Recessed Lights Not Working – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

Recessed LightsI have several recessed lights that will go off every so often, then will come back on later.  It’s not the switch or the bulb, and they don’t go off or on at the same time.  Any ideas?

First of all, don’t worry.  I don’t think your house is haunted.  If I have to guess, I would imagine that this only happens in the hot months of summer.  If so, then we can assume that you have an insulation issue where it is surrounding the recessed light, causing it to get too hot.  There are two types of recessed lights to talk about regarding this issue.  There is an I. C. rating and a non-I.C. rated.  The “I.C.” stands for insulation contact.  In other words, if you have an I.C. rated light fixture, then it is ok to have insulation surrounding the light in the area above the ceiling.  If the light is not I.C. rated, then insulation should not be close to the light.  Even though a fixture may be I.C. rated, it can get overly hot.  What will happen at that point, is that the light will shut off.  Once the light has cooled, it will then come back on.

In your particular case, there are several options.  You could go up in the attic and move the insulation away from each light fixture.  However, if these lights are in a first floor ceiling and you have a 2-story home, this isn’t practical.  So, here are some alternatives.  First, make sure that you are not using halogen light bulbs.  The halogen bulb will produce a much higher temperature than an incandescent bulb. 

Next, make sure that the wattage of the bulb isn’t higher than what is recommended for the fixture.  If you remove a bulb, in the housing of the can light, you will see a note telling you what the highest recommendation of bulb wattage is.  If you are using the correct wattage, you might try lowering the wattage, so the fixture doesn’t get quite so hot.

Another simple recommendation would be to switch to the CFL (compact florescent bulb).  This will give off much lower heat than any of the other bulbs.

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