Recessed & Can Light Insulation
Home Renovations, Interior Deco

Recessed & Can Light Insulation

Can light insulation/ recessed lighting insulation is becoming a must-have for homeowners because they add personality to rooms and the results are very adaptable.

The traditional light hangs down from the ceiling, but with an insulated can light, they are installed in an opening in the ceiling/wall, leaving only a fraction of the bulb exposed. Simply put, it appears like the light is shining through a hole in the ceiling, and the results can either be a spotlight, task light or overall luminance.

insulation for recessed lighting

Besides the effects and lighting it offers homeowners, recessed lighting insulation also provides functionality. Insulating around can light is essential because proper insulation prevents air leaks and faulty heat exchange. If it cracks or leaks, the exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, can mix with the air in your home, which is potentially deadly.

New homeowners opt for innovative lighting because they come in different shapes, colours and designs. They are an easy way to add details and elegance to homes. Most old buildings do not have this feature, but homeowners have embraced insulated recessed lighting when they remodel.

How to Tell If Recessed Lighting is IC-Rated (Insulation Contact rated)

Insulations of not only lighting but any electrical appliance are severely flammable. Therefore, they need to meet specific standards to be suitable for use.

IC rating is a measurement that helps determine whether an insulation is IC-rated. 

Recessed light is IC-rated if it meets the requirements of regulatory bodies that ensure that they are safe. These bodies differ according to the region/ country. 

Some of these regulatory bodies include the New Australia Standard on Recessed Luminaries standard (AS/NZS standard) and the Council of American Building Officials.

Importance of IC -Rated Can light

  • Using ic-rate can light prevents unnecessary fire hazards.
  • IC-rated recessed light can be safely and directly covered with insulation, which makes it easier and faster to install, and saves time and cost.
  • Simpler installation processes
  • IC -Rated Can light allows contractors to lay insulation unbroken over the entire ceiling area. Using this technique makes the insulation better, with no gaps. Intact insulation in the ceiling also prevents thermal loss.
  • IC-rated can light has a longer lifespan, beam angle, warranty, and input power.

Dos and don’ts of insulating can lighting

S/NDos Dont’s
1If the insulation is IC rated, then it is safe to install recessed lighting in a ceiling/wall with insulation materials like fibreglass or Mineral Wool.Do not use other materials like spray foam. They are good insulation materials, but they are also a significant barrier against heat loss, which means they may cause your light to overheat.
2Opt for bulbs with LEDs because they’re energy-efficient.Halogen can lights can be dangerous around flammable materials. They reach temperatures of at least 300°c. Other light bulbs we do not recommend is the incandescent bulbs. It is also on the other side. 
3Ensure that a can light has an IC rating before installing it is safer and more economicalDo not compromise by choosing non-IC-rated insulation. It is an expensive, time-consuming installation process, with risks of fire & safety hazards. Non-IC-rated insulation can cause thermal loss due to compromised insulation.
Carefully consider the design, position, configuration and the type of light you want to install. Because the contractor makes a hole in the wall or ceiling where they install the lights, it is permanent.Do not rush in to choose anything from the contractors to the type of insulation. Every decision made is big!
4Employ the services of a licensed insulation contractor. They have years of training /experience and know the right products and techniques used to ensure excellent results.Do not go the DIY route unless you have taken extra time to understand the health and safety risks and how to avert them. 

Types of insulation materials typically used for insulating recessed lights fixtures

Recessed & Can Light Insulation

We can use several materials for insulating around recessed lighting or over a recessed light. Each insulating material has pros and cons and has distinct features that make them safer, economical and affordable. Some of the most popular insulating materials include:

  • Fibreglass
  • Rock wool
  • Cellulose
  • Spray foam insulation


Why is it important to insulate properly can lighting, and what is the chimney effect?

Insulation around recessed lighting is done to prevent the Chimney Effect. The chimney that leads smoke and heats out of the fireplace and recessed cans creates a similar effect. Faulty insulation and poor sealing allow recessed cans to act as a chimney that leads hot air out of the insulation. Warm air travels through the cylindrical canister, holding your light bulbs, to the wall and into your home. 

The chimney effect disrupts the temperature of your home and overworks the HVAC system.

Can I insulate my can light myself with a DIY approach?

Yes, you can insulate your can light yourself, but there are risks from fire hazards to health risks. Therefore, it is necessary to contract a licensed insulation contractor. They know the safest ways to add insulation; they have the proper training and experience, and they also know what products and methods that are safe and economical.

 If you decide to DIY, ensure you take safety precautions. There is a risk of electric shock if safety precautions you do not take proper safety measures. For instance, if your light bulb has been on for a long, it is critical to turn it off and allow it to cool before you begin the installation. Fluorescent-lamp, electric lights and led lights get very hot when they work for a long time. It is also essential to cut the flow of electricity to prevent electric shock! Secondly, if you do not install the insulation properly, there is a risk of a fire outbreak.

Can you put insulation on top of the recessed lights?

Yes, you can. If your fittings have F-Capped Approval.


Can/Recessed lights are beautiful and innovative. The designs range from minimalist to over-the-top and colourful to simple. These give homeowners and designers a range of options to choose to play with. Installing recessed lights also come with some health and safety risks, which is why it is imperative to contract a capable expert to handle the task.

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