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Community and Q&A

Converting can lights

AKShazam | Posted in General Questions on

I have 8 recessed/can lights in my home. They are not ICAT rated, so there is currently no insulation around these fixtures. No air sealing, either. We’re adding cellulose insulation within the next few weeks, so I’d appreciate some advice on how to deal with these dang lights.

We priced replacing with ICAT fixtures, but it’s too expensive. Also considered removing them entirely, but that’s even more expensive and time-consuming. We ordered some LED retrofit inserts (Cree C6), but they are too bright (625 lumens) and the depth of the light causes shadows that we dislike.

I decided to order Tenmat covers & LED bulbs as a workaround. Is this a safe solution? Also, there are some cracks around the trim of some of the can lights. Can I apply a basic latex caulk to seal these cracks? And between the Tenmat covers and drywall?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    For more information on your options, see Recessed can lights.

    There is one problem with your plan to install Tenmat covers and LED bulbs: If anyone ever installs incandescent bulbs in these fixtures in the future, you may have a fire hazard. The non-ICAT fixtures are designed to cool themselves by air movement. Without the air movement, these fixtures can get dangerously hot. So your plan is potentially hazardous to future occupants of your home.

    Ideally, you would remove the non-ICAT fixtures and install something safer.

  2. josh_in_mn | | #2

    You might consider replacing the non-ICAT fixtures with regular 4" junction boxes, and then use a disk light or hanging fixture. The problem of the too-bright LEDs can be solved with a dimmer if necessary.

    I happen to have a Philips Slim Surface disk light that I'm evaluating. I got the 90 CRI version, and I think the light itself and the light it gives looks quite good. Pricing is a bit high though, at about $50/each. There are some cheaper ones on the market from various vendors, but none look as nice as the Philips ones.

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