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recessed lights - air tight baffles

Post in 'The Green Room' started by saichele, Nov 25, 2006.

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  1. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I have occasion to need a bunch of recessed light baffles. My question is whether the 'air tight' identification really has any meaning or significance. I'll need about 22, at either 1.50@ or 5@. The cans are 6" IC remods, surrounded by fiberglass, with uninsulated space above them.

    Steve

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  2. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Are you in California?
    Air tight ratings are tested at astm E283 for the amount of air lost through openings whether it be windows/door/lights etc.
    California is a bit more nuts with the airtight standings of thier new homes and has its own title 24 for airtightness for can lights.....
    IC is for insulation contact and since there is no insulation above such can light then this would create a possible air leak from the home..
    So if you are in CA You should be following the local code requirements... A airtight baffle with a non airtight can is useless. A local Inspector may fail you for this.
    Why are you going with the airtight baffles?
  3. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    The Air-Tite does actually mean something. They put a plastic baffle around the openings in the fixture, and it cuts down on air loss immensely. I had non-air-tite Halo H7IC cans, 37 of them, throughout the house. Some research showed that each can lost 4 CFM of air... do the math, in the winter it was insane. I purchased new eyeballs, however these eyeballs cost 28 bucks a piece. That said, they cut down the heat loss significantly. I recommend them highly.

    -- Mike
  4. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    So they aren;t air tight cans - just off the rack Home Cheapo Halo's. Given that, are air tight baffles worth 3x as much? I'm not putting in new cans anytime soon.

    Steve
  5. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    The cans I have are not from the Depot, but they are non air tite. The house came with them pre-installed in the cathedral ceilings, and they are insulation contact rated. I just don't think they had air tight available around here 20 years ago. Without ripping them out through the ceiling or roof, the cans were staying, so I went with air tight eyeballs. The addition of the air tight eyeballs here made a very noticeable difference, so I have to differ with GVA. In my case, they helped. Before, I could put my hand next to each eyeball and feel the air blowing through. Now, there's no air movement, and that helps. Also, I checked with the Cooper electric tech staff, you are able to add air tight eyeballs to the cans I have.


    ymmv...


    -- Mike
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm re-doing my sunroom, built in 1972. It has about 8 recessed, six-inch lights. When I took the fixtures out to paint them, I noticed that the foam rubber seals were all shot. Although I'm not quite following the conversation above, I take it that there are recessed lights designed to restrict airflow, while there are others that are not. I'm guessing mine are not.

    Can I/should I try to find replacement seals for these lights before I put them back in, or is there something else I can do (short of replacing all the lights) to make them more energy efficient. There are no eyeballs on these lights--just a spotlight bulb in a recessed plastic can.
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    NEC ratings for NM cable pre 1982 was 60*celcius, after 1982 it's 90* celcius Those cans can get pretty hot and start to overheat wires. now if you cut down airflow up through that fixture yes you may be making it more efficient but you may overheat the fixture. Now we can add to that that almost all air-tite cans do not use incandecant bulbs, they use halogen due to reduced heat. The can lights may flicker on and off a sign that they are overheating. That being said do what you want but just be aware of the possible dangers....
    Besides i'm industrial side not residential ;-)
  8. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I was concerned about overheating the fixtures, etc., however Cooper said the cans were rated to accept the air tight eyeballs, so I went with it. In 2 years, no problems, the heat sensors haven't shut any of the lights down, etc. and the house hasn't burned down, which has to be a good sign... Interestingly, these eyeballs were made for Washington state air tight code... don't know if that means anything vis California, etc. though. House was built in 1990. Maybe I'll try some halogen replacements... do they make em for r30 dimmables?

    cheers,

    -- Mike
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Why would halogens produce less heat? Do they use less power?
    My flourescent spots use less energy for sure. Of course they take, like, a MINUTE or so to un-dim!
    I have a bunch in the kitchen. I feel better about having them on when they are using less energy (cheap guy that I am).
    I'm not crazy about recessed lights because I don't think you get enough light out of them. Good effect maybe, but not efficient.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, they make them. Long neck and short necked bulbs. Most are PAR bulbs designed for outside use. They have the heavy glass prism front, but work fine. Try to get flood instead of spots for better light dispersion. You can generally go about about 25+% lower in halogen wattage for equiv. light.

    http://www.1000bulbs.com/category.php?category=671
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I don't think they produce less heat. But one can use a much lower wattage halogen bulb to acheive similar lumen output compared to a conventional tungsten bulb. I'm always amazed by our halogen desk/table lamps that I run mostly on the 25w setting. They put out a lot of light and the bulbs seem to last forever. Our oldest bulb is going on 20 years now and we use it a lot.
  12. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I purchased the "Air Tite" IC recessed lights from Home Cheapo for I think $11 each. They are recessed lights whose wire going into the can itself has a gasket around it, often not placed particularly tight. That's basically all I've seen to help aid it being air tight. No gaskets anywhere for where it sticks through the opening.

    I caulked the opening with silicone, and also where the wire comes out the top caulked around that as well. Mine is IC rated so it's got 2 shrouds, caulking around the outside shroud still let the inside one's openings free to allow air movement inside.

    The proper way in my energy books, is to create a drywall box (or the rigid fiberglass insulation for ducting) around each one, and caulk it, including the wire penetration. If you ever need access to it, it's only drywall. Destroy it, and build another.
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