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Community and Q&A

How to airseal I/C and A/C potlights?

Bob Nickason | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

The builder installed approx. 40 pot-lights in our ceilings.They were made in China. I suspect that he wanted to hide the ripples and dips in a poor GWB installation.

I have never been a fan of electrical components manufactured in China and I have a concern regarding the air-sealing properties of these particular lights. When you view across the edge of the sealing trim ring, you cannot see any of the open cell foam gasket. It is doubtful that the gasket provides any sealing properties what-so-ever.

These pot-lights were available at Home Depot a number of years ago. I see now that the newer pot-light gaskets sit proud of the trim ring and are of a more dense foam.

Will replacing the newer style gaskets, to reduce the air leakage to the Attic, be worth the added expense?

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Bob,
    Installing a recessed can light in an insulated ceiling is always a big mistake. The best way to fix this problem, as I often advise readers, is to remove the can lights and put them in a dumpster. Patch the drywall, paying close attention to air sealing. Repair the damaged insulation. Then replace the can lights with surface-mounted fixtures (for example, track lighting).

    Unfortunately, no one ever takes my advice.

    Here is a link to an article that describes all of your options: Recessed can lights.

    At this point, the easiest approach for you is to install LED retrofit kits. These kits go a long way towards reducing air leakage.

  2. Aj Builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | | #2

    Not a fan of knocking a country. We are all the same people on one planet. Your builder might be a great person too. Someone asked for the recessed lights along with no one really even to this day has a clue what we talk about here at GBA. Our building codes suck, we in the trades should be shouting for some air barrier updates to the code for recessed lights to be banned from insulated ceilings. I am fault. Sorry for not shouting loud enough to my state code writing group that I do stay in touch with.

  3. Charlie Sullivan | | #3

    I agree with Martin that:
    1) A dumpster is a great place for recessed cans.
    2) LED retrofits are a decent compromise. The ones by Cree that HD has for $20 have very good color and I think they are a bargain at that price.

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