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Lighting problem, need suggestions
Old 03-06-2014, 09:40 AM   #1
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Lighting problem, need suggestions

I am going back to the great knowledge base that is here for things besides finance.....


I have a problem that I have been trying to determine what I should do and would like to get some thoughts....


In our kitchen we have 4 pot lights in the ceiling. These were installed by who knows by the previous owner when the kitchen was remodeled. My problem is that two of them get too hot and will turn off after being on for between 15 and 30 minutes. I have changed the lights to a lower wattage and have also installed CFL. They use the large flood light.


I would like to not have to have someone come in and replace them if I do not have to.... but I also do not like them turning out... it does not happen often, but there are times when both of the problem lights are out and they are on the same side of the kitchen....


As an FYI, this is the first floor, but there is no upstairs room over the kitchen, so they are basically in an attic...


Any suggestions of what we can do
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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I've become a big fan of LED's. When redid master bath used some 4" and 6" LED spot type lights, from Lowe's. May work for you (but cannot be on dimmer). I also used LED strips under cabinets from Inspired LED on internet that I'm a big fan of.

The spots are very easy to install. While I did not replace any prior can types, I did replace an incandescent fixture as well as several new places. In your case you would not need to install "boxes" per se, as long as the plate of a new LED would cover the hole. Go to a Lowe's or HD and take a look at what they have and see if they would work.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #3
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THe wonders of recessed lighting. The fixtures have thermal overload cutout switches. The bucket gets too hot, circuit opens. So far they work as intended.

Where the problems come in is if the installed units are not rated for insulation cover. These have lots vent holes that allow hot air to escape to the attic. Along comes new owner with the insulation to try and keep heat in the house.

My house was just like that when we bought it. And had 150W floods in the buckets rated for max 100 watts. And had styrofoam slabs laid over the bucket tops. Can you see the stupidity?

By the way fiberglass insulation does not keep warm air from flowing out. Need solid barrier for that.

Solution: CFL or LED, then get bathroom type snap in glass cover which has seals on the rim to keep airflow out. That is how I solved the problem. I was too lazy and cheap frugal to replace the buckets.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:17 AM   #4
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I have two in the kitchen that did the same thing. Changed the bulbs out to pigtail compact florescence and have had no problem, going on five years and have not had to replace a bulb yet.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:21 AM   #5
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Sounds like the thermal switch is getting tripped. It could be faulty itself. You said you already tried lower wattage/CFL bulbs. It might be the insulation around the cans. It's not supposed to be piled up around can, needs some space for the heat to escape.

Here's an article with a similar question, Electrical Wiring in the Home: why does my recessed light turn out?, flood lights, heat safety
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:41 AM   #6
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I agree with the others - go for LED or CFL as those produce less heat for the given light output.

I will go a step further - do not use these lights if they are tripping on/off. That tells you they are getting dangerously hot, and if the trip circuit fails (I really don't think they are designed to operate for many cycles, just an emergency situation), you could have a fire. LED/CFL should solve it for you.

Are those two cycling on/off even after installing a CFL/LED? In that case I agree that the trip switch may be faulty. Sometimes these things can get more sensitive over time and many cycles. I know circuit breakers are like that. Safer to have that than the other way around.

-ERD50
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:42 AM   #7
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I had that happen once and it was simply because blown in insulation had blocked the vents in top of the can (pot).
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:43 AM   #8
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Would something like this work for you?

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Old 03-06-2014, 11:57 AM   #9
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Big fan here on LED conversion....I got mine at Orchard supply hardware store. About 30 dollars a light but no more worries about fire. Kitchen has 6 of them on a dimmer switch. Takes about 5 min (or less)a light to install.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Another big fan of LED lights particularly in spot or flood type application. LED lights generate far less heat that other lights including CFL types. I doubt an LED would trigger the thermal cutoff in your existing fixtures.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies, I will take a look at the LEDs... as mentioned, I already have tried the CFLs without luck... my DW wants them to be able to dim....

