Texas Energy Efficiency
How Does Recessed Lighting Work?
Recessed lights allow you to incorporate lighting into your room without requiring additional lamps. They can be used to light a particular piece of art or spread around the room to illuminate the entire space. Because recessed lights are installed above the ceiling, they are inconspicuous, trendy and they can add a sense of luxury to any room. Here is how recessed lights work.
How Recessed Lights are Installed
Recessed lights, or “cans,” come pre-made with metal fixture arms that extend out for securing the fixture to the ceiling joists. The “arms” get nailed or screwed into the joist, keeping the recessed light stable. The lighting can itself will still be moveable along the track so you can position it exactly where you want to. Once you have the right position, there is a set-screw that you can tighten to hold the light in place.
Thermocouples in Recessed Lights
Attached to the recessed light’s junction box is a cartridge that is called a thermocouple. The thermocouple gets wired between the feed and the light itself and it works as a thermal protector. If the recessed light begins to emit too much heat, the thermocouple will automatically shut the light off until it cools off sufficiently. This is why some recessed lights may turn off and on by themselves at times.
Types of Recessed Lights
Depending on the type of recessed light you purchase, you may have to make sure that you do not place insulation near the canister. Here are the types of recessed lights you can purchase:
IC Rated Recessed Lights–IC rated recessed lights can touch ceiling insulation if need be. These lights are usually rated for no more than 100 watts.
NON-IC Rated Recessed Lights–These recessed lights need a minimum of three inches between the housing and the ceiling insulation. Depending on your local code, you may not even be able to use this type if you have any insulation at all in the location you are planning on installing the lights, so always check your local codes before installing.
Air Tight IC and NON-IC Recessed Lights–These lights offer the same abilities as above but they are made so that no air can escape into your ceiling or attic through the light fixture.