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  1. #1
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    Default Light in storage spaces and closet

    Does anyone know if lighting in storage spaces under stairways is required. I can't find it in the IRC.

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    Does anyone know if lighting in storage spaces under stairways is required. I can't find it in the IRC.

    Thanks
    Here you go Mathew.
    Code question on lighting. from march 7th
    Not sure if one is required for Harry Potters bedroom


    From the 2006 IRC. (underlining is mine)

    - E3803.4 Storage or equipment spaces.
    In attics, under-floor spaces, utility rooms and basements, at least one lighting outlet shall be installed where these spaces are used for storage or contain equipment requiring servicing. Such lighting outlet shall be controlled by a wall switch or shall have an integral switch. At least one point of control shall be at the usual point of entry to these spaces. The lighting outlet shall be provided at or near the equipment requiring servicing.

    I would have to say that 'under-stair' is 'under-floor' as stairs are also walking spaces.

    Also, that section initially states "Storage ... spaces", and that is a "storage space".

    Yes, it needs a light - either pull-chain or wall switched.


  3. #3
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Here you go Mathew.
    Code question on lighting. from march 7th
    Not sure if one is required for Harry Potters bedroom


    From the 2006 IRC. (underlining is mine)

    - E3803.4 Storage or equipment spaces.
    In attics, under-floor spaces, utility rooms and basements, at least one lighting outlet shall be installed where these spaces are used for storage or contain equipment requiring servicing. Such lighting outlet shall be controlled by a wall switch or shall have an integral switch. At least one point of control shall be at the usual point of entry to these spaces. The lighting outlet shall be provided at or near the equipment requiring servicing.

    I would have to say that 'under-stair' is 'under-floor' as stairs are also walking spaces.

    Also, that section initially states "Storage ... spaces", and that is a "storage space".

    Yes, it needs a light - either pull-chain or wall switched.


    You are right, however, what gets me is... a closet is also a storage space and yet there is no req. for lighting there. Hmmmm... maybe it's time to submit a proposal?


  4. #4
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Storage vs Closet, let the games begin.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greenwalt View Post
    Storage vs Closet, let the games begin.
    Before I reply, what's the prize?

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    If it's required, it's not enforced on new construction in my area. I don't think it should be required for a closet, whether under the stairs or in a bedroom. In my opinion, the under floor aspect of that code citation is referring to under the ground floor, as in a crawl space with a furnace or sump pump in it.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  7. #7
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet is required in every habitable room and bathroom. It is not required in a closet.

    Some storage or equipment spaces require lighting outlets. They are spelled out in IRC E3803.4, which was quoted above.

    "Under-floor space" is just another way of referring to what we commonly call a "crawl space".


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    It does not say in 'underfloor storage closets', it says:

    What is covered by this section:
    - Storage or equipment spaces

    What spaces are covered in this section:
    - - In ...
    - - - attics,
    - - - under-floor spaces,
    - - - utility rooms
    - - - and
    - - - basements,

    What, how many, and where it is to be:
    - at least one
    - lighting outlet
    - shall be installed
    - where these spaces are used for storage or contain equipment requiring servicing

    How it is to be switched:
    - Such lighting outlet shall be controlled by a wall switch
    - or
    - shall have an integral switch.

    Where that switch will be:
    - At least one point of control shall be at the usual point of entry to these spaces.

    Where is the light to be located:
    - The lighting outlet shall be provided at
    - or
    - near the equipment requiring servicing.

    Now the question becomes: 'Are under stair closets included in this section?'

    It does start out with "Storage" "and equipment spaces".

    Now, then, what is a "utility room"? Is a "utility room" strictly only what first comes to mind ... a laundry room? If a lighting outlet 'is only required there if' that is used for "storage" or there is "equipment" there, then that would not make sense, you would need the lighting outlet regardless, to be able to use the laundry appliances.

    So, maybe "utility room", in this sense, means 'any room' which has the "utility" to be used for storage (defining "storage" as other than 'clothes', you "store" 'clothes' in boxes in the attic if you are not using them, you 'hang' clothes in a clothes closet for convenience of selection and use, thus, a "clothes closet" would not be the same as a "storage room or space"), that would mean places like 'attics', 'storage closets' ... and isn't an 'under stair storage area' a 'storage closet'?

    Note that I've separated "storage" needs for lighting outlets from "equipment" needs for lighting outlets.

    How many people "store" things in their crawlspace (other than just sticking in old pieces of wood, siding, car parts, etc, as a place to 'get them out of the way')? If you "store" something in the crawlspace, you would certainly expect it to be moisture/water/etc damaged, wouldn't you?

    Otherwise, *every* crawlspace would be required to have a light, regardless if there is any equipment in there or not.

    I took a lot of liberties defining and using the various terms above, but that was to best allow 'reasonable thought processes' to think themselves through to a 'reasonable outcome' and interpretation. There are far too many undefined words in there to eliminate 'interpretation' of that section.

    Under stair storage closet - yes, needs a light.

    Small clothes closet which you cannot 'walk-in' - no, it does not need a light.

    Large clothes closet which allows you to 'walk-in' and allows for "storage" - yes, it needs a light.

    Attic - yes, it needs a light if there is access to it.

    Crawlspace - yes, it needs a light *if* there is equipment in it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Under stair storage closet - yes, needs a light.

    Small clothes closet which you cannot 'walk-in' - no, it does not need a light.

    Large clothes closet which allows you to 'walk-in' and allows for "storage" - yes, it needs a light.

    Attic - yes, it needs a light if there is access to it.

    Crawlspace - yes, it needs a light *if* there is equipment in it.
    When you write "needs a light" do you mean that the IRC requires a light, or that "Jerry thinks a light needs to be there"?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    When you write "needs a light" do you mean that the IRC requires a light, or that "Jerry thinks a light needs to be there"?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I took a lot of liberties defining and using the various terms above, but that was to best allow 'reasonable thought processes' to think themselves through to a 'reasonable outcome' and interpretation.


    .....

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    By the NEC a light is not required in the under stair storage area, however if it is there it has to be an enclosed bulb fixture. No open bulbs are allowed.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Abrams View Post
    By the NEC a light is not required in the under stair storage area,
    How say you? (I.e., please explain.)

    Many AHJ interpret the NEC as that is a requirement, roughly based upon my description and reasoning in my post above.

    however if it is there it has to be an enclosed bulb fixture. No open bulbs are allowed.
    And that is stated in the code where?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    In the 2005 NEC article 210.70 lighting outlets required. There is no mention of the under stair storage area requiring lighting outlet. However if it is there then 2005 NEC article 410.8 (C) lists Luminaires Not permitted.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Light in storage spaces and closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Abrams View Post
    In the 2005 NEC article 210.70 lighting outlets required.
    As the discussion above goes, that is "up to interpretation of the AHJ", most, though, say "Yes." to that location.

    However if it is there then 2005 NEC article 410.8 (C) lists Luminaires Not permitted.
    That's the section I thought you were referring to, I bring to your attention the heading of that section: "410.8 Luminaires (Fixtures) in Clothes Closets.". An under stair storage closet is not a "clothes closet".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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