As a homeowner you probably don’t typically give much thought about the lights in your home, as long as they are doing what lights are supposed to do. You flip the switch, instantaneous illumination, you can see and life is good! However, it is what we can’t see that can be a cause for concern.
Older recessed lighting installations also known as “can lights” are often found to be in an unsafe condition. These lights were designed to be installed in the open so the heat that is generated by the hot bulb can freely dissipate. Most older can lights require a minimum of three inches of free air clearance around the light fixture. The problem arises when insulation in the attic gets packed against these fixtures and in some cases, the fixture gets covered completely.
With no way to adequately dissipate the heat, the temperature can rise to dangerous levels and a fire hazard is born.
Loose insulation migrates or gets blown over the light fixture or it gets covered when someone decides to add insulation to the attic without considering the recessed can. It may have been installed incorrectly at the time of construction, but the reason does not matter, it is in need of correction. The simplest solution is obviously to pull the insulation away from the cans. The problem with this method is that it leaves you with an uninsulated area on your ceiling which allows heat loss. Not an ideal situation (though much better than having a fire hazard present).
Better solutions would be replace the old can lights with fixtures rated for insulation contact (IC) or install a fire rated recessed light cover.
New LED lights will save you money from the minute the new light is switched on!
Now you can safely insulate the attic and enjoy all the luminosity you like!
NOTE: In the photo: the wire splices are not enclosed in the light fixture with the cover attached as required
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