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How to Choose Recessed Lights

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Buyer's Guide: Recessed Can Lighting and Baffled Recessed Lighting Trim Eurofase Lighting 2 Light Recessed Can Light

Recessed can lighting is often times a perfect addition to light in rooms around the home. Recessed can lights are low profile, available in energy efficient versions and are a great option for providing extra light without taking up too much wall or ceiling space.

There are a variety of different features available that should be taken into consideration when shopping for recessed can lights.

Into the New or Into the Old

First, take into account whether your recessed can lights will be installed in a new construction or a remodel. New construction recessed can lights will come with the necessary fixture, wiring and junction box so it is a complete package for new construction. Alternatively, if you are looking for remodel recessed can lights, it is not a problem to get just the light because the junction box is already installed in the ceiling.

Under Where?

Recessed can ceiling lights are not only made for installation in the ceiling; recessed cans can also be installed under cabinets.

Fit the Ceiling

Every ceiling is a little different, so it is important to understand the unique characteristics of the ceiling where the recessed can lights will be installed before shopping.

IC Rated ceiling recessed can lights: If your recessed ceiling light will be installed in a ceiling with insulation it is important to find a fixture that is IC approved, meaning it is intended for direct contact with insulation. This is usually relevant in residential homes. By having the advantage of covering your recessed can light with insulation you will save energy and reduce costs.

Air tight recessed can lights are another way to save energy and many of them are IC rated. The air-tight feature will eliminate hot or cold air from the ceiling seeping into the home.

Sloped ceiling cans, much like their name implies, are made for sloped ceilings.

Deco Ring Baffled Recessed Lighting Trim

How Much Power?

Similar to track lighting, recessed can lights are available in line voltage (120v), low voltage (12v-24v) and multi-tap commercial voltage (277v). For most homes, either line voltage recessed can lights or low voltage recessed can lights will be most appropriate. The multi-tap commercial voltage recessed can lights are made for larger, commercial buildings with a different, more powerful electric current.

Low voltage recessed can lights will save energy however, they do require a transformer to lower the voltage to the lighting from 120 volts to 12 volts.

So Let’s Light it Up

If you are typically a handy person around the house it is perfectly possible to install recessed can lighting yourself.  Each product will be unique and you will have to follow the instructions that come with the recessed light you chose, however, here is a basic rundown of the process for installing a recessed light in a “remodel” situation. One a side note, it is easiest to install recessed lighting during construction so that you have access to the ceiling from above.

  1. Decide where to position your recessed lighting cans and turn off the electricity to this area.
  2. Find a stud (where the ceiling joists run) and drill a small hole in the ceiling to insert a wire or something equivalent, simply to poke through the ceiling and determine nothing is obstructing where your fixture will go.
  3. Now you will need to locate your power source, most likely from an existing fixture. The wires for the existing fixture will run across the joists so you will need to make a hole in the ceiling under the joists and to run the wire through.
  4. To install the fixture you will need to cut out the exact template of the recessed can light and attach the junction box wires of the power source to the wires from your new recessed can light. The lighting fixture will fit up into the ceiling and most likely have clips to hold it in place.
  5. Repeat until all cans are installed and then enjoy your handiwork.

But How Can I Make it Better?

Recessed lighting cans are often bought along with baffled recessed lighting trims which will seemingly “house” the light itself. It adds aesthetic appeal, a reflective coat for better lighting and some are even available with shades to make the light more directional if you are using it for lighting up something like a piece of art work. It is important to take note of what size of recessed ceiling light you have purchased and buy a baffle trim that will fit that size.

What is an IC Rating?

If a recessed can is IC approved then it can be installed with insulation touching. This lighting eliminates the danger of insulation catching on fire when the lighting heats up, which is associated with non-IC approved lights. Be careful to choose IC approved lighting if you plan on installing the lights right next to the insulation.

Can Recessed Lights Be Installed After a Home Has Been Built?

It is definitely easier to install recessed ceiling cans into the ceiling of a house that is being built because you will then have access to the top of the ceiling for wiring, however it is possible to install recessed ceiling cans into an existing home as an addition.

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