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Recessed Light Problem

One of my recessed lights recently started turning off after 10-15 minutes of use and then comes on again after 10 minutes or so. I assumed that there was a heat sensor that automatically turned it off if it got too hot.

The fixture is in a mud room ceiling and the area above the mud room is easily accessible from the garage attic. The area is filled with blown-in fiberglass insulation. The light "can" has a thin metal tube around it to keep insulation away with a roll fiberglass insulation cover.

The electric box attached to the fixture has a plastic or metal rod sticking out of one end that I assume is the temperature sensor that shuts the light off when too hot. Oddly (to me at least), the box and sensor are not enclosed by the metal tube and are therefore covered with the blown-in insulation.

Once the insulation was removed from the box & rod, the light no longer switched off automatically. I did notice also that the rod gets very hot to the touch after the light is on for a few minutes. (Hot enough to be uncomfortable to the touch but not to burn you.)

There are other identical lighs in the same vicinity that have not been switching on and off, so I removed the insulation around one to compare. The light fixtures and situations are identical - the box and rod are outside of the metal enclosure and are covered insulation, and the rod gets uncomfortably hot when the light is on.

I find it odd that the insulation lays on a sensor that heats up, and can't figure out how the sensor determines that the fixture is overheating if the sensor and the fixture are on opposite sides of the metal insulation barrier.

Last thing, I replaced the insulation around the light fixture in question (covering the box & rod) and the light has been on for at least an hour without shutting off. For what it is worth, the temperature today is about 20 degrees cooler than it has been recently (it is about 60 degrees today).

Sorry for the long explanation leading to this simple question - Do I have a problem and/or a fire hazard? Thanks in advance!

Re: Recessed Light Problem

What bulbs are you using in the fixtures.......

Most recessed fixtures require some kind of REFLECTOR bulb to deal with the heat.....check the label within the aperture of the fixture for bulb style and Max wattage.......

Re: Recessed Light Problem

It sounds like you have a box that requires you not to cover with insulation. As stated above the type of bulb and the wattage will also have an effect. I would suggest you replace the fixture with one that can be insulated over. It's safer and will help cut down on heat loss.

John Gooch
Re: Recessed Light Problem

I too have had this problem. However, i am using IC style recessed lights. These are approved for use with insulation touching the housing. Any thoughts?



Re: Recessed Light Problem

The recessed light has a thermal sensor inside it that trips when it overheats to protect the light and the home. Check the light bulb for proper type and wattage. If light bulb is correct, call an electrician to check the thermal sensor.

Clearing the insulation away from the can may help but should not be necessary if the light has the right bulb and a working thermal sensor.

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