Replacing Non-IC Can lights- How to select?

sjmayeNovember 30, 2010

I bought a house with 30+ recessed lights. They all appear to be non-IC units. After much reading about covers and ways to box off it appears the only real fix is to purchase sealed IC units. This is where I get confused with all the selections.

With so many fixtures to replace I want to keep cost per unit down. I think I want to use the type that clips to the hole (remodelers? type). The other issue is the trim. Are the trim rings etc costly? Should I be aiming for units that will allow me to reuse the ones I have? How do I know mine will fit the new light?

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dim4fun

Find out the brand and model number of the existing fixture housings and trims. There are several ways to go. The housing info is inside the housings. Once you find that go to their website and find the trim model number. Report back.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:35AM
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sjmaye

Thank you for the reply. I am traveling this week, but will check this out and get back to you this weekend.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 3:11AM
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sjmaye

OK. Got the information.

The fixtures are Cooper Lighting H7T
Trim rings are HALO41OPG

While getting this information I got a closer look at these. I might as well have a 6" hole going stright in the attic. And I have 24 of them!

Looking forward to a sealed remodeler solution.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:20AM
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dim4fun

The recessed fixture plaster frame attached to your home is identical to the plaster frame of the fixture in the link. The old cylinder is steel and ventilated while the linked fixture cylinder is aluminum restricted air flow. What I propose is to purchase the linked fixtures but to replace only the cylinder. I also recommend you upgrade the trim to an air sealed style which will upgrade the wattage handling compared with the new cylinder and trim combination. The 30WAT is similar to what you have now but you may have an R40 or Par38 lamp and will also have to get an R30 or Par30.

Here is a link that might be useful: H7ICAT

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:30PM
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sjmaye

Hello dim4fun,

Thanks for that info. You made it easy. Can I ask for some clarification on a couple items?

* So you are recommending I buy the fixture and swap out only the cylinder. Ingenius! What a work saver! And these are in a difficult place to work on. I have one unit out and saw there are only 3 screws securing the cylinder to the frame. Seems like a great plan.

* Trim- I understand I think. The trim is no longer just trim. It is part of the way the unit seals the fixture and keeps the air in the house from escaping to the attic.

* New trim and cylinder combination will upgrade the wthe wattage handling? I don't understand what you are getting at here. Can you help...again :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:26AM
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dim4fun

Each type of housing and trim combination can result in different lamp type and wattage capacity. Changing the housing to H7ICAT will result in lower wattage handling than with the H7T. Using the full reflector air restricting trim gives you back some wattage handling ability because it makes a double wall. You can go over these details by reading the label inside of the housing or by browsing the catalog.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 8:19PM
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sjmaye

I understand. I am going to buy a single unit today as a test. Then go large scale in replacement. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:34AM
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sjmaye

I bought one of the replacement sealed cans. Everything will work as was recommended, but I kept reading about how well even these work. I started thinking of what I was trying to coomplish-

- Non-IC can lights against insulation- Fire Hazard
- Non Seamed can lights- Heat and AC loss in to attic
- Energy efficiency- This was a secondary priority, but thought I should consider
- Labor for each option

To refit the recessed lights to be sealed it will add up to ~$25/light, some labor and I will still be using incandescent lights with higher energy usage

To install one of these http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xgj/R-202240932/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
LED conversions it is about double the cost and dirt simple. From all appearances it will seal better than the other configuration.

Light output is not as much as the incandescents, but they do make a compelling case.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 6:18AM
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dim4fun

Try one. LED tends to have reduced dimming performance. Make sure the range of dimming if desired is satisfactory to you. Find out what type of dimmer is required and check costs of dimmers. See if the quality of the light meets your needs.

Philips and Sylvania IRC Par30 lamps improve on incandescent efficiency if any of the above don't meet your needs.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 11:59AM
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sjmaye

I bought one to try and it was pretty amazing. I expected it to be pretty dim as it was to compare to a 65W and I am runnning 100W bulbs. This was actually brighter! Dimming works perfectly. Really, really surprised. I think I have found my route. It is more expensive, but each conversion will take about 1 minute each. Seriously, it is pretty darn easy.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 2:50PM
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footwedge

Those that have installed the Cree 6" ECO led recessed light from HD, are you happy with the fit against the ceiling? Is it snug with no gaps? Also, I'm going to be painting the ceiling a color other than white and was wondering if the rim could also be painted to help blend and not be so noticeable?

