dimensions; not sure NEC totally bans incandescent in all closets but small closets can possible make it impossible to meet the clearance requirements of the Code (or make existing installations in violation).
The old Code I know required no pendant; and a ceiling mount fixture had to have unobstructed vertically to the floor and a minimum of 18" horizontal clearance to any storage area. A recessed fixture w/ solid lens or surface mount could be on ceiling w/ a minimum distance of (iirc) 8" from nearest storage. Any bracket fixture must be on wall _above_ the door and still provide the 18" clearance.
These reqm'ts may have been tightened further in later versions or localities have more restrictive reqm'ts as well.
--
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If you modify it, you have to bring it up to the current NEC (whichever version is operative in your jurisdiction). If you don't store any clothes in these closets, no problem. For clothes closets, you are restricted in the type and location of the light fixture you use. See NEC Article 410 for the rules, here are the 2008 requirements in a nutshell:
Unenclosed incandescent lamps are prohibited. Enclosed incandescent fixtures must be 12" away from the "storage space" (see below). Enclosed recessed incandescent fixtures, fluroescent fixtures, and LED fixtures must be 6" away from the storage space. Specially identified LED and fluorescent fixtures can be used in the storage space (I don't know whether these exist or not).
So what is the "storage space"? It consists of the following volumes: between the floor and a height of 6' (or the highest rod if that is higher), the space within 24" horizontally of the side and back walls. Above this height, the space within 12" horizontally (or the width of any high shelf, if greater) of the side and back walls.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote: ...

...
Only if you ask... :)
I personally would see no difference and wouldn't hesitate to simply move the switch; closets is one place where the CFL's aren't a bad play in place of incandescents from the safety standpoint...
--
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Sometimes, Wally World has some small LED lamps with an Edison base.
I picked up two "fan sized" LED lamps. They have been used about a month (in fans). If I worried about that stuff, I suppose I would replace the CFLs in my closets with the LEDs.
In the past, I have seen LED stuff have premature failures.

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dpb wrote:

A CFL would certainly be an improvement over an open incandescent.
If I remember right, you used to be able to use an open incandescent but you had to have an open space below it so the bulb could be broken and hot filament pieces fall without hitting anything.
If I was replacing a closet light I would use an actual fluorescent fixture or small enclosed fixture conforming to Waynes description. Closet lights are potential fire sources.
Not sure it is widely known - there are "bushings" that need to be used on the box ends of metal wiremold to protect the wire from the sharp edge.
--
bud--


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How does one balance the cost of CFLs vs. incandescents in this situation?
Is it all just about the safety?
There have been numerous threads in this group about how CFL's should be left on for 15 mins, they aren't recommended for short duty cycles, etc.
Does the fact that they may only be on for a very short period but also are not turned on very often balance out?
In addition, don't most CFL's have "warm up delays" before they reach full brightness? If I'm only in my closet to grab a shirt and some socks, I doubt the CFL will ever reach full brightness.
Meanwhile, these old eyes make me grab a blue shirt and green socks cuz the light is too dim.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Unless you are living in the closet you wouldn't use CFLs because of electrical energy cost.
Incandescent light bulbs are restricted because of heat and the possibility of filament fragments from a broken bulb causing a fire. CFLs shouldn't cause a similar fire unless there was a failure that shouldn't happen in a UL listed one.
I wouldn't use a CFL in a porcelain fixture because someone could replace it with an incandescent [for new wiring also a code violation]. But it should be pretty safe, a lot safer than an incandescent.

All potentially down sides. Someone said they liked CFLs in the bathroom because they were not blinded when turning on the light in the middle of the night. Life is a series of trade-offs.
--
bud--

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Thanks!
Ya know, when I asked "Is it all just about the safety?" you could have just said "Yes". ;-)
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 10:45:47 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

You can get 60W-equivalent CFLs for under $2 each. At that price, the cost is so close to zero that it hardly matters. Back when CFLs were first out and cost $20 each, I was a lot less willing to put them everywhere. Today the only incandescents left in my house are in the oven, refrigerator, and dryer. The nightlights are now all LED.

