Answers to the most common questions
Why is properly covering can-light fixtures so important?
Proper treatment is critical for the energy efficiency, safety and comfort of your home.
Can-light openings, in fact all attic penetrations, are often the biggest cause of energy loss and discomfort in your home. They cause air drafts just like leaving the doors and windows of your home open, but in addition to unwanted air movement; can-lights also attract condensation and radiate unwanted hot and cold energy.
Because the metal fixture is highly conductive, simply sealing off the airflow in the fixture itself or using a LED insert cannot completely solve the associated problems.
In the summer the metal fixtures act like space heaters in your ceiling transferring heat from the attic and radiating it into home.
In the winter IC fixtures not only conduct the frigid cold of the attic into your home, but they also act as a dew point and attract water much like the condensation on your windows.
Homeowners switching to LED light bulbs have reported extreme moisture issues and water actually dripping from the ceiling. During very cold weather, water can often appear on the fixture as ice crystals. Beyond the obvious nuisance this moisture can lead to physical damage as well as potential mold and health issues.
What does "Non-IC rated can-light" mean?
Non-IC rated means that direct contact with insulation is not allowed. Non-IC fixtures require airspace between the metal and the insulation.
What does IC rating for can-lights mean?
IC (insulation contact) simply means that the fixture is approved for direct contact with attic insulation.
However, overwhelming evidence shows that insulation contact has unintended consequences like unmitigated heat and moisture build-up. Thus direct contact with insulation is never a good practice.
*ALL fixtures need CanCoverIt to isolate them from the attic environment. Both the Universal and the Low-Profile Series are acceptable for use with IC rated fixtures.
I thought airtight was good. Why are IC-airtight fixtures not a good solution?
Fixing drafts is important but how and where those air flow seals are made is even more important.
Just sealing the can-light doesn’t effectively separate it from the attic and can’t fix the many problems caused by the conductive properties of metal.
Reported IC caused problems include: flickering lights, bulbs overheating, shortened LED bulb lifespan, ice-over’s, condensation, water stains, dripping water, mold, radiant hot and cold spots in the ceiling, inconsistently uncomfortable room temperature and resulting energy loss.
CanCoverIt solves all these problems by isolating the can-light fixture from the attic and integrating it with the controlled inside environment.
What are the problems caused by using IC-rated airtight can-lights?
Problems caused by IC-rated, airtight can-lights include: flickering lights, bulbs overheating, shortened LED bulb lifespan, ice-over’s, condensation, water stains, dripping water, mold, radiant hot and cold spots in the ceiling, inconsistent uncomfortable room temperature and resulting energy loss.
Note: Every ceiling penetration, even IC rated, needs CanCoverIt to isolate it from the attic.
I’m confused; I thought IC-rated airtight can-lights fixed the problem?
Conventional wisdom has focused on controlling air-flow, but underestimated the full complexity of penetration problems and the role that conductive forces play.
CanCoverit fixes even the most challenging penetration problems throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Canada, gradually raising awareness that ALL metal penetrations must be isolated from the attic environment.
How can I tell if I have IC or Non-IC can-light fixtures?
Newer fixtures typically have a label stating that they are IC rated, airtight and accommodate only lower watt light bulbs. Because IC-rated fixtures trap bulb heat, they have lower temperature circuit breaker and must limit the recommended bulb type and wattage.
Older homes typically have Non-IC fixtures which were designed to have air cool them and often listed bulbs at 100 watts and higher.
Unless you know for certain that fixtures are IC-Rated the safest practice is to treat them as Non-IC and use the Universal Series.
What is the difference between Non-IC and Air-tight IC rated fixtures?
The differences are subtle.
To prevent dangerous overheating, can-lights have a temperature sensitive circuit breaker that shuts off the power to the light bulb. The thermal safety shut-off is typically set at a lower temperature for IC than what would be set Non-IC fixtures. This safety precaution is necessary because contact with insulation and air restriction traps the heat generated from the light bulb.
Also, Non-IC fixtures have seams and openings that allow air to flow through, whereas airtight IC-rated fixtures have tape and foam added to seal off these areas.
How do I choose whether to use the Universal or Low-Profile model?
The Universal is the only suitable solution for Non-IC rated fixtures. However as the name implies it works well with ALL penetrations including IC-rated can-lights, ceiling fans and speakers.
The Low-Profile is ideal for use with fans, speakers and IC-rated fixtures, but should not be used with Non-IC rated fixtures.
Unless you are certain that a fixture is IC-rated you should use the Universal.
Why can’t I use a Low-Profile Series on a Non-IC can-light?
Non-IC can-lights were not designed to be covered with insulation and require adequate air space around them to safely diffuse the heat generated by the light bulb.
CanCoverIt Universal Series provides a larger heat diffusion camber around and above the can-light as well as a venting option to accommodate potentially higher temperatures in Non-IC fixtures.
Can I use a Low-Profile Series on an IC-rated can-light?
IC-rated fixtures are designed to shut off at lower temperatures to prevent overheating; thus a smaller air chamber around them is required and the Low-Profile is suitable for use.
I have 4” and 6” can-lights; can I use a smaller cover on the 4” lights?
The type of fixture, IC or Non-IC, and the being light bulb used is more critical than the 4” or 6” fixture size.
Regardless of whether the fixture is 4” or 6” the heat generated from the light bulb is about the same and they both require a similar cover size and air volume to safely diffuse that heat and ensure optimal performance.
The Universal Series should be used for ALL Non-IC fixtures and the smaller Low-Profile can be used on IC-rated fixtures.
