ecoENERGY Report – Part 20 – The Second Audit-5

In Part 20 – The Second Audit-4 we discussed our extreme disappointment with what happened to us in participating in this program, specifically the lack of a required air leakage examination of the home during the first, or ‘D’, energy efficiency assessment by the assessor with the home owner.

It is as if the program is providing insufficient support for the participant. Even large air leaks within a home’s ‘envelope’ can only be detected during the blower test as we have come to learn.

Now, the other aspect I want to mention is once again the recessed lighting, some call them pot lights, in the ceiling; here is a picture showing some of the recessed lights we had installed in the ceiling of our main floor eating area just off the kitchen.

covered support beam in kitchen ecoENERGY Report   Part 20   The Second Audit 5

Our assessor did mention during the first energy audit that they were an area of significant air leakage.

Subsequently I mentioned this to our contractor who was still doing work in our home. He laughed it off as me knowing nothing. He said that he did put the required covering on top of the recessed lighting cans in the ceiling (the part of the recessed lighting you do not see … the picture below is of the part you do see).

recessed light before can placement ecoENERGY Report   Part 20   The Second Audit 5

However, as we have learned that is not sufficient. Especially if one has as many recessed lights as we had installed in our home during it’s major renovation. Here is a picture showing the ceiling of our family room with all of the new pot lights.

pot lights in family room ceiling ecoENERGY Report   Part 20   The Second Audit 5

According to the energy audit assessor, what is required to stop the air leakage through each recessed lighting can costs about $6 per can. It’s not my number; it is what he told me.

What is required is to apply special sealant from one of those spray cans, like the ones which are used for insulating foam when installing a door frame or window, to apply the sealant around the base and any openings of the recessed lighting cover. The energy audit assessor said that this takes about a full can of sealant per recessed lighting can cover. That seems excessive to me, but that is what he said.

This sealant was never, ever, mentioned by our contractor who installed our recessed ceiling lights.

He’s a good guy, but if he doesn’t know (or care) about this, now you do.

So, if you have recessed lighting, wait until after the first ecoENERGY Residential Retrofit energy efficiency assessments, before you personally or have a professional apply the required air sealant to them …. and then of course increase your attic insulation (covered under the ecoENERGY program).

If you want recessed lighting in a room, now you know how to properly finish the job!

Next time, we look at the results of our second energy, what we will receive and what we won’t.

To continue to the next article in this series, simply select this link to Part 21.

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Comments

  1. bakeapples says:

    OMG where have you been digging up these auditors?

    Was he suggesting insulating foam like Great Stuff or Daptex?

    I am no pro but I have been reading up on replacing some troublesome pots for some time. After filtering out much of the misinformation out there (and there is plenty), one thing is very clear:

    Recessed lights + insulation = Fire Hazard

    The foam insulation is even worst here as pots can reach temps around 200F and some foams will melt and/or combust below that. Even if IC rated pots (Insulation Contact) are used, care must be taken that no foam gets in thru any holes or cracks.

    There are recessed light known as IC Air Tight that will not leak air if installed properly with a special supplied gasket, but they need to be installed before the ceiling or from above.

    I’m assuming from your pictures that those recessed lights are on lower floor levels (rooms above) and the lights are the retrofit variety that are pushed up into the holes from below. These usually have holes in them to allow heat to escape. You could seal these holes with heat resistant caulk but it could lead to premature bulb failure or worst. There are fixtures with thermal sensors which will turn off the bulb to prevent over heating, but even some of these will allow heat air to escape.

  2. Dan says:

    All I can say, ‘Bake’ is I am learning as I go and hopefully others learn from us before they undertake similar.

    Dan

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