It's the number of cycles that matters. Whether they are on for a second or a day each cycle, doesn't matter.
I have outdoor CFL floodlamps on a motion detector and have noticed no problems with reduced life. I think that the warnings about cycling, at least with modern CFLs, refer to turning them on and off like a hundred times a day. I've not seen any of these warnings about cycling that give actual, experimental or engineering-verified numbers.

True, though with the better ones, most people don't notice. There's enough light within a second that you feel the light is on. It's only when you are looking very carefully at something, or going to the other side of the room, that you notice an improvement after 30-60 seconds.

Well, here's a real advantage to CFLs. You can get them in daylight spectrum (5500K) for the same price as the yellow ones that imitate incandescent light (2700K to 3500K). I like the HD ones but by now there are probably other good ones. Your eyes can see the colors a lot better with the daylight spectrum light. There's a reason that photographers use 5500K lights.
You can also put in a CFL with a lot more light output for the same wattage -- for example, your closet fixture might be rated for only a 40W bulb, but you could put in a 27W CFL with about four times the light output of a 40W incandescent. Even without waiting for warmup, it's a lot brighter. Much better for the aging eyes. (My eyes are 61yo.) Unless the fixture itself is too small, but I've replaced several fixtures just to be able to get daylight spectrum lights.
Edward
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If $2 is "so close to zero that it hardly matters" why don't you bundle up those $2 notes and send them to me. Anyway, you've picked the most common wattage which for some reason is always the cheapest. 60W is vast overkill for inside the average closet but when you use something more appropriate the cost climbs exponentially. Today at HD I picked up a pack of two (equivalent) 20 watt candelabra base CFL's for the trivial (!) sum of $12.60. I match the light output with what I want to illuminate and it's very rare I come up with (equivalent) 60 watt; either it's 40 watt or less or greater than 150 watt (both equivalent).
Irritatingly, Don Kiplstein (sp?) too is always using the 60 watt loss leader to show how wonderful CFL's are. Dishonest!

You have no antique fixtures, no exposed bulbs, no candelabras, no fixtures where the point of interest is the bulb,... Must live in FL.

I ceased to use nightlights when I was about four.
<snip>

In that case you don't need the wattage you've installed. Use a lower wattage that reaches full power instantly. Oops, I've just described an incandescent.

Nonsense. Photographers use 5500K (or higher) to simulate outdoor conditions. When you use these inside the color is far too blue. People look unreal. 2700K (2500K is even better) makes for more restful viewing. You don't want to have to wear sunglasses inside do you?

Bizarre! Who needs the equivalent of 100W in a closet?
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:49:25 -0400, knuckle-dragger wrote:
[snip]

I have one fixture that uses candelabra bulbs. The CFLs I got at Lowes are OK.

Yes, in the bedroom. A few in the rest of the house could prevent accidents. IIRC, I've always preferred sleeping in the DARK.
BTW, I put up a string of LED holiday lights in the hall, to make it easier to avoid stepping on the small cat who used to sleep there. "Lilly's lights" are named after the cat (the littlest cat). <snip> [snip]

Light that looks blue is going too far. So is yellow. WHITE is more natural. Sunglasses are for when the light is too bright, not when it is the right color.
[snip]
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On 9/25/2010 5:09 PM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

Rueful chuckle. Now that I am middle age, and like many middle-age males, sometimes need to take a leak in the middle of the night, I broke down and put very dim nightlights in the bathrooms. I did this after finding out that even a few seconds of real lights kicked off the morning reboot sequence in my brain, and I can't get back to sleep. Just enough light to find the bathroom door without stubbing my toe, and to aim when I get in there, and I am okay. I can't sleep with lights on in the room either, short of complete exhaustion. In summer, when it gets light real early, if I wake up and can see more than the streetlight shining through the permanently-shut blinds, I may as well get up and start my day.
--
aem sends...

