Recessed Can Light Fixtures
Recessed can light fixtures (also called canned lights) are a popular and attractive way to increase lighting options within a room. But these light fixtures can also increase your heating and cooling costs and may even be dangerous.
Often, using our infrared camera, we see evidence of air leaks at the perimeter of recessed can light fixtures. These air leaks allow costly heated and conditioned air to escape.
Many folks think they can just add insulation over the top of the can to address the problem. But that is not the case. Depending on the canned lighting installed, covering it with the wrong insulation may actually be dangerous.
If you are planning a remodel that includes the installation of recessed canned lights, don’t base your light selection on price alone. When choosing fixtures, consider spending a bit more upfront. It will save you more over the long run and provide increased safety.
Canned fixtures are divided into three primary groups:
Basic (uninsulated) Canned lights / Non IC rated (not insulated)
– Pros: Low Cost Cons: Not air tight may allow conditioned air to escape, may represent a fire safety risk if not installed properly or when exposed to certain types of insulation
Insulated Canned Lights / IC rated (insulated)
– Pros: Low fire risk & provides mild insulation value Cons: Not air tight may allow conditioned air to escape, slightly more expensive
Air Tight Canned lights / IC-AT rated (insulated & air tight)
– Pros: Very low risk, provides airtight seal, blocking conditioned air, saves money year round Cons: More expensive.
Options for Existing Canned Lighting
If you already have canned lighting, you may want to inspect the fixtures. If the fixtures are old, you can replace them with safer more efficient IC-AT rated options, or consider an LED conversion kit. These kits include airtight compartments that can be inserted to replace an existing fixture’s can and lamp trim. Costs will vary depending on the design and labor involved. We highly recommend contacting a reliable electrician for such a project.