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Insulation Compatible Light Fixtures

When installing canister lights in the ceiling that extend into an attic space, the must be insulation compatible light fixtures.

If they are not, and if they are covered with insulation, they can overheat.  If they overheat too much the obvious result is fire. 

Why take that chance?

On a recent pre-drywall inspection I was very happy to see the right lights.

See the stamp inside?  It says "Air Loc."

That means this is a specially-insulated fixture which dissipates heat such that insulation can cover the unit without danger.

But there is more!

You need to see the

"IC" sticker - Insulation Compatible.

Incredibly, there it was!

Of course I knew I would see it.

This light fixture is a

Best Practice!

I look for that on every pre-drywall inspection where there is a canister light fixture in the ceiling.

The sticker tells the date of manufacture and identifies this fixture as IC, or Insulation Compatible.

IF THAT STICKER IS NOT PRESENT THERE IS EVERY POTENTIAL THAT THE LIGHT WILL NOT BE INSULATION COMPATIBLE.  SO IF IT IS INSTALLED WITHOUT A PROTECTIVE SLEEVE TO PROTECT THE DEVICE FROM THE SURROUNDING INSULATION AND TO DISSIPATE HEAT UPWARD, IT RUNS THE RISK OF OVERHEATING AND POSSIBLY CAUSING A FIRE.

This is a very important find on a pre-drywall inspection, and these stickers should be looked for every time.

My recommendation:  the proper installation of certain materials is a crucial aspect of pre-drywall inspections.  Look carefully!  And if the right fixtures or whatever are not found, don't be shy!  Bring it up and make certain the client is protected.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • November 06 2013 06:01AM

Comments

 Good morning, Jay.  Well, it looks as if this builder is on top of their game. Sadly, many are not.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay.... I have around 50 recessed lights in my house..... this was explained to me by the electrician before he installed them...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 5 years ago

I always look for them too. sadly, many of them installed by the homeowner after the fact are not IC lights, the bad part is they can't insulate around them so they are open to the conditioned area. This means a break in your insulation and energy loss as well. They are easy to spot in the attic because the light leaks into the area. Best to catch it in a pre-drywall inspection like you say, or make sure you are installing them if you are upgrading your home!!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

Of course "IC" what you mean---you just knew that would be coming.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

I always look Michael!

Is good this Barbara!

Fred - that is why I don't really like the sleeves around them.  There is huge energy loss.

Charlie - so I guess this canister is practicing Safe Receptacle?  You knew that was coming too... (All - you will have to see my comment on Charlie's most-recent blog to understand that)

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, your posts are always so dang informative! Thanks for the simple explanation. I would have thought Air-Loc had something to do with the movie Gravity!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 5 years ago

HI Jay, I didn't know this, so now will keep this in my bank of AR knowledge. I have often wondered why they didn't cause more problems with overheating.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 5 years ago

It probably does Tom.  I want to see that!

Andrea - they do!  I don't have any statistics however.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay,

Is there any way to identify these IC fixtures from ground level? I like Fred's suggestion to look for the light in the attic. The real problem is when insulation covers the fixture and blocks the light.

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) over 5 years ago

Brad - the sticker is usually on the attic side, unfortunately.  So you probably would have to identify it from that side.   It is sometimes hard to do.

But the side benefit is that while you are up there you can make snow angels in the insulation!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Finally a success story in the world of pre-drywall inspections!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 5 years ago

I've actually had a lot Suzanne!  See my Best Practices Group!  That's why I started it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Nice to see it sure is a change of pace. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

I look for and like to see Best Practices James.  It's more fun!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

  You have to be the watch person with construction...before, during and after....better to be safe than sorry !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

That is the idea of the pre-drywall inspection S&D, and the reason for it, and why builders don't like to be so scrutinized!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, I cannot imagine not installing IC cans anymore. I think the last time I was looking at can lights it was hard to find the non-ic cans.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Don - you are in never never land compared to here!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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