recessed can

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What To Do With All That Recessed Lighting?

A new homeowner weighs his options for stemming the heat loss from recessed can lights

Posted on Dec 7 2015 by Scott Gibson

Justin Brown has moved into a house with lots of recessed lighting fixtures, including 10 six-inch Prescolite non-airtight fixtures on the second floor ceiling, and another 11 mounted in cathedral ceilings. He may have plenty of light in those rooms, but he's more concerned about all the air that's leaking into the attic and rafter bays and the heat loss that goes along with it.

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Image Credits:

  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Rethinking Recessed Lighting

It's a sheep in wolf's clothing: A new surface-mounted LED fixture from Philips is disguised as a recessed can

Posted on Oct 2 2014 by Debra Silber

Recessed can lights have gained a reputation as the go-to fixture for inexpensive downlighting. But they have their drawbacks. When placed in an upper ceiling and not sealed and insulated, they can bleed energy. When improperly insulated, they can present a fire hazard.

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Image Credits:

  1. Philips

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Banish These Details From Your Plans

Some features and methods are so difficult to implement that designers might want to avoid them entirely

Posted on Jun 27 2014 by Martin Holladay

Is it possible to disassemble old shipping pallets and glue the pieces of lumber together to make furniture? Of course it’s possible; some woodworkers have used this method to make beautiful tables and chairs. There’s a fly in the ointment, however: while it’s possible, it’s not very easy.

Many commonly used construction methods, design details, and materials fall into a category I would call “possible but not easy.” I decided to create a list of items that fall into this category.

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Image Credits:

  1. Window in the shower: Juhan Sonin

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New Green Building Products — May 2014

An ERV that dehumidifies, a tiny ventilation system for single rooms, a rugged ventilation baffle, a cap for recessed can lights, and a tape for XPS seams

Posted on May 30 2014 by Martin Holladay

UPDATED on January 24, 2018

It’s time once again to take a look at a few interesting new building products. I recently spotted two potentially useful ventilation products — a new type of ERV(ERV). The part of a balanced ventilation system that captures water vapor and heat from one airstream to condition another. In cold climates, water vapor captured from the outgoing airstream by ERVs can humidify incoming air. In hot-humid climates, ERVs can help maintain (but not reduce) the interior relative humidity as outside air is conditioned by the ERV. and a fan for ventilating small rooms — and two products that are destined for attics — an insulating “hat” for recessed cans and a ventilation baffle that can be installed between rafters. I will also report on JointSealR, a tape distributed by Owens Corning for taping XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation. seams.

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Image Credits:

  1. Air Pohoda
  2. 475 High Performance Building Supply
  3. DCI products
  4. Ecocycle Solutions
  5. Owens Corning

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Ban the Can

Why you should avoid recessed lights

Posted on Feb 3 2014 by Erik North

One hates to overstate how problematic recessed lights can be, but… they sure are a pain in the energy-auditor butt. There are worse problems (wet basements), more expensive ones (insulating a complicated roof line), and more frustrating ones (the cross-purposes of energy evaluations and homeowner desires). But few elements of the house combine all three in as tidy a package as recessed light cans.

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Image Credits:

  1. Erik North

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New Green Building Products — September 2010

Every energy-efficient home needs a tight air barrier. Here are some products that might help: a cover for recessed cans, a caulk for polyethylene, and a handful of new housewraps

Posted on Sep 10 2010 by Martin Holladay

In this new-product roundup, I'll look at a cover for recessed can lights, a new caulk for polyethylene, and several new water-resistive barriers (WRBs) that promise better performance than Tyvek or Typar.

A fire-resistant hat for recessed can lights
A Delaware manufacturer named Tenmat is selling an airtight hat for recessed can lights. Tenmat light covers are made from mineral wool; according to the manufacturer, they are fire-resistant.

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Image Credits:

  1. Tenmat
  2. Cosella-Dörken Products
  3. John Straube
  4. VaproShield

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