How to Air Seal Recessed Can Lights

A smart homeowner can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs with proper sealing and insulating, according to EnergyStar.gov.  Assuming the air-sealed home has sufficient and adequate ventilation, air sealing is supposed to reduce energy costs and improve indoor comfort.  One area that typically needs attention is recessed lighting.  In the video above, Yves Vetter of Vesta Home Performance, explains how to seal a can light from below.

(1) Shut off power to the light and remove the trim and light bulb.

(2) Fill holes inside the can with a duct seal compound approved for electrical.

(3) Caulk and seal the connection between the drywall and can.

(4) Substitute an energy-efficient bulb and replace the trim.  That’s it.

In the beginning, Vetter explains that he would seal the recessed light from above if he had access.  That can be tricky depending on the light fixture and space.  Particularly with non-IC fixtures, a dam or box should be built around the fixture to prevent insulation contact with the fixture housing.  That’s then sealed and insulated.

[+] Get air sealing information from the Energy Star site.


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  • Usalmosa

    If you seal up those light cans you better make sure that CFL’s are always used in that can. The heat from an incandescent bulb would be extreme if you have no venting on the can. Melting wires and or burning insulation, even the paper on the back of the drywall.

  • http://twitter.com/DHoweProvidence Daniel Howe

    Question: did Yves put any putty in the hole of the can right at the top, where the wires came through? Just wondering if this completely sealed or almost completely sealed. In my house the kitchen has recessed cans and no attic access … thinking about sealing the cans, then installing LEDs.

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