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What is the ruling for track lighting in a closet?

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What is the ruling for track lighting in a closet? (Please refer to the year of the electrical code that addresses it.)
asked in Closet Lighting by darekrudy (21,730 points)
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1 Answer

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Let's begin with a lighting track definition based on 2008 NEC edition:

It is a manufactured assembly designed to support and energize luminaires that are capable of being readily repositioned on the track. Its length can be altered by the addition or subtraction of sections of track.

Since track lighting attachments (luminaries / light fixtures) come in many different flavors track lighting installation in a closet would be most likely (it sometimes depends totally on the inspector’s interpretation of code) treated as a surface mounted clothes closet light fixture and depend on type of those attached light fixtures. Definitions below are from 2008 NEC as well and refer to surface mounted light fixtures:

Luminaires in Clothes Closets (410.16)

Permitted types of luminaries: Listed luminaires of the following types shall be permitted to be installed in a closet:

  1. A surface-mounted or recessed incandescent luminaire with a completely enclosed lamp
  2. A surface-mounted or recessed fluorescent luminaire
  3. Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires identified as suitable for installation within the storage area

Not Permitted Luminaire Types: Incandescent luminaires with open or partially enclosed lamps and pendant luminaires or lampholders shall not be permitted – that would apply to many of the lighting track attachments.

Location: The minimum clearance between luminaires installed in clothes closets and the nearest point of a storage space shall be as follows:

  • 300 mm (12 in.) for surface-mounted incandescent or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling
  • 150 mm (6 in.) for surface-mounted fluorescent luminaires installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling
  • Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires shall be permitted to be installed within the storage space where identified for this use.

2008 NEC also provides a list of not permitted lighting track locations so you’d have to determine if your closet conditions could be associated with any of them:

  1. Lighting track shall not be installed in the following locations:
  2. Where likely to be subjected to physical damage
  3. In wet or damp locations
  4. Where subject to corrosive vapors
  5. In storage battery rooms
  6. In hazardous (classified) locations
  7. Where concealed
  8. Where extended through walls or partitions
  9. Less than 1.5 m (5 ft) above the finished floor except where protected from physical damage or track operating at less than 30 volts rms open-circuit voltage
  10. Where prohibited by 410.10(D) – this applies to bathtub and shower areas
answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)
edited by darekrudy