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recessed lighting


John Dirks Jr
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You would have to see a lable to correctly identify, which means looking inside or on the outside of the fixture from the attic. I personally don't comment except for a generic blurb about fire hazards..bla,bla,bla.

If you are in the attic and see light through the slits in the shell, it is not IC rated. There is a need to identify each and every one if you go down that road since they are easy to replace and install, you might have different types in the same room or house.

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So I assume its a good idea to at least identify the presence of recessed lighting in the report and say something about them. If you can gather useful information then provide it.

If somehow your ability to gather information is hampered then that should be mentioned too, along with the potential for fire hazards.

Does this sound like the right approach?

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I have seen many that have a label on the top. If you can find them through the insulation the label will state. Usually the ones that atre allowd for direct contact have the large, bulky cans (but not every large bulky can is approved).

As was stated earlier, some are allowed by the use of certain trim kits but there is usually a bulb size requirement. I have seen some fixtures that are rated for up to 150W, but can only be installed in contact with insulation with 75W or smaller.

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Most of those fixtures have internal thermostats that turn the lights off if the fixtures get too warm--typically because they have insulation packed around them. Once or twice a year, I'll find myself in a remodeled room where the can lights extinguish for several minutes and then reenergize after they've cooled off.

John, if you can't see the actual fixture because of finish materials above, make certain you switch the lights on and that they stay on.

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Hit us with "what is proper and what is not". I'm certainly not an expert; I'd like it if someone laid out a concise list of what to look for.

Personally, if I see cans buried in insulation, I check the IC rating, but that's it. If they aren't buried in insulation, I don't mention anything one way or the other.

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Beyond the insulation issue, there is the issue of the wiring that feeds the fixture. Older cable with low temperature insulation (Loomex) is not allowed to be directly wired to the fixture, but should terminate in a junction box, I believe 18 inches away (don't quote me on that one), and new wiring run from there into the hook up.

I also sometimes find these to be the only source I can come up with for moisture problems in an attic. The vented cans move something like 15CFM of air from the living space into the attic, put 8 or 10 of those in a kitchen with a family that eats a lot of rice... combine with a poorly vented attic. Bango, Mold.

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If I can see light coming from the can in the attic I suggest that the can be enclosed in a foam box that allows plenty of clearance to the fixture. (6 inches on all sides)

In my neck of the woods, recessed lights account for 20 or 30 percent of attic mold issues. They're like having a 3 inch by 3 inch hole in the insulation envelope.

Using the wrong bulbs in either IC or Non IC fixtures is what really causes overheating. If a PAR style bulb is used the fixtures don't get much hotter than 100 degrees. Put in a 150 watt regular light bulb and the fixtures become Easy Bake Ovens.

I hate seeing the fixtures installed between the basement and first floor unless the joists are 2x12's. In a 2x8 floor system with non IC fixtures proper clearances aren't attainable. I suggest that they be removed.

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  • 2 years later...

If I can see light coming from the can in the attic I suggest that the can be enclosed in a foam box that allows plenty of clearance to the fixture. (6 inches on all sides)

That'll work. I'm deciding what to do about a cannister light nicely surrounded by blown cellulose. Properly installed or not, I'm not excited about the combination, especially when I envisioned someone installing an over sized bulb. I figured there'd be a past thread on this one.

That being said, does anyone else have a particular uncomfortable feeling about cannister lights and cellulose insulation?

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Non IC rated can luminairs cannot be enclosed regardless of spacing or materials---fire hazard! Modern cans must be ICAT-insulated ceiling/ contact air tight. A non-IC does not have the thermal snap disc or reduced wattage an IC does and an IC leaks too much.

You can use non-IC within the thermal envelope--just not in the attic.

HTH,

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Non IC rated can luminairs cannot be enclosed regardless of spacing or materials---fire hazard! Modern cans must be ICAT-insulated ceiling/ contact air tight. A non-IC does not have the thermal snap disc or reduced wattage an IC does and an IC leaks too much.

As someone else said sometimes the only difference is a sticker needs to be removed to change from non-IC to IC. Both have the thermal cutoff. Non-IC just needs to maintain a 3" spacing from insulation.

Air-tight is required in some areas energy conservation or building codes, but this is not universal.

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