Can I pretend my non-IC can lights are IC rated?
April 23, 2014 4:02 PM   Subscribe

A few years ago I had installed 6 remodel recessed can lights which were non-IC rated for use with 50 watt halogen bulbs. They are in the ceiling of my 2nd floor office, with the attic above. The electricians told me they pushed the insulation away from the cans at least 3 inches. Now I don't like the big loss of insulation in the ceiling and want a change. But what?

My current idea is to replace all the halogen bulbs with equivalent lumen LED bulbs (PAR 20 type). Will I then be able to pretend the can is IC rated and push all the insulation back up against it?
If not, what else?
posted by Rad_Boy to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think installing cooler bulbs in the existing non-IC fixtures and then covering them with insulation is a good idea. Not only does it violate fire code, in the event of a fire it might be used as a reason by your insurer to not pay on your fire insurance, even if it wasn't the cause of the fire (check the fine print in your contract).

While replacing the old cans with IC-rated airtight cans is the correct solution, several manufacturers make covers for non-IC cans. For example, Tenmat Downlight Protection Covers or Owens Corning SmartCap Attic Recessed Light Covers.
posted by RichardP at 5:13 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Code legally: No.

Practically: Maybe. However LED drivers still give off heat and a Non-IC can blanketed in insulation is going to trap that heat. No one can say whether that will still be a fire hazard. It will however reduce the life of the LED bulb.

The real problem will come into play if you ever move and the new occupants stick halogens into the cans not knowing they aren't installed correctly.

The right way to do this is to replace the cans with either retrofit IC cans or cans that will only hold LED bulbs.
posted by Mitheral at 5:16 PM on April 23, 2014

Good ideas and advice. Thank you.
posted by Rad_Boy at 5:57 PM on April 23, 2014

Your jurisdiction will vary with regard to code, but I had the same issue in Australia. I heard anecdotally that writing "LEDs only" on the can in a prominent place solves the issue, but I didn't want that visible in the room. I ended up buying fireproof cones that can be placed above the cans in the roofspace and that allow insulation to be piled against and on top of them. There is only one brand here that is allowed to have insulation on top of it, so I bought that. It probably would have been cheaper to replace the cans, now I come to think of it, though, as the fireproof cones were about $20 each.
posted by lollusc at 6:38 PM on April 23, 2014

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