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How much clearance do I need to have between a new can light installation and miscellaneous other wiring running above the can?

GBA Editor | Posted in General Questions on

We are placing can lights in a new soffit we are creating, but there is a multiple run of wires that go to the rest of the house just above where we want to put in the lights. There is currently about 3″ between where the new ceiling soffit will go and where the wires run. The space overall is much bigger since the beams are 11 and 1/2 inches deep, but unfortunately the electrician ran the new wiring down as low as 7 inches from the top of the beam thereby interfering perhaps with my ability to install can lights. I will only use florescent floods, but, how much clearance is required to be safe? Or is it safe to have the wiring touching the can? Thanks!

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Replies

  1. Michael Chandler | | #1

    It is usually pretty simple to shift wires out of the way by carefully removing and re-installing the staples that hold the wire in place. I would avoid allowing the wires to touch the metal of the can but any gap even as little as 1" would be sufficient to be safe. They are really okay for direct content and only need the clearance to allow air circulation for ventilation. If you use Insulation Contact cans you would likely be safe with having the wires touch but I'd still give it some breathing room if possible.

  2. Leslie Kruth | | #2

    Thanks Michael. I was hoping the IC cans might do the trick. Unfortunately the wires run thru the BEAMS! and are fairly taunt so I cannot move them out of the way. If I can find some 1/4" sheetrock, I think I might place a piece on top of the can for a little extra protection, if I have the room. As a last resort I suppose I can put in new junction boxes and extend the existing wires, but there are about 20 lines! I really appreciate your response.

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