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Lighting fixture modifications for energy conservation


March 22, 1993


The installation of energy-saving lamps in existing lampholders, such as self-ballasted edison-base fluorescent lamps, is not subject to licensing or inspection. Replacement of defective ballasts with similar units is subject to licensing, but inspection is not required under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Section 326.244, subd. 5.1. However, other types of electrical modifications or "retrofitting" of lighting fixtures for energy conservation or other purposes, including installation of ballasts or lampholders, are subject to both licensing and inspection.

Inspection of lighting fixture modifications will be at the hourly inspection rate, including travel and office time associated with the inspection, but not less than $15 per inspection trip. The installer may submit an estimated fee with the Request for Electrical Inspection at the start of the job if the correct fee is unknown, and the fee adjusted when the job is completed.

At the start of an installation, the inspector must determine by inspection whether the equipment and methods employed meet the code requirements. Upon completion of the job, or periodically during a large installation, the inspector shall have the installer open a representative sample of the fixtures for inspection. The installer should be advised to call for inspection before leaving the job upon completion. If violations are found, a random sample must be re-inspected upon notification of completion of the corrections.

If a lighting fixture retrofit involves modifications more extensive than installation of internal ballasts, such as replacement or relocation of lamp sockets, or use of remote ballasts, the retrofit assembly must be listed for general use for such purposes, or must be listed for use with the specific fixture in which it is to be installed.

In the case of exit signs, retrofit equipment must be listed for general use with any exit sign, or must be listed for use with the specific make and model of sign in which it is to be installed.

Any type and combination of listed fluorescent lamp ballasts suitable for the lamps employed may be installed in existing lighting fixtures (other than exit signs), if they are installed according to the following requirements:

1. Ballasts must be installed according to any instructions supplied by the ballast manufacturer, in accordance NEC Section 110-3.

2. Ballasts shall be properly secured within the fixture housing. This is necessary to prevent damage to the ballast leads and fixture wiring, and in some cases to provide a heat sink for the ballast or to ground the ballast housing.

3. Ballasts must be located so that any branch circuit conductors rated less than 90C are not within three inches of the ballast, as provided by NEC Section 410-31.

4. Wiring within fixtures must be secured to prevent conductor damage when the fixture wiring channel cover is replaced.

5. Conductor splicing devices must be the proper size and type.

6. Discontinued ballasts shall be removed from fixtures.

When a lighting fixture is modified in any way, the listing is null and void. However, under the provisions of NEC Section 90-4, the department will accept such fixtures where the above conditions have been met.

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