Without looking it up....

In clothes closets, surface-mounted incandescent luminaries shall have ____ inches of clearance from the nearest point of storage space.

Without looking it up now…



12 inches. (6 in. for fluorescent or recessed incandescents) There is always a qualifier it seems.

In my opinion, whether it is 6" or 24", if it is in a closet and suseptable to being hit, there should not be one unless protected from being hit period.

Any wall light with a shield or some sort of guard protection would work.
It could be a safety hazard no matter where it is.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

And if it is a incandescent it has to have a completely enclosed lamp

I agree Marcel, I always write them up if they are directly above a shelf, as no matter what the height stuff will be stacked to the ceiling on that shelf and the top thing, touching the light will be something highly flammable, never fails!

Now, if they are offset far enough to make the stack of used xmas wrapping tissue paper fall over, and its covered to keep the bulb from being broken, then I don’t write it up. Typically, I want to see between 6-12" of offset from the shelf so that its very difficult if not impossible for the things on the shelf to touch the cover and get hot. I also don’t care what kind of bulb is in the fixture, as it’s easy for the new owner to throw out the CF bulb and put in a 100w (into the 40w max fixture) incandescent bulb.

So should the clearance be measured from the lamp or the closest part of the enclosure?

I see a gazillion of the keyless light sockets in clothes closets, most well within just inches of the shelfing. I write them up but people rarely change them. They usually stare at me like a calf staring at a passing train.

LOL, like the description.

When I lived in Austin I saw alot of those too. All of them had a wire basket around the bulb, it attaches to the fixture, and you could find them at HD/Lowes. Maybe one of the TX inspectors has a photo. Someone told me that you could not sell a house with a bare bulb in the closet there, could be wrong.

Found this on the subject.

Household Fire Hazards

Closets, lamps, blankets

<LI valign=“top”>Closets, lamps, blankets

Each of the following scenarios illustrates situations that can happen in just about any home. All were taken from real-life stories. One or both of us have experienced more than one of them as well.
Light at the Top

There’s a cavernous storage closet on the lower level of your home. It has just one wimpy light fixture—an exposed bulb in a basic light holder. Pretty much everything gets stored here when not in use. Over the years, what used to be manageable stacks of clothing and other household items have grown tall, and a couple of them are inching near the light bulb.

Cause for concern? Yes, especially if clothing is allowed to pile up near the fixture. An estimated 12 percent of all house fires begin in a closet. An incandescent light burns at between 212 and 572°F. Wool can ignite at 442°F, cotton at 482°F. Even a 40-watt bulb can generate enough surface heat to ignite fabric or plastic.

Clothing should always be kept away from closet light fixtures. If the fixture in your closet is mounted too close to shelves or rods, remove them. If it’s a bare-bulb fixture, often found in older homes, replace it with a glass-globe fixture.

I think the artical adds to the loggic.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Opinions please.:wink:

IMG_2749 (Small).JPG

From the photo, looks like something I’d write up, but it’s hard to tell how close things are in that photo too. How close is that box to the bulb?

(B) Luminaire (Fixture) Types Permitted. Listed luminaires (fixtures) of the following types shall be permitted to be installed in a closet:
(1) A surface-mounted or** recessed incandescent luminaire (fixture) with a completely enclosed lamp**
(2) A surface-mounted or recessed fluorescent luminaire (fixture)

© Luminaire (Fixture) Types Not Permitted. Incandescent luminaires (fixtures) with open or partially enclosed lamps and pendant luminaires (fixtures) or lampholders shall not be permitted.

the closest part of the enclosure

I could post an illustration but the instructions say “without looking it up” so I won’t. :neutral:

I love common sense. The “code” answer is 12.

What would be your narrative for a hazardous light in a clothes closet? Do you reference the exact code? Or do you use phrases such as “not to standards” or “in relation to safe building practices” or “in my opinion”?

I need your input for an upcoming NACHI.TV episode.

In short: How to you write up a code violation in your home inspection report?

Yep. I have a good one too. Let’s post them after a bit.

I posted my photo to get us all to think through the issue.

*In clothes closets, surface-mounted incandescent luminaries shall have *** ample ** inches of clearance from the nearest point of storage space.

Ben, since we all know that Code is a Minimum requirement allowed and we are not Code enforcers, I believe that stating relation to safe building practices would be in order.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley: