210.70(A)(2) Lighting Outlets Required

Branch circuit requirements are covered in Article 210 of the National Electrical Code. Part III of Article 210 covers required receptacle outlets and lighting outlets. While 210.50 through 63 contain provisions specifying the placement of receptacle outlets, 210.70 contains lighting outlet and wall switch provisions. Lighting outlets shall be installed where specified in 210.70(A), (B) and (C). The majority of the provisions are contained in the first subsection which pertains to dwelling units. Lighting outlet provisions for guest rooms in hotels, motels and similar occupancies are in subsection B. The last requirements in this section (and article) pertain to other than dwelling units. Last month’s In Focus concluded with wall switch-controlled lighting outlets in hallways, stairways, attached garages and detached garages with electric power. This month’s discussion continues with 210.70(A)(2)(b). Remember, the provisions in 210.70(A) are applicable in one-family, two-family and multifamily dwellings.

For dwelling units, attached garages and detached garages with electric power, at least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of outdoor entrances or exits with grade-level access. This requirement covers exterior doors having grade-level access in dwelling units. It does not pertain to all exterior doors because not all exterior doors have grade-level access. For example, a wooden deck built on the back of a dwelling is not accessible from grade. While it is permissible to install a wall switch-controlled lighting outlet to provide illumination, it is not required (See Figure 1).

Where the entrance or exit is accessible from grade, a lighting outlet must be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of the door. For example, a wooden deck on the back of a dwelling has steps leading to the back yard. Since the exterior door is accessible from grade, a wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed (See Figure 2).

The location of the wall switch is a design specification, and therefore not stated in the Code. The wall switch can be installed either inside or outside the dwelling. The location of the lighting outlet is not specified either. Installing the lighting outlet adjacent to the doorway is not required, nor does it require a separate lighting outlet for each entrance or exit. As stipulated in this section, the lighting outlet must provide illumination on the exterior side of the outdoor entrance or exit. As long as the exterior side of the entryway can be illuminated, this requirement has been met. The luminaire (lighting fixture) could serve more than one purpose. For example, an exterior door on the back of the dwelling is near the corner of the house. A luminaire will not be installed next to the door. Instead, a double-headed floodlight will be installed under the eaves. One of the floodlights will be positioned so as to provide illumination for the area around the door. The other floodlight will provide general yard lighting. Although the lighting outlet is not installed adjacent to the exterior door, it provides illumination as required by 210.70(A)(2)(b) (See Figure 3).

Since a separate lighting outlet is not required for each entrance or exit, one luminaire could be installed for more than one door. For example, a dwelling has two doors within a few feet of each other. One lighting outlet could be installed to illuminate both areas. In this example, a single luminaire will be installed on the wall between the two doors (See Figure 4).

This requirement also pertains to exterior pedestrian doors in attached garages and detached garages with electric power. As stated in the NEC, a vehicle door in a garage is not considered an outdoor entrance or exit. While luminaires are often installed on the outside of vehicle doors, they are not required. For example, an attached garage has a vehicle door, but no exterior pedestrian door. Since the vehicle door is not considered an entrance or exit, no lighting outlet is required (See Figure 5).

An exterior pedestrian door with grade-level access in an attached garage is considered an outdoor entrance or exit. Therefore, compliance with this section is required. For example, an attached garage in a one-family dwelling has a vehicle door and an exterior pedestrian door. A wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed to provide illumination to the exterior side of the pedestrian door, but not the vehicle door (See Figure 6).

This requirement does not apply to a detached garage unless the garage is supplied with electric power. This provision is similar to 210.52(G) and 210.70(A)(2)(a). If a detached garage is supplied with electric power, at least one GFCI-protected receptacle, and at least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed. If the detached garage is not supplied with electric power, none of these provisions apply. For example, a two-car detached garage has a vehicle door and a pedestrian door. The garage is located close to the house, but will not be supplied with electric power. Although the garage has a pedestrian door and a vehicle door, no lighting outlet is required.

A detached garage with electric power must meet the provisions in 210.52(G) and 210.70(A)(2)(a). In addition, if the detached garage has a pedestrian door, at least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed to provide illumination to the door’s exterior side. For example, a detached garage adjacent to a one-family dwelling will be supplied with electric power. The garage has a pedestrian door and a vehicle door. Because this detached garage has electric power, a wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must be installed to provide illumination to the exterior side of the pedestrian door (See Figure 7).

Next month’s In Focus, continuing with 210.70(A)(2)(c), will again discuss required lighting outlets in dwelling units. EC

MILLER, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches classes and seminars on the electrical industry. He is the author of “Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code” and NFPA’s “Electrical Reference.” He can be reached at 615.333-3336, charles@charlesRmiller.com or www.charlesRmiller.com