Texas Electrician Exam

Mastering Residential Dwelling Square Footage Lighting Load Calculations in the NEC

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When calculating residential dwellings, something to keep in the front of your mind, is which portions of the building are included in the square footage lighting load calculation, and which portions are excluded sprecifically according to the NEC.

Mastering Residential Dwelling Square Footage Lighting Load Calculations in the NEC

When it comes to electrical installations in residential dwellings, understanding square footage lighting load calculations is crucial. The National Electrical Code (NEC) provides specific guidelines on which portions of a building are included in these calculations and which parts are excluded. In this blog post, we'll explore the NEC's criteria for determining what counts in your square footage lighting load and what doesn't.

Understanding Square Footage Lighting Load Calculations

The square footage lighting load calculation is an essential part of designing an electrical system for residential buildings. It determines the amount of electrical power needed to provide adequate lighting throughout the dwelling. This calculation ensures that the lighting system is both functional and energy-efficient.

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Included Areas According to the NEC

The NEC specifies that certain areas within a residential dwelling should be included when calculating the square footage lighting load. These typically encompass spaces where general lighting is expected and needed. Some of the included areas are:

1. Living Rooms: These areas are often where residents gather and require adequate lighting for various activities.

2. Bedrooms: Lighting in bedrooms is essential for reading, dressing, and general illumination.

3. Kitchens: Proper lighting is crucial in kitchens for cooking, food preparation, and safety.

4. Dining Rooms: Adequate lighting is necessary for dining and related activities.

5. Hallways and Corridors: These spaces should have sufficient lighting for safe passage.

6. Bathrooms: Lighting in bathrooms is necessary for personal grooming and safety.

7. Utility Rooms: Areas like laundry rooms and utility closets should have appropriate lighting.

Excluded Areas According to the NEC

Conversely, the NEC specifies areas that should be excluded from the square footage lighting load calculation. These areas typically involve spaces that don't require general lighting or have specific lighting requirements. Some of the excluded areas are:

1. Closets: Closets typically have their lighting requirements and aren't included in the square footage load.

2. Pantries: Pantries usually have specialized lighting, if any, and are not counted in the load calculation.

3. Garages: Garages have their lighting needs and aren't included in the square footage calculation.

4. Attics: Unless converted into living spaces, attics are excluded from the calculation.

5. Basements: Unfinished basements are typically excluded, while finished basements may be included.


Mastering square footage lighting load calculations in residential dwellings is crucial for electricians taking the electrician license exam. Understanding which areas are included and excluded according to the NEC ensures that your electrical system is both compliant and efficient.

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