Oh those beautiful recessed lights. Are they a hidden source of your home’s energy leaks? While recessed lights can be quite decorative, they are known among Energy Auditors as notorious energy wasters.
Thermal mapping technology makes it possible for Energy Auditors to see where all air leaks in a house are located. And recessed lighting fixtures often stand out as the biggest HVAC efficiency problem in the room.
Two types of recessed lights
- Non-Insulation Contact – This type of recessed light gets too hot to be in direct contact with insulation material. Translated, they often have the worst air leak issues.
- Insulation Contact – This type of fixture is lower wattage and produce less heat, which means it’s acceptable to pile insulation material over the light housing.
Solving the recessed lights problem
If you want to keep your recessed lights, you can caulk to improve the seals around your lights, but know that the efficiency boost will be minimal.
If you want to keep the look of recessed lights and if you’re willing to upgrade your fixtures, select IC fixtures that are fully sealed. When you have them installed, be sure they are sealed tightly and that the tops of the fixtures are covered with plenty of heat-resistant insulation.
Probably the best option is to replace the recessed lights with other lighting choices, such as track lighting or hanging fixtures. Put $$ back into your pocket instead of paying to the utility company by properly patching those holes in the ceiling. It’s the most HVAC-friendly choice you can make.