Recessed Lighting / Stopping Drafts from Attic

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Old 03-01-06, 08:13 AM
D
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Recessed Lighting / Stopping Drafts from Attic

Hi All,

Probably a silly question, but hopefully everyone can be patient with me.

I've recently bought an older (20 yrs or so) house. The previous owners have installed recessed lighting in the master bathroom on the top floor. A recent "energy efficiency" inspection revealed that these lights are not sealed off from the attic and are the source of significant drafts. It was recommended that these be sealed off (the guy said that these are normally sealed in what sounded like a heavy plastic bag?) in order to stop the air leaks.

Is there a specific product available for something like this? Is this, in fact, what should be done to stop the drafts or is there a better way of doing things? At this point, I don't know if the lighting is IC-rated or not (I would assume so, since the attic has blown insulation, etc., but have found some other "not too bright" do-it-yourself type installations elsewhere in the house) if that has a bearing on the situation.

Thanks for any help!
 
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Old 03-01-06, 08:23 AM
J
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The best solution, and probably the only really effective solution, would be to replace the lights with "air-tight" cans. This is probably easier than you think.

Otherwise, your first task is to figure out if these cans are IC-rated or not. It should be marked inside the can. Get out a ladder and flashlight and take a look.

If they are non-IC, you must pull back the insulation at least three inches. You might then put a large bucket over the can to reduce drafts.

If they are IC, make sure the insulation is completely covering the can. This won't stop the air flow, but it should reduce it.

Don't use a plastic bag.
 
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Old 03-06-06, 07:00 AM
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Just thought I'd post back with an update.

This weekend, I went up into the attic to take a look at the boxes and see what I could find out.

Turns out that they *are* IC rated. So, that's a good thing. The boxes also had a great deal of labeling right on them, which was fabulous. It actually showed a diagram of the light fixture inside the box, the box, a vapor barrier(!) outside the box, and then insulation on top of that. Once I saw the vapor barrier in the diagram, I understood what the guy was talking about when he mentioned that the boxes are usually surrounded with plastic.

So, I went to the local Rona store (I'm in the Toronto area), after doing some research online and realizing that they carry that brand of box, and they had exactly what I was looking for. They are essentially a big flexible plastic tub (maybe 16" x 24") that gets placed over the box. In speaking with the associate, he said that you just staple them down, and then use "red tape" ("sheathing tape", according to the price sticker on the shelf) to seal it further. Then the insulation can go right over top. The barrier actually had printed on it "exceeds 90 degree C rating requirements" and that type of stuff.

So, I bought 4 of them along with some of the sheathing tape, and went back up to the attic and installed them. No more drafts!

John -- thanks for the help both on this thread and elsewhere. It made me aware of what I needed to look at (insulation compliancy, the 90 degree rating, that the boxes actually have labels, etc. etc.) before I was able to reconcile what I had been told to the product I eventually found.
 
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