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As reported by the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 382,397 residential fires per year. A commonly overlooked fire hazard could be in your own bedroom – the closet.

Did you know that building codes closely regulate lighting in closets? In particular, many older homes fail to meet these minimum standards. When working on custom designs, My Custom Closet has noticed two common lighting mistakes:

Exposed incandescent bulb
These lights screw into a surface-mounted fixture, operate with a pull-chain, and tend to be very hazardous. The incandescent and halogen bulbs can get very hot, and closets tend to be filled with clothing and other flammable materials. Alarmingly, a lot of people are guilty of overstuffing the top shelves of the closet! A hazard is created when clothing items and fabric are too close to the bulbs.

Recessed fixtures with exposed incandescent bulbs or LED bulbs must be at least 6 inches from all closet storage areas. Surface mounted light fixtures must be at least 12 inches from storage areas.

Luckily, there are solutions! Here are our 6 tips to avoid fire hazards:

1. Cover The Bulb

Enclose the bulbs within a fixture cover, such as a glass globe. Take a look below at these potentially dangerous lighting fixtures that our contractors found. This hazard can easily be avoided by adding a cover and some closet reorganization. 

2. Switch To Fluorescent Lighting

It is the coolest running light bulb and is relatively energy-efficient.

3. Avoid Battery Operated Lights

They put off very poor lighting and are inefficient unless the closet is very small. 

4. Use Pro LED Linear Lighting

This type of lighting offers an even flow of light that uses 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Pro LED Linear Lighting can be discreetly mounted on the front panels, facing into the closet’s hanging area and directing light onto the clothes. As seen in the picture to the right, this can add a nicely lit atmosphere to your closet space. 

5. Get An Upgrade!

If you are spending money on getting your closet professionally designed and installed, it is worth it for your home safety to spend a few extra dollars to install an attractive and safe light.

6. Plan Your Closet Design

Work with your closet designer and have an electrician trick our your closet with incredible lighting. This can include highlighting items a built-in cabinet shelf or adding unique lighting. Here’s an example from a recent project where we added trendy overhead lighting to a large walk-in closet: