COMMUNITY FORUM

novicehandygirl

03:21AM | 03/11/05
Member Since: 03/10/05
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I recently installed non-ic recessed lighting in my bedroom. The bedroom ceiling is the floor of the attic and I wanted to keep everything insulated. I came up with an idea to create "caps" for each recessed light out of chicken wire. I measured the lights and created the chicken wire cages to conform to the spacing requirements for the non-ic lighting. I put the cages over the lights in the attic and covered the cages with insulation so that they are sealed off from the cold and the insulation is the prescribed distance from the light housing, however, I have trapped the heat from the light into a closed off area. I want to know if this solution is okay. I'm sure it will also get very hot in the attic in the summer and I am hoping I haven't created a fire hazard. Thanks, in advance, for the help!

tsimko

07:28AM | 03/11/05
Member Since: 12/28/04
48 lifetime posts
you should be fine as long as you followed the mfr. instructions and spacing requirements, but... I would increase the spacing by about 20% just to make sure some engineer didn't have a bad day when making the requirements. perhaps conisder some type of metal can instead of chicken wire to keep the heat directly off the insulation too. good luck

MistressEll

05:19AM | 03/15/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Nope, its not okay, you should have spent the extra buck or two per fixture for IC rated. The heat build-up within the fixture will also make your bulbs wear-out faster.

What on earth made you think that all this effort of your chicken wire cage was better than spending the few extra bucks per fixture and to buy the right fixture in the first place?

tperez

11:35AM | 03/15/05
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
handygirl,

I applaud you for your effort to learn. I further applaud your reading the manufacturers instructions. You will get two schools of thought on this question. The first is that as long as you meet the requirements of spacing you will be o.k..

I however, am in the other school. The reason that there is a space requirement is to prevent the heat from building up and creating a fire or tripping the heat sensor on the fixture. That should be the black cylinder or the silver rectangle on the fixture. The fact that you have sealed the air into a larger compartment will only serve the fixture in that it will take longer to heat up. Lack of convection will not allow the air around the fixture to cool.

As the compartment teperature rises the heat sensor will trip and the light goes out. When the sensor cools the light will come back on again and this cycle will repeat until corrected. The sensor is designed to stop fires before they can develope. If the sensor is bad it may not ever shut off.

I would remove the insulation but keep the cage, this would help keep insulation away in the future or you could create a chimney effect by opening a space at the top of the cage to allow some convection. If your light starts to shut themselves off you will definitely need to remove all the insulation.

As a side note. I for one do not like the abrupt criticisms from some of the members here. We all have different levels of skills and learning. You just keep trying but be as safe as possible. Knowledge is power and we should never criticise the mind that questions.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!

novicehandygirl

03:00AM | 03/18/05
Member Since: 03/10/05
2 lifetime posts
Thanks to all that replied to my question. I just wanted to follow up. These are my actions: I contacted the light fabricator and asked them my question. They assured me that if I followed their specifications there should be no problem. I also did some shopping for ic and non-ic lights and found that there is about a $10 difference/light (in my area). Now, $10 is not alot compared to the cost of a new house however, I have had the ic lights before and they blink off much of the time if the insulation is not removed from them. Therefore, if I have to remove the insulation anyway, why not save my $10 and get the non-ic lights. All this being said, I returned to my attic and removed the top layer of insulation from the cage (as suggested by tperez) so that there can be some air movement. I maintain that some form of barrier is necessary because I also have blown-in insulation that has a tendency to move with vibration/air movement/critters. Again, much thanks to all in continuing my education!

MistressEll

11:53AM | 03/19/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
The reason the IC rated fixtures go off and on is that THEY have a SENSOR that detects when the heat build-up is too high and SHUT DOWN the light to prevent an over-heating/potential fire ignition situation. The blinking OFF is a GOOD THING -- means by shutting themselves down they prevent a fire, this is GOOD. The Non-IC rated fixtures DO NOT HAVE SUCH A SENSOR/PROTECTION. The fact that they never go out is a BAD THING and why they are NOT safe to put in an enclosed area (like the ceiling of a first floor between joists when their is a low clearance between combustable materials and low air circulation and NO "fire proofed" methods like encasing area in min. 5/8" drywall taped and mudded combustibles. This is a BAD thing for your ceilings exposed to insulated attics. Furthermore the excessive HEAT that will build up in these fixtures (especially with no "IC type" SENSOR to shut them down when they get TOO HOT, will cause your bulbs to FAIL SOONER, be they regular incandescents (the filments will be stressed by excessive heat and break sooner), flood type incandescents, or those flourescent jobs that can "screw in".

