The Good and Bad of Recessed Can Lighting

Today many homes have a lighting fixture called a recessed can light. While these are a great accessory in a home and are often used to purpose light into an area without being seen, they can also add to your indoor air quality issues.

Originally developed in the 1930's these lights were used sparingly and mostly in tight or small quarters such as closets and showers. In the 1980's they started to become a standard fixture and now almost every home has recessed can lights throughout the house.

There are two types of recessed can lights, IC rated and non IC rated. They come in models for new construction or for the remodeling industry. IC rated simply means that they can have the insulation of the home touching the fixture without being a fire hazard, while a non IC rated fixture may not. Non IC rated lights should be used in soffits or in between floors while the IC rated lights should be used when the penetration goes into an area where there is insulation for example an attic. That does not mean to say that a non IC rated light has not been used in attic. If a non IC rated light was used in that application (predominantly in older homes prior to 1982) then there would be areas of missing insulation which could affect the heating and cooling of the home. Going into the attic and inspecting the lights can be quite an eye opener for homeowners. Most HVAC professionals will use an infrared camera when looking for hot or cold spots in the home. Using thermal technology is a sure way to quickly spot missing insulation in walls, attics and crawlspaces. These situations should be repaired by a professional to eliminate the problem.

It is important to know if the IC or non IC can lights in the home are deemed airtight from the manufacturer. These fixtures have holes that will allow the heat to dissipate and escape. During the winter the heat from the home can escape causing cold and draftiness in the home. In the summer hot air that may be full of humidity can enter the home, which can cause hot or muggy rooms and in some cases entire floors.

And finally, these lights are great pathways for dust, pollen and other pollutants to enter the home. The good news is that they are repairable. Today there are sealed trim kits, specialty boxes and one piece LED lights that will solve the problems that recessed can lights maybe causing in your home.

Give us a call today to set up an appointment for a blower door test and find out whether your recessed can lights need to be repaired or replaced.