Telling the difference between IC, non-IC lights
I'm collecting quotes for additional spray-in attic insulation. All of the quotes involve a count of the can lights and work to block the top of the cans in the attic space. There wasn't any talk of determining whether the lights were IC or non-IC. House was built in 1979; maybe 1/3 of the can were put in new when we moved in 5 years ago.
We've got a low level of loose-fill insulation in the attic now (below the joists throughout), though enough that most of the cans are swimming in it, including the ones that we had installed 5 years ago.
The only information I've been able to find is that IC-rated cans have a metallic, unpainted interior; non-ICs will be white (short of pulling model numbers).
Is this a definitive way to identify IC vs. non-IC? If so, I want to make sure the ICs are sealed before the insulation goes in. I understand that there's no sealing possible for non-ICs (is it correct that sufficiently large air-tight boxes can be built over and around them?). Either way, I'm probably lucky the house hasn't burned down yet
I think i would just spend a little more and go for the polyurethane foam insulation.
I would seal them all off and go for alternative lighting.
For energy savings and your kids savings
Pateman- I was debating getting some quotes on that as well...
Cap- help me out on this one- you suggesting CFLs, and with the lower heat output, I can seal them all off (and cover with insulation)?
If you look in your attic... The IC (insulation contact) ones have a big metal
box - they look like a cube. the NC (no insulation contact) ones are just a round
tube with a cap and a box for the electrical connections.
I've read that the contractors will make a box to keep the insulation off the light. Some make the box out of metal, some out of sheet rock.
They even have air tight IC versions now. There is no air leakage out of the fixture and they include a temp sensor to shut off the light if it gets too hot in there.
If you have CFLs in them the temp won't be very high.
IC rated cans can be round too, in fact, most of them I have ever seen are round.
Originally Posted by adamk
Usually the ones that come with the square box over the fixture are "air tight" fixtures, in addition to being IC rated, but there are round fixtures that are also rated as "air tight".
They still need to be sealed to the sheet rock, and sometimes require some manual sealing of the fixture, to be truly "air tight" though.
All recessed light fixtures made since 1981 should be rated for insulation contact.
You can convert your existing non "air tight" fixtures, relatively inexpensively, by installing an air tight trim. You still have to observe the insulation clearance requirements around the fixture though.
Use 1/8" caulking cord to seal the lip of the trim to the ceiling.
CFL bulbs are a great way to cut down on the amount of heat put out by the bulbs, but don't just buy the cheapest ones sold at the big box stores, they are junk. Get good name brand bulbs.
If your lights have dimmers, be sure you get CFLs that are specifically rated for use with dimmers, the normal CFL bulbs will not work properly. The CFLs that are rated for use with dimmers are relatively expensive though.
Last edited by mark beiser; 05-20-2008 at 06:08 PM.
If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.
The Halo brand has a sticker on the inside you can see if you remove the bulb and trim. It will say "IC" somewhere, like H7ICAT means 7 inch, IC, airtight. Not sure about other brands. The ICs are made out of unpainted aluminum.
Thanks for the great advice and knoweldge- much appreciated, once again!