1955 house, pull chain lights in closets, junction boxes in ceiling,
porcelain fixtures flush with ceiling.
- 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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
How does one balance the cost of CFLs vs. incandescents in this
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Bizarre! Who needs the equivalent of 100W in a closet?
On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:49:25 -0400, knuckle-dragger wrote:
I have one fixture that uses candelabra bulbs. The CFLs I got at Lowes
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).
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.
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.
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.
90 days until The winter celebration (Saturday December 25, 2010
On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:49:25 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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.
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