Can you insulate non-IC lights without replacing them?

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Old 12-29-07, 12:44 PM
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Can you insulate non-IC lights without replacing them?

Climbing into the attic of our recently purchased home, I quickly discovered the cause of our very cold 2nd floor. All 18 of the recessed lights are non-IC and have no insulation around them. Now I have to decide how to proceed... do I need to replace them all with IC lights or is there an easier and quicker way to be able to insulate them (such as boxing them in somehow)?

I've priced lights at Home Depot and Lowes and found 6" IC lights for $4.60 each and air tight ones for $9 each. I've seen nothing yet sold that is for "converting" non-IC lights so that you can insulate over them, but I imagine there must be something out there for this purpose.

And if I do need to actually repalce them, is the double cost for air tight IC fixtures worth it? Or is it just as good to throw an additional layer of insulation over the not air tight IC ones?

This is my first post on this site, so thanks for the help in advance.
 
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Old 12-29-07, 07:31 PM
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Welcome to the forums! You can't insulate around nor on top of non-IC cans. You can install a baffle, such as an inverted 3 gallon bucket with the bottom cut out of it and insulate around its perimeter. If you have access to the cans, replacing them with IC cans is your best bet.
 
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Old 12-29-07, 07:39 PM
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I have seen five sided boxes of drywall assembled and then set over the existing cans.
 
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Old 12-31-07, 09:36 AM
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I guess I'll just go ahead and replace all the lights with IC fixtures. I've priced them at $4.60 each or air tight ones for $9 each.

Is it worth paying double for the air tight ones? Or is stacking insulation over the non-air tight ones just as effective?
 
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Old 12-31-07, 06:42 PM
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Unless you need the air tight feature, no it won't be worth the difference.
 
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Old 01-01-08, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Unless you need the air tight feature, no it won't be worth the difference.
Thanks Larry. What do you mean by "need"?

My goal is just to stop the heat loss thru the lights. Does this indicate a need for airtight fixtures?
 
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Old 01-01-08, 12:10 PM
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Yes, airtight will reduce heat loss. I have no idea what the payback period will be for your $4.40, but eventually you will get paid back. The airtight offers you the additional advantage of reducing the vapor loss. Depending on where you live, that advantage may be more valuable than the reduction in heat loss.
 
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Old 01-01-08, 02:02 PM
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John's right on the heat loss, and money gain. My comment was specifically in regards to where we normally install them, in showers, and the like where escaping moisture is a problem. Yours won't be that drastic, but like John said it will help reduce it, so the difference in cost can be recouped, just in a longer time.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 08:05 AM
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OK, I'll go with the airtight. Thanks so much for the help!
 
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Old 01-18-08, 02:16 PM
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Smile

Great post! Would you let me know your progress?

I have 28 non-IC lightolier 1102 6-3/4" recessed can lights. I'm trying to figure out pricing and how hard it would be to replace with lightolier airseal 1104 model -- the 2nd story of our Maryland home is around 10-15 degrees cooler than the first floor!

An electrician came out and estimated $100 a light, for a total of around $2800. From what I see, the 1104 is about $18 online (I wonder if the Lowes/HD one you mention would work for me). So that's ~$80 labor per light.

I have limited electrical experience - limited to installing track lighting and fan lights. That being said, I don't think it could be that hard to replace existing recessed cans done in 2004 with IC cans of exactly the same dimension...I'd be interested in people's feedback of that assumption.

I will likely buy 2 1104 IC and try to replace the 2 non-IC lights in the mudroom, put insulation over that one, and test it by seeing if it heats up/flickers on and off after staying on for 1-2 hours. If its easy and fun, I'll do the rest in stages.

But would be interested in hearing how your replacement is going! And thanks for starting this thread-I was trying to decide whether to place a big box over the nonIC and insulate that, or change to IC...
 
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Old 01-21-08, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by weng19 View Post
Great post! Would you let me know your progress?

I have 28 non-IC lightolier 1102 6-3/4" recessed can lights. I'm trying to figure out pricing and how hard it would be to replace with lightolier airseal 1104 model -- the 2nd story of our Maryland home is around 10-15 degrees cooler than the first floor!

An electrician came out and estimated $100 a light, for a total of around $2800. From what I see, the 1104 is about $18 online (I wonder if the Lowes/HD one you mention would work for me). So that's ~$80 labor per light.

I have limited electrical experience - limited to installing track lighting and fan lights. That being said, I don't think it could be that hard to replace existing recessed cans done in 2004 with IC cans of exactly the same dimension...I'd be interested in people's feedback of that assumption.

I will likely buy 2 1104 IC and try to replace the 2 non-IC lights in the mudroom, put insulation over that one, and test it by seeing if it heats up/flickers on and off after staying on for 1-2 hours. If its easy and fun, I'll do the rest in stages.

But would be interested in hearing how your replacement is going! And thanks for starting this thread-I was trying to decide whether to place a big box over the nonIC and insulate that, or change to IC...
I sent you a message about my progress. It took me 2 days to change all 17 of them, pretty easy overall.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:02 PM
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Just a quick update to say that I surrounded the fixtures up to their top with insulation but did not completely cover them. The reason was that I covered one to test it and left it on for about an hour. It didn't take long to set off the built in over-heat safety switch, so I decided to leave the tops of each fixture uncovered for heat to escape.

So I am really glad that I listened to you guys and paid the extra for the airtight. Had I used the non-airtight IC ones and been unable to cover them with insulation like I had planned, most of the hot air would still be escaping into my attic.
 
 

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