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Install & Replace

Replacing can lights with IC rated

I am getting ready to replace some existing non-IC rated can lights with IC rated, to help reduce drafts, and so I can insulate over the lights.  The existing lights are original to the structure and are nailed to the ceiling joists.  They do not measure exactly 6”, so I have some questions.  Any tips would be appreciated.


If the existing lights are located such that there are only a few inches of attic clearance, can the entire procedure be done from below, or must the removal of the existing fixtures be done from within the attic?


Can the existing light fixtures be dismantled and then removed to allow the remodel fixture to be installed? 

Is there usually a difference between the actual size of the can fixture and the nominal size (i.e. could a 6” fixture actually be a little larger than 6”?


I have heard that IC lights have a safety device designed to turn off the fixture if it overheats.  Any suggestions on installing or adjusting the new light fixture so it doesn’t get too hot?


Generally, what is the difference between IC rated remodel fixtures at different price points?

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Posted 2010-12-22T19:57:14+0000  by Mr_Honeydo Mr_Honeydo

Hello Mr_Honeydo,

I’m glad to hear that you’re taking the initiative to make your home more energy efficient. I'll try to answer all of your questions as they were asked. Here we go..


I have contacted one of our recessed lighting vendors and confirmed that the existing new construction fixture has to be taken out from above, unless you are willing to remove a portion of the drywall to get it from below.


I looked up the specs of a new construction housing and the measurements for the 6” can is 6 ½” so yes the actual size will be different then the nominal size.


Yes. All of the recessed lighting fixtures have what is called a thermal cut-out heat safety device built into them. This is required by UL on both IC and non-IC style cans.


If you follow the light bulb requirements for the fixture you are installing you should not have a heat problem. If your still concerned with the heat then the one suggestion that I would have is to switch to using a CFL bulb. They do not create heat, they last longer and also save you money on your energy bill. (Click for CFL info video)

 Most of the time the different price points are due to manufactures options offered on each can. For example: air tight, shallow can, adjustable bulb depth, CFL can, or LCD can. I’m sure there are many more out there I just wanted to give you a few.


I would like to suggest that you use an Air-Tight IC can due to your draft issue that you’re trying to fix. They are design just for your application. Here is a link for the 6” one so you can read up on it.

I hope I have answered all of your questions. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Thanks  

Posted 2010-12-22T23:19:24+0000  by Christine_HD_OC

Shecandoit22 is right on the money on every point! I just wanted to add that on top of using the correct wattage bulb and the correct type of bulb for a particular can, it is also important to follow the manufacturers recommendation for the trim.


For example a 6" IC-AT can may be able to use a 75w PAR30 if you use a baffle trim, however it may only take a maximum of 40W A19 if you are using a water tight trim kit.


Luckily manufacturers will print the max wattage and type of bulbs on the inside of the can for each trim that will fit.  


I also agree that using low wattage CFL's or LED's will save you money, last longer, and produce much less heat! 




Posted 2010-12-23T15:53:17+0000  by BlakeTheDiyGuy
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