TIA

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 8:10AM
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sjmaye

I am happy with the performance of the Cree from HD. The snugness I cannot comment as I took some 3/16" thick closed cell foam to seal between the unit and the ceiling. 1/8" would have been better as the 3/16" leaves a tiny visible gap between the light bezel and the ceiling. It is so small it does not bother me and I know the unit is sealed. No air leakage.
The only negative was the bezel diameter is slightly smaller than the bezels it replaces. You can see where the old bezel was.

It may have been sheaper to instll all new sealed can light fixtures, bezels, and cfls, but the ability to change these over in about 1 minute makes it a no brainer for me. No regrets :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:07AM
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footwedge

sjmaye, please list the model number for the fixture and trim you used?

TIA

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:56AM
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sjmaye

These are the EcoSmart E26 from Home Depot. From what I have seen they are the only retailer for them. Lowes has nothing like it. There is no trim ring per se. This is a single piece molded unit light, bezel trim ring all in one. Get some of that 3/16" thick stick on closed cell foam and you are in business.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 10:46AM
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footwedge

I guess sense I will be installing remodel fixtures, there should be no need to get an air tight can but one that is ic. It seems this unit should seal the cavity especially if you add the foam. About how wide is the ring? I need to go to HD.

The DW is concerned about the white ring contrast against the non white ceiling. Beside the price difference do you know the difference between the HD ECO Smart and the LR6?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 12:11PM
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sjmaye

I had similar issues:

1- I had non-IC rated cans- Fire Hazard because I want to cover with insulation. The LED lights put out little heat. No fire hazard.

2- Sealed- The non-IC cans had holes all over it. They were like funnels for the heat to escape to the attic. I had 24 of them. These are more or less a molded unit. Add the foam and I see no way heat escapes to the attic.

3- Energy use- All my cans had 100W incandescent bulbs in them. There are 5 cans in the kitchen. I went from 500W to 50W.

There are many ways to address all these issues. Although slightly more expensive, I found it far more easy than replacing all the cans. At $50 each they are sort of high. I found a bunch of them on eBay. Saved about 20%.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 3:28PM
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brickeyee

If you have access to the attic you are not limited to remodel lights, you can use new work fixtures.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 3:56PM
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footwedge

I have attic access but I'm thinking some fixtures will be to close to the eave leaving very little working room.

Help me out - is there an advantage to using new in lieu of remodel fixtures?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 10:44AM
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sjmaye

I had the same issue with the fixtures close to the eaves. Very little access in the attic. You have a couple options if you want to replace the fixtures. You could use remodel fixtures or depending on the model fixture you have now you could just replace the cans as another poster suggested to me. I checked and it was very possible to just replace the cans.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 11:13AM
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brickeyee

"is there an advantage to using new in lieu of remodel fixtures?"

More choices usually and you do not have to try and match what is already installed.

I have spent many an hour lying on my belly in eaves installing lights and wiring.

The biggest PITA is when their are roofing nails through the deck.
They REALLY hurt when you bang your head into them.

I have one of the cut down steel motorcylce helmets (looks like a skull cap almost).
Minimal thickness and steel.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:07PM
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footwedge

To clarify, I currently do not have any recessed lights. I will be removing to 4' fluorescents and replacing with recessed so at this point I'm not tied to a particular fixture. So if someone could recommend a bran or two it would be appreciated.

Brickeyee, I feel your pain.

Yesterday and today has been wallpaper and can't believe how easy it's going since the walls were not primed. Not using a tiger as before, only very hot water applied several times.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:42PM
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sjmaye

Reporting back. Still love the Ecosmart units I installed. Only problem I have is the ones on a sloped ceiling. These will not work for that.

What can I do to at least seal these from hot air escape to the attic?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:43AM
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love_the_yard

IC = Insulated Contact

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 12:07AM
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mattpete

For Halo units, I would use the Airtight (e.g. 30wat) and be done with it.

For Lightoliers (and attic access), I used a combination of foil tape around the seams and Great Stuff foam where the box meets the ceiling:

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 8:58AM
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