As homeowners, we don’t typically give too much thought about the lights in our homes as long as they are doing what lights are supposed to do. We flip the switch, instantaneous illumination, we can see and life is good! However, it is usually 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 can freely dissipate. Most older can lights requires minimum of 3 inches clearance around the light. The problem arises when insulation in the attic gets packed around 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.
Sometimes loose insulation migrates or gets blown around the light over time and in other cases the light gets covered when someone decides to add insulation to the attic without considering the lighting. It may have even been installed wrong at the time of construction but in any case, it is in need of correction. The simplest solution is obviously to pull the insulation away from the lights. However, this leaves you with an uninsulated area on your ceiling which is not ideal either (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. Now you can safely insulate away and enjoy all the luminosity you like!