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Community and Q&A

Can light retrofit options?

R787 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Looks like the last big discussions on can light retrofits on this site were about 2015 which is approximately a million years ago in LED technology time.

I’ve got six 6″ cans that we’d like to swap out for something that isn’t a giant hole in our air barrier. I’m a hopeless geek/ snob about lighting so would be looking for something in the 90 CRI+ range, love a tunable white especially if I can automate the color temperature over the day but there’s not actually a lot of let’s say “household” desire for color tuning where these are located.

Seems like the features are easy enough but the “is it actually airtight” part is trickier. How’s the Cooper Halo line these days?

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  1. Andy S | | #1

    Are you able/willing to pull the cans out? I've used the thin Halos that just get cut right into the drywall and they seem pretty airtight where I've installed them, but I haven't done any real stress test on them. It is possible to caulk the flange on them if it makes you feel better, but realize that it will be a mess to pull them if you want to change the color temp or you have a loose wire.
    The retrofits that depend on the can as the housing are going to depend on the can for a lot of the sealing of course. There's a lot more variables in that scenario though a lot less work on the install.

  2. DCContrarian | | #2

    I prefer a real junction box, I always thought can lights were kind of hinky. Then you can seal the j-box before putting in the fixture and not have to worry about it again. However, if the work is going to be inspected you run into a couple of practical problems:

    A box has to mounted so it is able to support 50 pounds. Which means fastened to a stud. Which may not be where the hole is now.

    I feel a pancake box is the best from a sealing perspective, all you have is a wire-sized hole in the drywall that you can easily caulk. But they don't have enough volume to be legal in most circumstances.

  3. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #3

    I love the idea of the hockey-puck lights that install right onto a flush j-box and I've seen a range of color temperatures available. I don't have any information about any that might have adjustable color temperatures, though. They're more for new construction than retrofit. For retrofit, a "damp location" bezel and light comes with a gasket to seal it to the drywall. I've installed these with caulk and they're pretty airtight. It is a pain to pull them down if necessary, but it's not that bad.

  4. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #4

    The LED trims that integrate the LED and trim ring for the can are usually reasonably well sealed, and help with air sealing legacy (pre-AT rated) can lights. Halo makes a gasket you can use to improve this further, but I've found the gasket is a pain to install well, makes the trim proud of the ceiling, and tends to overhang the trim which looks bad. Others on GBA have suggested using rope caulk under the trim ring instead, which will likely look better than the gasket Halo makes.

    When selecting LED trim, just make sure you have one that has no vent holes or gaps in it and it will be better air sealed than the old can it's going into.


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