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I have used dimmers in my bathrooms for years. Lots of light when we need ir, very little light for midnight bathroom breaks and romantic showers.
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On Sat, 25 Sep 2010 21:19:38 -0700, DerbyDad03 wrote:
[snip]

Instead of a dimmer, I plug in a string of LED holiday lights. Those are usually enough, but the regular light is still available when necessary.
--
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wrote:

==
When do you plug these in...just when you need them (i.e. the midnight trip to the bathroom) or are they plugged in all the time, acting as a nightlight?

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On Sun, 26 Sep 2010 17:38:24 -0700, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Plugged into an X10 module controlled by a switch next to the bed. There's a fan switch there too. [stale sig snip]
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On Sat, 25 Sep 2010 20:59:28 -0400, aemeijers wrote:

It can, one reason for sleeping in darkness (note that an eyemask is NOT the same, skin is light-sensitive). You could have a remote light switch by the bed. I use X10 for that.
BTW, colored lights are less disturbing. The same reason I avoid too many non-colored holiday lights.

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On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:49:25 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.gov wrote:

That's kind of a duh. Mass production does lower cost. When I have a fixture with three or five sockets, I use the 13W CFLs. When I need more light from a one-socket fixture, I indeed pay more per lumen.

For you, fine. People differ. For me, a single 13W CFL is minimal for a closet, and totally inadequate for any room.

Yep, anything specialty costs a lot more. But you pay a premium price per lumen for those specialty lights in incandescent too. If you can afford to light a room by candelabra, you aren't really one to be complaining about the cost of CFLs.
I'm not gonna say everyone should totally convert to CFL right now. It took me about 15 years to reach the point I'm at now, and as I mentioned I still have incandescent in specialty locations.

If you're only promoting 13W CFLs as a replacement for 60W incandescent -- which after all ARE the most common incandescent size -- then I don't see anything dishonest about it. If you make that comparison to say "buy these 85W CFLs", that's dishonest.

No antique fixtures, no candelabras, true. Hey, I live in ... oh, you said it. My house was built in 1953; it will always have rough edges. I do have a lot of exposed bulbs, and that doesn't bother me at all. I don't look directly at a lit bulb -- do you? And I find the spiral CFLs no uglier than type A incandescent bulbs, which after all are pretty ugly when you get over the fact that you've been looking at them all your life. As I think I said, I replaced some fixtures with ones large enough for the CFLs. The new fixtures were more attractive than the old ones -- at least to me, since I picked the new ones and not the old ones. If you can't afford $15 for a basic light fixture, then you are in a real bind, like to pay for the cost of running incandescents.
You didn't mention another situation in which CFLs don't work: when you want to use a dimmer. Perhaps someday, but right now a dimmable CFL is just a high priced bulb that doesn't do what it claims to.

Yeah, me too. Started again when I was 55. Actually my wife needed them more than I did; she was unsteady on her feet at times. She died this summer, so perhaps I'll pull some of the nightlights. But then my laptop computer pulls about 100 times more power, so I'm not exactly concerned.

Disagree. Your eyes don't adapt to changed lighting instantly, so an instant change in light is not necessarily good. The interaction is likely complex. I agree that in a closet, a quick max is valuable. But if you like 40W incandescent in a closet, a 13W CFL will give the same light in about a second.

Totally because you are accustomed to having yellow light inside. Do people look unreal to you outside? If not, then why do you think they look unreal with the same lighting spectrum inside? Only because of your expectations in that environment.
Or does everything look blue to you in sunlight? People do differ.
And hey, it's great that we have a choice and aren't forced to all use the same color bulbs any more.

Don't worry too much about overloading your eyes. It takes a serious effort to get a CFL setup to 10% of sunlight illuminance. Under typical conditions it'll be more like 1%.

Well, me, though that has a lot to do with overcrowding in my closets. The OP mentioned inadequate light in a closet, though I don't think he said whether this applied to 15W or 60W lights.
Edward
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