I need to air seal non-ic recessed 3" cans, but I can not get into the area installed to seal. Ideas?

Asked by Max Trouble
Webster, NY

I installed 12 - 3" non-ic recessed cans in my family room of my cape cod home. I went with the smallest can possible for the look I wanted, and they did not have any IC cans in that size. Now I am noticing a lot of air leaks coming from the cans. I can not get to the back of the cans to seal them - it is a finished room above the cans. The can's are wiggled, so I glued the lips of the can's in, and can't be removed. What are my options?


Lucas Johnson

Answered by Lucas Johnson

Seattle, WA

Cascadia Consulting Group

April 22, 2013

Actually, to be totally honest, I am a bit stumped by this one.

  • If you had used 4" or 6" can lights, you could get a "trim-integrated" LED retrofit that would provide some air sealing benefit.
  • However, I am not aware of an LED retrofit product for 3" cans.
  • Also, since the existing bulbs are very likely halogen, it would be a fire risk to install any sort of air sealing in the can light fixture itself, especially since they are non-IC rated cans.

I would say that unless there is a 3" LED retrofit with trim integrated, there isn't much that can be done. Even if the 3" retrofit exists, the trim-integrated strategy will only reduce leakage by about 50% and is not a true solution.

That being said, you could always hire a BPI Accredited Contractor to come take a look and help determine options.

Lastly, since the air leakage is occurring in an inter-floor space, I am also not that concerned about it.

It is possible that you could try to follow the inter-floor joist bays to see where they intersect with the exterior of the home.

  • Then, it would be a good idea to air seal anything accessible where the inter-floor space intersects with the ambient outdoor conditions.
  • Also, any other accessible pathways from the inter-floor space to anywhere else should be air sealed.
  • If this can be done, then it is a solution for the can light air leakage that does not require doing anything directly with the existing can lights.

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