Lighting Requirements

General Requirements

All habitable, storage and mechanical locations require light. However, some require a fixed-wall or ceiling light, while others may have just a switched-lighting circuit to control table lamps, etc.

The inspector should also be aware of the concept of the "lit path."  One should be able to walk into any home in the dark and be able to go from one room to the next in a lighted path, switching each light off behind as s/he leaves a hall or room.

This is for obvious safety reasons, and, as home inspectors are normally inspecting homes in the daylight, checking for safe light is often forgotten.

Fixed Lighting

Many locations are required to have fixed luminaires (lights).  These include:

  • kitchens
  • bathrooms
  • hallways
  • staircases
  • attics
  • storage spaces
  • at exterior doors

Switched Receptacles

Switched receptacle circuits are allowed for all other locations:

  • living rooms
  • dining rooms
  • studies
  • family rooms
  • bedrooms
  • crawlspaces with mechanical equipment.

Switch Evaluation

All switches should be evaluated for:

  • missing cover plates
  • damaged cover plates
  • missing screws
  • loose installation
  • loose or worn-out contacts
  • any signs of arcing

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All habitable spaces are required to have a source of light. What is less commonly understood is that any area used for storage must also be lit, and any area that houses mechanical equipment must have illumination, too.
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