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"High hat" recessed lighting & insulation.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
The living room in my girlfriend's (and soon to be mine also ) house has a wood pannel ceiling, and recessed can lighting. I guess this is what you would also call high hats.

There are six of them.

The fixtures go up into the attic. The house was built in the mid 80's and these don't look to be insulated units.

I relalized that these lights are a bit of a problem when I went to lay down the extra fiberglass batt insulation that was purchased and never installed in the house.

I don't think I can nicely lay my fiberglass batts perpendicular to the existing insulation without cutting holes in it around where the lights are.

It almost seems worth while to repace the six fixtures with the newer insulated fixtures that will seal the living room better, and will allow me to place the insulation on top without cutting holes, or placing it around the lights.

Any thoughts?

I really want to start making the house more energy efficient. It is a 2400+ sqft colonial with lots of windows, so it waste a good deal of energy.
post #2 of 30
You need IC fixtures, if you cover the old ones you will probably have a fire hazard. The ones I bought came with foil seals that will stop most of the air infiltration through the fixture.

post #3 of 30
if you take out the lightbulb maybe you can read the label on the inside of the can. It should be marked IC or suitable for burial in insulation.

IC cans in the 80's werent sealed with foil or tape like they are now adays. they had holes in them.

Today we have to put IC airtight cans in by code.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
The top of the cans are labeled to keep insulation away for X distance. I am sure they are not IC, and they are definetly not sealed. The last time I was in the atic surveying things I could feel the draft through the fixtures.

I actually found some nice IC airtight fixtures for a cheap price on a website. They were around 10 dollars a unit, almost sounds to cheap but it is a reputable supplier. They must have very little margin on them.

There seems to be two types, one is new build which I believe requires access to the studs to mount the units.

There a remodel units, I believe that these are setup so they use the drywall as a mount?

I think I could actually use the new build units since I am dropping them in from the top and have full access to the studs.
post #5 of 30
Doug, if I was you I'd check these cheap ones you found (serial numbers and such) against any same type models at an electrical supply store, just to be sure they are not cheap Chinese knock-offs. We're talking about a fire hazard here. I hope I'm wrong, and that you've found a cheap way out. But better safe than sorry when it comes to your home and family.

Also, sometimes a supply house will post any warnings re: cheap knock-off copys.

post #6 of 30
Trim rings for the Juno units were more than $10, I'd be very suspicious. New work units should have expandable supports that let you locate anywhere between joists so won't be a problem.
post #7 of 30
Also consider; the exposed lighting fixtures heat the attic space. It's not real good when there is snow on the roof.
post #8 of 30
You're only talking about 6 fixtures. Get quality ones.
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
I agree. Care to suggest a manufacturer I should be looking for, or an reputable outlet that can set me up with one.

I don't know enough to seperate the 10 dollar chinese stuff priced at good fixture prices, from the better quality units.
post #10 of 30
Juno and Halo are 2 names that come to mind. You can go to an electric wholesaler. They also make fluorescent dimmable cans now which might not be a bad alternative
post #11 of 30
Not to hijack, but I have high-hats in my soffits where the trim rings are rusting, does anyone know where I can get stainless steel or white plastic replacements? I believe that they are standard 6" diameter housings and the rings are held on with two springs.
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the brands. That got me started on some internet research.

It looks like a quality Juno fixture that is airtight and I/C is around the 30 dollar range.

I also saw something interesting in the form of CREE's LED lighting technology.

These are 6 inch LED bulbs with 12 watt draw that is like a 75 watt incandescent, 50K + hour life with output that won't drop past 75% of orginal output.

The new fixtures that are matched with the bulbs are 10 dollars!!! And the bulbs are 80.

It does capture my interest though. I have switched all of the other possible lights over to CFL bulbs and the high hats in this room are the last ones left that get a good deal of use.

I bet it would payback in about three years. More if you consider that I am looking at 30X6 + extra costs to upgrade these fixtures and continue to run regular bulbs.
post #13 of 30
I've been replacing the R bulbs in mine with CFL as they burn out. Seem to work fine although none of these are task lighting. I am stuck with ridiculous halogen in most of those
post #14 of 30
the cree lighting is a good idea:

when I looked into selling those the retrofit kit was like 80 bucks my cost. It has (or had) a cheesey plastic reflector/cover over the led. the light output wasnt that great. I would wait a year or two for LED anything. THe technology is on the edge. Once they correct the light color and get the reflectance right it will be awesome.

you can get new work halo 6" IC airlok cans for 10-12 bucks. THe trims are about the same price. Sometimes HD has 6 cans/trims and bulbs on sale for a good price in a package.

Juno will cost more. But is nicer.

You could go to an electrical supply house but the price may be a little higher.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JimW View Post
I've been replacing the R bulbs in mine with CFL as they burn out. Seem to work fine although none of these are task lighting. I am stuck with ridiculous halogen in most of those

Do you need special CFL to put in recessed lighting?

I thought that most werent rated for enclosed fixtures. At least my setup isn't wire for a dimmer, that would also require a special bulb.
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