I've been working on shelves and storage in the rental house. They
are kind of odd shaped closets and needed some custom shelves which
turned out really well. It's amazing how non square corners can be!
Now, I'm thinking of lighting. I'd have to run wiring, so I'm
thinking of battery operated stuff. What I think would work well is not
overhead lighting but side lighting, so that light wouldn't be shaded by
the shelves. Perhaps even "push lights". An alternative, albeit one that
needs power, would be rope lighting around the inside of the closet door
Anyone have any suggestions/ideas? I'm kind of winging it here.
Community electrical codes in your town may have some standards for
closet lighting. In some, bare bulbs in china fixtures which used to
be common, are now outlawed. Get the skinny from your city hall and
follow the rules. You'll find it to be pretty common sense stuff.
I looked around for push lights today expecting to find some decent
LED lights, no go. Seems like not ago they were everywhere. I'll do as
you suggest and run the wiring and pick up some surface mount light strips.
never care for that ghastly white light. Still, to get at something
Reason I did that: The pull chain broke on my closet ceiling-mounted
incandescent long ago and I never got around to fixing it.
Even bought a whole new porcelain receptacle, but it just sits. VERY
hard to get access; closet is so small.
Check your local code office, especially if you have inspections on
rentals. Some areas no longer allow some types of closet lights due to
heat buildup or 'too easy to smash and get electrocuted' issues. Old
stuff is grandfathered in most cases, but a new install might not be
I think it's silly- an exposed bulb in a porcelain socket above the
inside of the door (or in ceiling near door) was SOP for decades for
walkins and fancy normal closets. I never heard of anyone dying. But
they don't care about my opinion. I'd be more hesitant to put a
fully-enclosed fixture in a confined space, unless there was an
automatic switch built into the door frame. In my experience, those run
a lot hotter if accidentally left on with door closed. It would be a
good application for an LED fixture, if you can find one at a decent price.
I've been using Philips "Stumble lights"
They have a light "head" that has four very bright LEDs and a motion
detector "head" as well that you mount where it will detect a human standing
in front of the closet. I mount the above the inside frame of the door.
Since they run off low voltage transformers, they're of no concern to the
inspector. No batteries and the light is not the garish blue of most LEDs
but a warm white color my wife likes because it does not make clothes colors
Just a warning. They often sell out of items like this (especially when
someone like me posts the URL!) so if you're interested, you might want to
call them and see what kind of stock they have left. It's going to be a few
less than last week because I ordered 10 of each kind (they also make a one
piece unit with the motion sensor embedded in the lighting unit). The
all-in-one units aren't good for closets because the sensor faces the back
of the closet, but I now have them installed from the bedroom to the kitchen
so that I can get up at night and get something to eat without turning on
any of the house lights. So far, after almost a whole year, not one of them
has failed in any way.
I used to use X-10 for projects like this, but their motion sensors are too
"chatty" and put too much traffic on the powerline to be useful (potentially
blocking other X-10 signals) and besides, they would turn on the overheads
and were more likely to wake my wife than the Stumble lights. Wiring's
pretty straightforward, although in one case I had to splice in some extra
wire between the connectors to reach an outlet to plug the transformer into.
One transformer can drive multiple lights (at least two, haven't tried
more). They use a three-pin mini-connector that so far, I have been unable
to locate. )-: But splicing works, so it's not a big issue.
I've never had a problem with Allelectronics. Returning stuff is super
simple and their ground shipping rates are quite reasonable. Not the
greatest prices in town on all their stuff, but I haven't found the Stumble
lights for sale anywhere else, cheaper or not. Been using them for a year
and am quite happy with them. They replaced battery-powered LED lights with
the garish blue tint that didn't put out half the light. I got pretty sick
of feeding them batteries as well.
The layout of four LEDs in a row makes them very suitable for closet
lighting. They even come with mounting gear. Two screws and you're in
business. I actually mount them with screws to a thin piece of plywood and
then attach Velcro to that. I put a strip of Velcro above the inside frame
and attach them that way because drilling two precisely located holes for
the screws is a bit dicey in some closets unless you empty them out.
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