air coming through bathroom recessed lights

Old 03-16-05, 10:45 PM
NY Upstater
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Unhappy air coming through bathroom recessed lights

We contracted with an insulation contractor to; 1. change 14 soffits to 8"x16" 2. Add 5 8"x16" soffits 3. Add baffles as needed 4. Blow 6" in attic fiberglass and air seal voids where needed.

Last year we had already had our end unit, townhome ranch, roof reroofed, replaced our 4 skylights with 4 new ones, installed 6 ' ice shield protection along roof edge, and replaced the garaged door with an insulated garage door. All in an effort to reduce ice daming ( we live in frosty upstate NY) and to reduce our heating bill.

What occurred was an increase in ice dams in the front and back of the house and air poured in our bathroom through our recessed lights that are close to our back wall where the new soffits were placed and the temperature dropped from 70 to 52!!

The contractor was contacted and he blocked the back soffits with insulation....air still came in, then came back and calked the outside ring....air came in again, then came back and moved a cardboard enclosure from the the light........air is still coming in from the lightbulb area where I TOLD him it was. He also said the ice dams were caused because our skylights are not argon filled and snow is melting off and freezing in the gutters. I checked with our reroofer and the skylights are argon filled.

Now he is balking at doing anymore with it. For starters would it not be easy just to enclose the can as you have advised others using a plywood or gypsum board enclosure?

Shivering in the shower
Old 03-16-05, 11:14 PM
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Recessed lights come in non-IC, IC, and Air-tite. If you don't want air coming in through your cans, you need to ask for air-tite cans. You may have gotten non-IC, which are the worst for air infiltration and should never be installed in an insulated ceiling. If you put insulation around non-IC cans, you may cause a fire.

Excessive air flow between the house and the attic can cause ice dams by warming up your attic. And although blocking the soffit vents might reduce the air infiltration, it also increases the risk of ice damming by cutting off the attic ventilation.

These guys are just putting bandaids on top of bandaids, and creating a new problem every time they try to solve an old one. My advice would be to replace the cans with air-tight cans, put the insulation back against the cans, and reopen the soffit vents. You might want to consult with (and pay for such consulting) a roofing contractor that had nothing to do with any of this work for an independent evaluation.
Old 05-19-05, 07:16 AM
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build a box

If you have access and room, build a sealed box around the fixture. I think non-IC fictures need to be 3" from any flamable surface. A correctly buit and sealed box will stop air / heat movement, the cause of your ice dams and cold showers. Fiberglass inslusation is not very good at stopping air movement. Next time you insulate try a spray foam type, it's a vapor barrier and stops air movement.
Old 05-19-05, 07:50 AM
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hey think it could be because the other units are not seal???????
since all unit are connected.


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