Can Lighting Issues

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 25-Nov-2013.   Category: Energy Effiency   Add to Favorites 

 Air Sealing Can Light Fixtures

Trouble with can lighting is the older fixtures do not provide an air tight seal from attic space to conditioned space. With this being an important factor in both indoor air quality and energy efficiency retro fit work is recommended if the fixtures are easily accessible. The older recessed light fixtures require a 3" clearance from combustible materials; unless marked IC rated fixtures(Insulation Contact). If the fixtures are IC rated simply sealing them off with expansion foam is recommended. You can verify the fixture rating by the label inside the fixture (remove bulb) or from the attic space most manufactures have it also stamped on the fixture itself. Notice on the sample image top right corner the fixture is labeled TYPE-IC. If you can not confirm the rating it is safe to assume it is not. If your one of the unlucky ones with standard recessed fixtures then the task involves a little more work. We found the best solution is building a foam board box around the fixture and sealing it to any framing and the ceiling material. We recommend foam but some installers will use an adhesive caulking.


The value of performing this retrofit work should be a priority over older double pane window replacement and door replacement. Air leakage that escapes the home is replaced with the air from under the home/building. Such as the crawlspace, which typically adds poor IAQ values to your home. This improvement not only help on energy efficiency but will help improve your indoor air quality as well.

Almost Done

Once installed and sealed simply apply the insulation over the fixture at a depth that will achieve an R-38 or better. Also remember not to obstruct any needed air flow for fixtures that may be near soffits attic ventilation is very important..

Any questions let us know or call our office for an inspection of installation and/or energy audit testing. We'd also love to hear from you, leave us your comments below!