Recessed LED cans under blown-in insulation?

Abe GardnerAugust 20, 2013

Is some type of covering required over recessed IC and air tight light cans with LEDs?

I'd like to install recessed 6" LED lights in my kitchen ceiling (now just one big florescent light fixture). Above the kitchen is attic space that is covered in loose chunks of blown-in fiberglass insulation.

My plan is to install cans that are IC and air-tight (and EcoSmart LED kits from Home Depot) then have my electrician wire them up.

I have seen conflicting suggestions on whether it is necessary to put a box or other barrier between the IC-AT cans and the insulation. Can anyone confirm that nothing more than the IC cans (which will in fact be in contact with insulation) are necessary?

Also, some cans say they are specific for LED lights - can't I use any IC-AT can for my EcoSmart LEDs so long as it's the correct size (here, 6")?

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Abe Gardner

My handyman suggests rolling out battens of pink panther insulation over the boxes (rather than getting more insulation blown in). Is that reasonable? FYI, this is in Napa, CA where we usually have a few days of 100+ degrees and a maybe 10-20 days where we get a little frost at night (never really below 30 degrees and even then only for a couple hours at a time), it never snows.

Do we cut holes in the insulation over the boxes or just let the roll of insulation rest on top of the box?


    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Nothing required. IC rated cans are intended for direct contact with insulation.

Some halo cans are meant to be used with halo led modules as the connector is a proprietary 2 pin device. If you're sufficiently savvy, the can could be rewired or the connector replaced.

On the other hand, buying the standard IC rated can is less hassle.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Abe Gardner

That helps a ton, thanks for the reply @davitay! Planning on skipping the halo cans and just using a screw in type connection IC-AT.

Do I need to buy a separate trim piece / circle for these, or just:
(a) the can;
(b) the EcoSmart light kit ($28 at homedepot);
(c) wiring and (dimmer) switches

Thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Ok, you're subject to title 24 if you put in new cans - no e26 base. Try looking for gu24 cans. If you get the Cr6, there is no need to buy the trim unless you must have another color.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Abe Gardner

I can get the GU24 base cans (IC-AT) and EcoSmart's - thanks for pointing that out, I would have missed the Title 24 compliance issue.

And good news that I don't need extra trim pieces, that is assuming my HD has the GU24's with CR6's (rather than LR6, right?).

I realized that I have 6 other tabs open on my browser that have detailed and helpful input from you @davidtay, thanks so much for your help!

Can you recommend a specific dimmer that I would be able to find at HD, OSH, or my local hardware store (that would work nicely with these EcoSmarts)?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:08PM
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The lr6 installs and works similar to the cr6 except for a smaller dimming range. No trim required.

The lutron's diva cl works fine unless you also need home automation.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:47PM
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I went through this myself a few years ago (we bought a house that was built in the mid-80s). Some of our lights were IC (no air-tight back then), and some were not (including new ones that were installed in 2008 in the bathroom--hmmmph!).

If they are IC (or preferably ICAT), you are done. Leds put off a lot less heat, and for those that are designed with built-in trim (Cree CR6, Sylvania RT6, Lighting Science Glimpse), as opposed to just a bulb, the trim acts as an external heatsink, so that is an additional reason not to worry.

As for insulation, I'd blow more in, as I trust an additional layer of blown insulation over rolling battens over previously installed (and lumpy) blown-in.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Abe Gardner

I'm not sure which cans to order. It seems I should get:
1. IC
2. Air tight
3. GU24 (there are specific GU24 cans?)
4. Remodel

I couldn't find these criteria on Home Depot or Lowes' websites; can someone point me in the right direction? I'm hoping to meet those requiremts for around $10/can or less. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:19AM
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Abe Gardner

I found the Cree RR6 12W GU24 6 Recessed Retrofit Housing on polar-ray for $15 each. Are these the housings? They meet the above criteria (GU24, IC, AT, remodel/retrofit).

However, they're 12w ... So I would be stuck with low wattage bulbs. That should be fine given the 33 year lifetime on these bulbs; but I'm curious if I can use higher wattage rated housings with the GU24 6" EcoSmart LEDs ... What do you suggest?

Didn't expect picking housings would be so complicated, but that's for the suggestions!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cree RR6 12W GU24 6 Recessed Retrofit Housing on polar-ray

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Abe Gardner

@mattpete, you posted a second ahead of me! That said, it seems @davidtay and others have recommended the Halo H750RICAT with a GU24 pigtail connection after clipping the Halo connector. Since the Halo H750RICAT is $10.67 and the Cree is $14.99, I'm inclined toward the Halo.

I would be ordering
12 x H750RICAT
3 x 4 packs of ExoSmart 6 in. 9.5-Watt 2700K LED Downlight with GU24 base (E)* (4-Pack)

Right? Plus a couple dimmers?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:23AM
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How much extra work (and time) would it be to convert the Halo to GU24?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Abe Gardner

@mattpete - Looks like a simple splice that will be easy before mounting the cans. Remove the halo proprietary connector then attach the GU 24 pig tail ...

But is that pig tail included with the EcoSmart lights or something I need to buy separately (and if so, where?)?

If that's not included and costs extra, it would make more sense to buy the cans I guess (though they would only be 12w which would limit future lights, right?).

Does anybody else see it differently?

This post was edited by serval on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 11:25

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:59AM
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The pigtail should come with the lamp. Nora lighting has gu24 cans.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:52PM
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For 6", you can get the retrofit GU24 housing that Cree makes specifically for that LED module:

Cree RR6-12W-GU24 Housing at Polar-Ray

They also make a new construction version.

Edit: sorry, just noticed that you found the same one. I would buy one that already comes with the GU24 connector, rather than splicing it manually (why do the extra work?) You're right that HD doesn't carry a suitable housing & you need to buy online.

Also, on the dimmer the Maestro CL dimmers also work with these lights - the CL dimmers from Lutron should work the same regardless of style (Diva, Maestro, etc.) If the load is too high (not likely in your case), the next step up is their ELV dimmer, but that costs about five times as much and probably not needed.

This post was edited by calumin on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 17:26

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:35PM
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