Insulate and/or make-airtight existing sloped ceiling recessed lights?

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Old 02-02-10, 08:41 AM
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Question Insulate and/or make-airtight existing sloped ceiling recessed lights?

I have 10 recessed lights in my sloped cathedral ceiling (slope is pretty substantial, maybe 45 degrees). There is no attic access to the ceiling space. The house was built in 1986 and the housings are 6 inch Halo H7S with model 418 eyeball trim. They work great for lighting, but they leak a lot of cold air into the house, since they are neither airtight nor insulated (the housing is not rated IC, even though it does have a thermal switch in it).

I would like to improve them and am willing to put in the work, but it is not obvious how to do it. I see two options. Option 1 is to simply insert some sort of sleeve with gaskets into the housing that makes the housing airtight. However, I can't find such a sleeve for this sloped application. Does one exist? Option 2 involves removing the old housing and replacing it with a new ICAT housing and insulation around the housing. Is this feasible? Will I be able to remove the old housing and access the wiring from within the 6 inch hole in the sheetrock?

Any advice, suggestions, or other ideas?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 01:14 PM
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I don't think you will find a sleeve listed for use with your fixtures. I think your best option is to replace the housings with at least an IC rated housing. AT (air tight), housing may be required by your area. I would also try to find a way to insulate the joist bay while doing this work.

I find it hard to believe that a house built in 86 has an uninsulated ceiling.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 01:39 PM
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Thanks pcboss for your comment about the sleeve.

You are right about the ceiling- it is insulated, for the most part. I just meant that the areas immediately around the recessed lights are not insulated.

If I do replace the housing with an ICAT housing, do you think I will be able to do this without ripping the ceiling out?

Thanks
 
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Old 02-02-10, 04:19 PM
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It may make it easy if you remove a square of drywall around the fixture to allow you to remove the old and nail up and wire the new air tight IC fixture. This will also allow you to insulate around the new fixtures. IC fixtures can contact the insulation.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 06:21 PM
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Thanks again pcboss.

A couple more questions: The housing I have is either H7S or H107S, but I am not sure which. What is the difference?

The housing I have does already have a thermal switch in it. So why is it not rated IC? In other words, what is the difference between this housing and an IC rated housing?

Thanks,

Daniel
 
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Old 02-02-10, 06:57 PM
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All recessed have a thermal cutout in them to limit heat buildup.

An IC rated fixture can be in contact with thermal insulation. A non-IC fixture normally requires 3" clearance from insulation.

I do not install Halo so I don't know the difference. I could not find an H107S on the Halo site.
 
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Old 02-26-10, 08:21 AM
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Thanks again PCBoss. A couple more questions:

But what is the physical difference between IC and non-IC rated housings? Is one made out of aluminum and the other steel? Any other difference?

There is an eyeball trim called 78PAT, which is airtight. Do you know if I can install it in my H7S housing? If not, is it because it won't fit or electrically hook up, or because it would not be safe?

Thanks.
 
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Old 02-26-10, 08:25 AM
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The difference in the housing may just be the way Halo had them listed by UL. I do not know. However, before you jump too far the NEC requires products to be used as listed. So insulating around a non-IC fixture is not an option.

Inside the housings you should see a list of acceptable trims and bulbs that can be used with those housings.
 
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Old 02-26-10, 08:35 AM
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Thanks PCBoss. Don't worry- I'm not going to insulate around these fixtures. I was just curious. In fact, I have given up on the idea of insulating around them and would be happy just to make them airtight. The problem with looking on the housing is that the housing is old and the 78PAT is new, so it won't be listed even if it is OK. Does that mean by definition that it is not OK?
 
 

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