Closet Incandescent Clearance ?

I know that surface incandescent bulbs should be fully enclosed and kept a minimum of 12" from storage, but how far do they need to be from the wall? Here, this one is 3.5" which seems way too close.

Closet: no open incadescent bulbs allowed

In new construction.

I old construction reccomend flourescent bulb if cleareance is 6"

Porcelain or plastic lampholders of the key less or pull chain types are not, and never were allowed in a clothes closet, because they are not considered as a fixture. See 410.8 in the NEC.

Joe is 100 percent correct…The use of a sqigly flour (CFL) is not allowed in a keyless in your example to circumvent the requirements of 410.8

Suggest they replace it with a REAL fixture with an enclosed bulb…is your best suggestion to them.

Ok…Im off to work…Gotta FAIL people…lol

Pay close attention to what Joe said in the part that I have highlited in Bold.

Yeah, but thousands upon thousands were installed in closets by licensed electricians through the years, were approved by the AHJ, and remain in service.

You guys kill me

Joe I would say that that is a very broad assumption as there are areas in out nation today that still don’t have licensing requirements or inspections.

Some areas of our nation have had licensing requirements and inspections departments for less than 20 years and even less time than that.

To simply assume that because it was installed that it was done by a licensed electrician and also inspected by a code official would simply be a wrong assumption.

I have seen lamp holders installed in closets by Mr. Homeowner or some handyman that he hired to replace the light that was installed simply because the ballast burn out. A keyless is $1.29 ballast is $25 so the choice is easy for a penny pincher.

So to say a keyless is there so it must have been installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by a code official would be a very broad statement.

With the same breath I will say that our system is not flawless. There has been many an innocent man put to death by our legal system and many have spent years incarcerated to later be proven innocent.
I am sure that there are many keyless fixtures that were installed by licensed electricians and passed by the code officials. This is one of the reasons that we depend on the Home Inspector, is it not?

Cut the crap, Mike.

NY has been doing inspections under the Board of Fire Underwriters forever. Up until, I believe 2002, all I say were porcelain fixtures in closets in new construction.

Now, I know that Harry the Homeowner does dumb things all the time, but that is not what I am talking about. I always recommend a covered fixture, for safety sake.

Here’s the type of stuff we face…

Just got off the phone with an electrical contractor. Brand new construction. Electrical panel ramset directly to poured concrete foundation wall. Cables are not secured above panel. Two circuits in panel with ground and neutral commoned under single lugs. I call out these conditions, and only ask for ground/neutral conditins to be corrected. get a call from contractor, and asks me for an NEC reference before he’ll do anything.

Now come on…How much time and money does the Electrician really think he/she is saving by securing the panel to a concrete foundation. It’s not that hard and it doesn’t take that long to secure a lousy piece of plywood (or OSB) to the foundation and then secure the electrical panel to this backing with short wood screws and now they’ve got a surface to staple the branch wires to within 12 inches of the panel.

In the building codes in Article 319 we will find that any lumber such as the OSB referred to above would be required to be pressure treated so OSB would not work.

Here is a couple of examples from this week of stupid installation practices by someone other than the homeowner. This is a home with an EIFS exterior. Someone in one of the trades screw mounted the panel and the conduit clamps thru the EIFS. There were also numerous exterior light fixtures simply mounted. It was a comedy of errors from the EIFS installation right down to the last piece of trim. And yes, those are drywall screws holding the clip on and self tapping sheet metal screws on the panel mounting flange.


I agree and did not find out that the subject of our discussion was an issue until 1981 after I started with NFPA as a Staff Liaison, the UL person on the Code Panel was the one who mentioned the differences. I too have approved the open bulb in closets, but we have to agree that it is a fire hazard.

Joe T. while we are on the same subject here do you recall when the NEC did enforce this code 410.8 ] what year they start doing that ??

The reason why i try to back track how far it did start the enforceing that part.

the oldest code book i have is 1993 but it printed in French for me the later ones are in engish.


Merci, Marc

I have been told it is acceptable above the door.

Over the door is usually the safest place but you still need to be a foot away from the storage space in a vertical plane. You also need an enclosed lamp holder.

I just looked and in 1975 “wall…over the door” was one of the mandated spots. “Ceiling” was the other but it had to be 18" from storage space measured horizontally in either space. Bare bulb was not addressed directly but a fully enclosed, flush mounted fixtures were exempt.

1990 seems to be when they added first swing at the current rules and the graphic.


Greg… is there a luminaire reference in that diagram?