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Old 06-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #1
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


Hello. I need some input. We recently had our living room ceiling (due to flood) replaced with recessed lighting installed. Our electrician installed IC recessed lighting (non airtight). At the time, we were not informed that air tight cannisters were available. Our attic was insulated with fiberglass thick insulation. Now, were are feeling hot, Phoenix Arizona air from the attic coming into our home, as well as a terrible amount of dust. Insulation was not put on top of the cannisters in the attic. We are told by our contractor that they do not put insulation on top of the IC cannisters still due to 'fire hazard' and our electrician states that he did not offer the air tight cannisters because they don't 'breathe' the bulb/wiring - and that we CAN fully insulate around the cannisters. Question is, would you just replace the cannisters with the air tight ones, or insulate around them, or put heat resistant HVAC tape over the 'holes' in the existing cannister to plug them and make them air tight? We want to have an energy efficient home, and this is frustrating. Thanks!!

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Old 06-14-2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


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Hello. I need some input. We recently had our living room ceiling (due to flood) replaced with recessed lighting installed. Our electrician installed IC recessed lighting (non airtight). At the time, we were not informed that air tight cannisters were available. Our attic was insulated with fiberglass thick insulation. Now, were are feeling hot, Phoenix Arizona air from the attic coming into our home, as well as a terrible amount of dust. Insulation was not put on top of the cannisters in the attic. We are told by our contractor that they do not put insulation on top of the IC cannisters still due to 'fire hazard' and our electrician states that he did not offer the air tight cannisters because they don't 'breathe' the bulb/wiring - and that we CAN fully insulate around the cannisters. Question is, would you just replace the cannisters with the air tight ones, or insulate around them, or put heat resistant HVAC tape over the 'holes' in the existing cannister to plug them and make them air tight? We want to have an energy efficient home, and this is frustrating. Thanks!!
The IC rating means it is rated for direct contact with insulation. Check the installation instructions. The air tight units are required in some areas due to energy conservation requirements. Do not tape the holes.


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Old 06-14-2011, 05:10 PM   #3
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


Swap the cans out for ICAT (insulation contact airtight) housings. It sounds like you might need a new electrician, too.

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Old 06-14-2011, 05:25 PM   #4
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


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Swap the cans out for ICAT (insulation contact airtight) housings. It sounds like you might need a new electrician, too.

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You could also look into getting an air tight trim kit w/ gasket that will make them comply with energy efficiency standards in California/Washington State. Downside is that you will most likely have to sacrifice some bulb wattage as the trim kit will require a lower watt bulb than an ICAT rated can.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


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You could also look into getting an air tight trim kit w/ gasket that will make them comply with energy efficiency standards in California/Washington State. Downside is that you will most likely have to sacrifice some bulb wattage as the trim kit will require a lower watt bulb than an ICAT rated can.
Good call. That may be an alternative to completely replacing the existing housings. I'd still insulate around the housings in the attic.

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Old 06-15-2011, 01:11 AM   #6
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


I appreciate your input. My thinkng was to replace the entire housings to ICAT which sounds like a HUGE pain, but probably worth it (given the amount of dust/hot air coming into the house. I'm thinking that even if we totally insulated around the housings in the attic, there would still be dust coming into the house, right?
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:46 AM   #7
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


What is the source of the dust - live on a dirt road in a dusty area? Lots of folks have similar housings - covered and not with insulation and don't have a dust problem. Especially if there is insulation around the housing in the attic, there should not be a dust problem. I have a house full of them, covered with loose fill insulation.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:56 AM   #8
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Need advice on Recessed lighting...air tight vs non air-tight


Get a better insulation contractor. A good one will be able to put airtight boxes over the existing housings, seal them to the ceiling, and insulate over those. Your current contractor clearly isn't a good one since they think they can't put insulation on housings rated to be in contact with insulation.

The "air tight" Halo ICAT housings I got at Home Depot were a joke. From the attic you can look right down through the gaps where the seals don't fit right. They should be called "slightly closer to air tight." If you decide to replace yours, look carefully at what you're getting.

Replacing the IC housings with ICAT ones might leave you in almost the same situation you're in now. Getting your attic properly air sealed and insulated will be a big improvement.

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