Home Energy Pros
Leaky recessed-can lights were big energy wasters before they were sealed.
Tags: air, audit, energy, leaks, lights, More…recessed-can, retrofit, savings
Albums: Energy Audit at 10 Maple Lane
Location: Walnut Creek, California
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Sealing up a can light with a foam board box is a code violation and unsafe. If you do it, you need to use a non combustible material, like drywall, or one of the tenmat mineral wood recessed light covers. http://www.tenmat-us.com/
The Cree LR6 LED conversion kits are nice, and should cut down on air leakage. However if you install them in a non-IC rated can light housing, you still are not supposed to put insulation over the top of them. So you would still have to baffle around the can in the attic. The best option for Non-IC can lights is to remove them and replace them with IC rated fixtures, or some other alternative lighting.
Haven't heard of that Bob, thanks for the heads up!
Sorry, that was five years ago when Larry wrote his article.
Larry Armanda, who used to call himself the "Can Man" because he spent a lot of time looking at and fixing recessed can light leaks, wrote about it for Home Energy in 2005 "Further Wrestling with Recessed-Can Lights" (Sept/Oct). He didn't find a great retrofit kit, but Builders Best and Lithonia Lighting put out some good kits for sealing the can lights. That was ten years ago, so things may have changed.
At our house the contractors used a non-expanding spray foam to seal the lights where the fixture meets the ceiling. (The retrofit kits have a spongy gasket that does the same thing.) Then our contractor made boxes out of foam board to insulate the can-lights on the attic side. There was one problem—the can lights with incandescent lights stay on for about two hours and then the thermal cut off switch turns them off. The insulation makes the light fixture heat up rapidly inside. Without a thermal cutoff switch, the fire danger would be pretty serious. We put CFLs in the can-lights and fixed that problem. We need a brighter light in one room, over a desk, and still have an incandescent there. It cuts off after a few hours and I take it as a signal to get away from my desk for a while! They should be CFLs that give that kind of light but we haven't found it yet.
Hope this helps!
Do you know of a good kit for converting the leaky lights to sealed ones? I pulled my leaky lights out of my house and replaced them with sealed lights but only because I was able to access them via the attic space.
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