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Old 06-29-2012, 09:31 PM   #1
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


Hi all.

I'm thinking about buying a new condo (yet to be built), and I had an electrical question, so the builder suggested that I pass along the question to the electrical company that handles electrical installation for their new construction projects. My question was this. In areas in the house where recessed lighting is installed, the builder typically uses the traditional 5" or 6" recessed fixtures, the type that use a standard incandescent flood lamp. I inquired as to whether it would be possible to have 3" or 4" gimbal-mount recessed lights installed instead of the traditional fixtures (like these sold by Lowe's). Personally, I think these smaller fixtures are much more aesthetically pleasing than the run-of-the-mill recessed fixtures, and as they're relatively inexpensive, I wanted to look into the possibility of having the smaller fixtures installed from the get-go instead of going through the headache of trying to retrofit the 5" fixture holes to accommodate the 3" fixtures down the road.

I received an email the other day from someone at the electrical company stating that the lights I inquired about (I sent them the same link to the lights sold by Lowe's) were "not rated for insulation" and therefore could not be used. Could someone please explain what "not rated for insulation" means in terms of these recessed lights, and what would qualify a recessed ceiling fixture to be rated for insulation? I'm sure that the type of lights I need in this style that I want must be out there somewhere, but I don't know exactly what to look for or where to look.

Thanks!

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Old 06-29-2012, 09:42 PM   #2
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


Besides not being rated for contact with insulation...they are junk. When it comes to this kind of stuff, you can go by the saying, "You get what you pay for."

Now on to your question...

Some cans are rated to be in direct contact with insulation...they usually have an IC somewhere in the model number. Cans that are not IC rated have to be kept a certain distance away from insulation...IIRC its like 6".

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Old 06-29-2012, 09:43 PM   #3
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


Recessed housing are either rated IC or non-IC. IC means the housing can be in contact with thermal insulation. Non-IC needs 3" of clearance all around the fixture from any insulation. This will leave holes for hot or cold air to create a constant drain on your HVAC system and permantly increase your energy bill. There are housing that can be installed over a non-IC to block some of this drain.

Your area may also require the use of AT or air-tight housings.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:44 PM   #4
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


I think that the electrician is telling you that the fixtures originally intended are "rated" to allow insulation to be placed over and around them....and the ones you want are not.....I think. There are ways around that, but it will not doubt cost you extra to have it accomplished. Many (if not all) fixtures rated for insulation contact have a small thermal switch installed in the fixture which will cut the power in the event of overheating.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


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Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
Besides not being rated for contact with insulation...they are junk. When it comes to this kind of stuff, you can go by the saying, "You get what you pay for."
That said, are there any manufacturers of IC-rated 3" gimbal-mount lights that you would recommend?
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:51 PM   #6
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


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Originally Posted by DoItY View Post
That said, are there any manufacturers of IC-rated 3" gimbal-mount lights that you would recommend?
Halo H38ICAT. They are not gimbal mount but they will use an adjustable gimbal trim, which is what I think you mean by "gimbal mount".
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:31 PM   #7
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


Here's the thing...I'm not trying to dissuade you, but if a customer was asking my opinion on this situation, I would tell them that they are wasting their money on the gimbal ring trims. I use or recommend them in two situations.

The first being accent lighting...highlighting a picture or sculpture for example. The second reason I would use them is on a sloped ceiling to adjust for the angle.

With that said, if you are downsizing the cans from 6" down to 4" you are going to need more of the cans to produce the same amount of light. Your ceiling may look like swiss cheese if you are using these cans as your main lighting source.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:00 AM   #8
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Meaning of Recessed Lights That Are "Not Rated for Insulation"?


Not rated for insulation means it cannot come in contact with insulation.

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