Someone, forgot which poster, talked about YOUR CURRENT LUMINAIRES (light fixtures) having SENSORS, this was WRONG, yours do NOT, as you said you have NOT got IC rated fixtures. Any solid confinement that prevents disipation of the HEAT that these fixtures generate WILL only reflect and CONTAIN that heat, and further "inflame" the situation. Furthermore, such fixtures aren't designed to resist the humidity/condensation issues that regular non-conditioned (floor insulated) attics encounter in all types of temperate zones.

Finally, at $10 a fixture difference you most likely were looking at some of the lesser lines, but when you consider the cost of your time, and the chicken wire (and the likely scratches you acquired), I adjusted the factor downwards to a total difference of a couple to a few bucks a fixture difference (I figure you at least deserve a minimum wage factor for your time involved).

Bottom line: NON-IC fixture in an enviroment requiring an IC rated fixture is trouble, period. It is only a matter of time and unknown variables before you might realize that trouble. It could be a burnt conductor (conducting that heat away from the fixture instead of electricity TO it), melted insulation on the conductor (exposing you to arc fault, ground fault, or other fire hazard), or some other corrosion/expidentialy aging situation that will reduce the fixture's useful life, and potentially expose you and/or your home to a potential hazard. If all one needed was a chicken wire cage to hold back fiberglass insulation to make a non-IC rated fixture a IC rated fixture, there'd be such a cage on the IC rated fixture. Sure hope you haven't created an electrified chicken wire cage or you haven't grounded it to the fixture.

Enough said, answer still NOPE.

tperez

02:32PM | 03/22/05
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
I'm not sure what brand of cans you are installing but I have yet to install a recess can without a heat sensor. You may wish to find a different manufacturer.

The wire cage is just fine, after all isn't the light fixture itself grounded? I believe the answer is YES. Insulation has a tendancy to move around either by people,rodents, or air flow. If putting in the cage gives piece of mind,keeps insulation away,will still let the fixture function properly,and the owner doesn't mind doing it, what is the problem?

I doubt the owner mounted the cage to the fixture anyway because the distance needed to keep the insulation back is greater than the dimension of the entire fixture.

You can always do better than the code and/ or manufacturers instructions.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!

MistressEll

04:48AM | 03/23/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
#1 not all homes are wired with a 3-wire system, some rely on grounded conductors and metalic conduit, so not sure WHAT HER situation is.

#2 A mouse can pass through a hole the diameter of a dime, so "chicken wire" wouldn't stop them, not even "farmer's cloth", but might protect their "nest" from OTHER critters in the attic, the heat from the fixture and this chicken wire "protection" making the area an attractive collection point for nesting materials and a nest. really NOT a good idea in general. ESP as she mentioned loose "blown" type insulation being present in the attic, its just a situation asking for trouble. Not to mention it might make an attractive location/structure for paper wasps or some other insect to start a hive (the structure) to over-winter. It just seems a bad all-around idea in general. I would think that originally to secure this chicken wire "bubble" that she constructed, somehow would be attached/secured to the metal housing of the can-light fixture itself, hence the concern about it being grounded or electrified if at some FUTURE point some rat or other critter chewed thru her neutral wire (a common occurance with sheathed electrical cable), the rodents seem to be attraced to to the electromagnetic field and like the rubber componanets of the old insulation, and with their ever-growing teeth and drive to "gnaw" they treat it like chewing gum and have at it, until they electrocute themselves, but by then the damage is already done, exposed wiring, potential arc fault, high resistance fault, whatever, and poof.

There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with this situation, depending on the cabling/wiring situation in her home, etc. Cant tell her for sure what the right way is right now (not enuf info) but this sure isn't the right way, at least not totally right yet, and sounds more like the WRONG way, as that chicken wire will CATCH that insulation and insulate the fixture like a lint filter, and the heat from the fixture will be causing its own convection situation to create a vacuum like effect for that loose insulation.

tsimko

06:29AM | 03/25/05
Member Since: 12/28/04
48 lifetime posts
Man, I'm glad I got out when I did!!

tperez

08:03PM | 03/25/05
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
MistressEll,

You are correct in that some houses are not of the three wire systems.

Since the area of the clearance is greater than the fixture the wire should not even be touching the fixture is all I am saying.

I agree with the rodent argument and you express some very good points. I have seen crispy critters in light fixtures. It would seem they like the heat of the lamps, just my guess.

My theory is that if they want to be there they will go if the cage is there or not, but I think you may be more right in that the cage makes it more attractive for them. I have no proof of this but it makes sense to me.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!
Click_to_reply_button Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1