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Old 06-02-2012, 02:48 AM   #1
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Heat concern from Recessed Light

Hi Folks,
I'm planning to install recessed lighting in my ground floor living room, above which is a bedroom. The living room ceiling has joist spacing of 14 inches, and height of 9 inches, living room is 12x12.
My concern is whether it will be safe to install recessed lighting in such narrow spaces considering the heat generated, which doesn't have anywhere to escape. I'm not sure what is the recommended unobstructed space dimensions in ceiling for recessed lighting in such scenario.
I noticed that in one of the 'alleys' where i will install 2 lights, one side of the joists has electrical wires stapled. Its common sense to keep my light as far away from the electrical wiring as possible. My concern is if the lights have been on for a long time, it might eventually melt/damage the electrical wiring. I know that the electrical wire is generally rated for ~90deg, but just want to make sure whether it is safe.
The recessed lights will be 100 watt bulbs spaced at least 5 feet.

Any advise will be much appreciated.



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Old 06-02-2012, 06:10 AM   #2
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Recessed lights are designed to go into the ceiling. They have a built in thermal overload that will turn the light off if it gets too hot. I don't remember any restrictions concerning how far a can has to be kept away from a wire. I suspect that as long as the wire isn't touching the housing, you will be fine.

Lastly, the max wattage for that can will be determined by the trim you pick out. You may not be able to install a 100 W flood. IIRC, the max wattage on a standard residential type recessed light (based on the trim ring) is about 90W.


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Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.

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Old 06-02-2012, 07:13 AM   #3
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Typically only a 1/2" clearance from combustibles is required.

The 90 degree rating on the cable insulation is Celcius or 194 degrees F.
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:49 AM   #4
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While the heat from a can light, when properly installed, is really not an issue, you could put your mind at ease by installing a LED lamp. And depending upon usage, it could save you some $$ on your electric bill. The lamps aren't cheap (~$35-$40@) but in the long run would pay for themselves.
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