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sastexan 02-26-2008 07:07 AM

IC vs. IP recessed housing

New to the group. I have a house that was built in 1951, and updated (by previous owners) in the not too distant past. I had an insulation contractor come out to give me an estimate on adding insulation to the attic (there isn't much and what is there, is unevenly distributed). She said she would, but then noted our recessed lighting housings and said she would not insulate around them as they are not "IC rated". To illustrate, she showed me stamped inside the housing is "IP rated" but nothing that says "IC rated".

The manufacturer (Halo H5RICAT model) says that they are IC rated, and IP means "Inherently Protected", which is also fine for insulation to be touching the housing. I don't get the difference, if any, between IC and IP ratings and whether or not this insulation contractor is being overly neurotic or really protecting me from potentially sending my house up in flames. The UL guidelines are not specific as to the difference, if any.

Does "thermally protected" mean that the housing itself is insulated and does not get hot so therefore, the insulation touching the outside is safe? And if a housing is not "thermally protected" but the UL says that it just cannot overheat, is that adequate?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Jim Port 02-26-2008 07:40 AM

I believe the thermal protection would be a built-in thermal cutout in the fixture. It will shut off if too large of a bulb is installed.

IC fixtures are designed to be covered with insulation. No need for the 3" gap required by non-IC fixtures.

sastexan 02-26-2008 08:41 AM

So the only difference between an IP-rated housing versus an IC-rated housing is that it has this cutoff switch if a bulb is too big?

goose134 02-26-2008 02:50 PM

No, the IC type housings will have a box built around the lampholder portion of the fixture. It is a sort of 'double wall'. The thermal cut-out is a feature on many types of cans, including IC.

sastexan 02-26-2008 03:16 PM

Goose, you're an electrician - much more of an expert than myself. Would you feel comfortable with this IP rated housing in direct contact with loose fill insulation? Or should I build a box around it to keep insulation at least 3" from the housing? Or is Halo's assurance that this housing can be in direct contact with insulation enough?

goose134 02-26-2008 09:11 PM

My gut says keep the insulation away from the can. You have two options: one, build the box as you suggest. two, simply keep the insulation away from the can. I'll look at the can and see if there is some kind of IC rating I'm missing.

goose134 02-26-2008 09:15 PM

Cancel that. I just saw the website. Didn't realize it was a remodel can. Halo says it can be buried in insulation, then bury it. You should be fine.

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