Q's Daily DIY Green Tips: IC Rated Fixtures

Another thing to consider when choosing a light fixture is whether the fixture is being installed in an insulated environment, or location where you may put insulation in the future.  Ideally, you want to be able to insulate your home in the most effective and safe way possible.  Consider the following in relation to recessed lighting.  If insulation is present in an application where a NON-IC rated fixture is used, a minimum 3” clearance should exist on all sides of the fixture, and no insulation may be present across the top of the installed fixture.  This equals a big area for both loss of energy through conduction and convection.  The lack of insulation and air sealing will cause the area of your recessed lighting to be a source of energy loss in your home.  What is needed is a fixture that is allowed to have direct contact with insulation (IC = Insulated Contact).  In order to for a fixture to be IC rated, the fixture must, by definition, “be approved for zero clearance insulation cover by and OSHA NRTL laboratory”, such as Underwriters Laboratory (commonly referred to as UL).  Choosing an IC rated fixture allows you to air seal tight and insulate right.

P Quentin Unsworth