They did add a layer of blown in insulation and it is what I thought was the problem. I know there are lights that can live with this, but we do not have them...
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post

They did add a layer of blown in insulation and it is what I thought was the problem. I know there are lights that can live with this, but we do not have them...
You should be able to just move the insulation away from the can and see if that fixes the problem. IC-cans are the ones rated for Insulation Contact
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:43 PM   #13
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You should be able to just move the insulation away from the can and see if that fixes the problem. IC-cans are the ones rated for Insulation Contact

I can't , the lights are in a place in the attic where you need to be nimble to get there... for me, that train left the station a LONG time ago...

But, I might send my son up there to see.... but, the LED looks like a good change anyhow and if it does not require it... that much better...
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:45 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies, I will take a look at the LEDs... as mentioned, I already have tried the CFLs without luck... my DW wants them to be able to dim.... ...
Check that the LEDs you look at are actually lower watts total than the CFLs you replace. LEDs generally are lower watts/Lumen, but I've seen some that are very close to some CFLs.

Offhand though, if you've gone from a 60W 'edison' bulb, to a 14W CFL and are still having problems, I don't know that a 9W LED will get you there.

Were the CFLs you tired dimmable? Maybe if they were not, and they were on a dimmer, they were over-heating?

-ERD50
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:00 PM   #15
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I can't , the lights are in a place in the attic where you need to be nimble to get there... for me, that train left the station a LONG time ago...

But, I might send my son up there to see.... but, the LED looks like a good change anyhow and if it does not require it... that much better...
Never tried this, but if you think that may be the problem you could try removing the bulb and blowing in air from a compressor or vacuum cleaner.
When I did it, I took a 16ft extension painting pole up there to clear the vents -- saved me 32ft of needing to be nimble.

But new lighting would be better.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:43 PM   #16
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Check that the LEDs you look at are actually lower watts total than the CFLs you replace. LEDs generally are lower watts/Lumen, but I've seen some that are very close to some CFLs.

Offhand though, if you've gone from a 60W 'edison' bulb, to a 14W CFL and are still having problems, I don't know that a 9W LED will get you there.

Were the CFLs you tired dimmable? Maybe if they were not, and they were on a dimmer, they were over-heating?

-ERD50
Yep, dimmable bulbs... it did take longer to overheat, but they still do...
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:50 PM   #17
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Never tried this, but if you think that may be the problem you could try removing the bulb and blowing in air from a compressor or vacuum cleaner.
When I did it, I took a 16ft extension painting pole up there to clear the vents -- saved me 32ft of needing to be nimble.

But new lighting would be better.

I was looking at the video and was thinking that I could use some compressed air and see if that works....

I also see some bulbs instead of the replacement that was in the video... I think I will try one bulb first and see how that goes... need to do the air first....

I also MIGHT be able to reach the lights with a pole.... but will do that as a last resort.... if the other works, why do it
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:32 PM   #18
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You can simply remove the interior of the can by removing 3 sheet metal screws and stick your hand up there and rearrange the insulation to provide adequate heat dissipation.

Are these two lights in a higher part of the ceiling or over the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator area where the ambient temp might be a little higher?

We have had the best luck with the Cree brand LED trims. Good luck!
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:51 PM   #19
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You can simply remove the interior of the can by removing 3 sheet metal screws and stick your hand up there and rearrange the insulation to provide adequate heat dissipation.

Are these two lights in a higher part of the ceiling or over the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator area where the ambient temp might be a little higher?

We have had the best luck with the Cree brand LED trims. Good luck!

It is actually funny that these are not over the stove... the ones over the stove do not have a problem.... but, there is a possibility that my son's closet is just above the stove and they are between floors...
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:07 AM   #20
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3 solutions as has already been mentioned, remove insulation from around cans in the attic; or buy insulated cans, or replace bulbs with leds.
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