Can I use CanCoverIt for bathroom fans? How do I install?
CanCoverIt Low-Profile Series is perfect for typical bathroom fans and can be easily cut and trimmed with a knife or scissors. (Note: Universal Series is recommended for exhaust fan/heater units)
If you have good access above the unit - place CanCoverIt in the desired position over the fan and mark and/or cut the material around the exhaust duct --- (tip - cut less at first and check and trim a few times until you achieve the desired snug fit)
Often professionals simply cut one or two slits, then push in place and seal with expandable foam. Sealing with expandable foam is most forgiving at sealing less than perfect cuts - however with a bit more time and care you can use siliconized acrylic latex caulk and achieve clean excellent results. When using siliconized acrylic latex caulk make all your trim cuts first - then remove the CanCoverIt and run a bead of caulk along the bottom - next position in desired place and apply additional caulk if needed to fill any voids along the seams.
What is the R-Value of CanCoverIt?
This is a good question to help explain effective can-light treatment and individual product function within the building envelope system.
Left untreated, every attic penetration, such as a can-light or fan, will compromise the homes insulation envelope and greatly reduce the actual functioning R-value.
CanCoverIt does have an R-Factor in that it is non-conductive, but its function and purpose is more accurately defined as a barrier rather than an insulator.
CanCoverIt fixes the problems associated with attic penetrations by isolating the metal object from the attic so that the desired R-Value of the overall attic insulation can be achieved.
CanCoverIt creates a safe structural air space to support the surrounding insulation and isolate the highly conductive metal fixtures from the attic so that the installed R25 to R60 insulation can function at its actual intended value.
Why not just use airtight IC-Rated fixtures?
Controlling drafts and airflow is only part of the required can-light treatment solution.
We now know that airtight IC can-lights do not effectively control conduction and moisture problems.
Reported IC caused problems include: flickering lights, bulbs overheating, shortened LED bulb lifespan, ice-over’s, condensation, water stains, dripping water, mold, radiant hot and cold spots in the ceiling, inconsistent uncomfortable room temperature and resulting energy loss.
CanCoverIt solves all these problems by isolating the can-light fixture from the attic and integrating it with the controlled inside environment.
My expensive LED light bulb failed prematurely. Can CanCoverIt extend LED lifespan?
Overheating of any electronic device can hinder performance and cause premature failure.
IC-airtight can-lights and inserts trap heat that can damage LED light bulbs and shorten lifespan.
For best performance the metal fixture should also function as a heat-sink and not be air-tight!
CanCoverIt isolates the can-light fixture from the attic and provides a safe air chamber to help diffuse the heat.
This allows air exchange within CanCoverIt and the air inside your home to better control moisture and diffuse heat, ensuring optimum LED performance and lifespan.
Can I just use LED inserts alone to fix my can-lights?
No, LED inserts do not solve the conduction problems caused by the metal fixture within the attic environment.
In fact using inserts without properly isolating the can-light fixture from the attic can result in hindered performance, decreased bulb lifespan, serious condensation issues, potential mold and compromised energy efficiency.
Why do I have water dripping from my new airtight IC-rated can-lights?
Just like on a cold glass of ice water, condensation occurs as the temperature difference between the outside and inside environments becomes more extreme.
Attic insulation is permeable, meaning air and water can travel through it. So even when a can-light fixture is covered with insulation, its’ metal walls still connect the frigid outside attic conditions with your homes inside cozy heated air.
In addition, water also is conductive and further drives the process by creating a connection through the insulation. Get your clothing wet on a cold day and you can experience instantly just how powerful waters conductive energy transfer is.
Condensation resulting from insulation contact conduction has always occurred. But in the past, incandescent light bulbs got hot enough to evaporate some of the water and conceal the problem.
The use of new low-heat LED bulbs exposes how IC-rated airtight fixtures can create serious moisture issues and potential mold problems.
CanCoverIt cures the water issues by isolating the conductive metal fixture from the attic and connecting it to the inside of your cozy home.
How can I stop ice crystals from forming inside my can-lights during the winter?
When left untreated even airtight IC-rated can-light fixtures - function as a dew point and connect the extreme cold temperature of the attic with the warm temperature inside.
As the temperature difference between the two environments becomes more extreme, the dominant attic environment cools the metal fixture below 32° F and the condensation freezes to form visible ice crystals.
Because metal and the water passing through the insulation are such powerful conductors the only way to stop this conduction driven process is to separate the can-light from the dominant attic environment.
CanCoverit creates an effective non-conductive barrier that isolates the metal can-light fixture from the attic and places it in the pleasant inside conditioned environment.
In other words, CanCoverIt allows you remove the can-lights from the attic without removing your can-lights.
Rats made nests around my can-lights. Is CanCoverIt rat proof?
Professional pest control companies are now using CanCoverIt to prevent pests from nesting in can-light penetrations.
Rats easily chew through cardboard, plastic and Styrofoam. But CanCoverIt’s airtight foil and fiberglass materials provide a very effective deterrent that does not degrade over time.
In addition to physically blocking off the area CanCoverIt also eliminates any nesting attraction by reducing the area’s heat signature.
Can I use duct tape to seal CanCoverIt?
Duct tape is not recommended because it uses rubber based adhesives that degrade and fail over time.
Also attics are typically dusty so getting tape to adhere can be difficult at best.
What tape can be used to seal CanCoverIt?
Specialty tapes for the heating and cooling industry use Acrylic-based adhesives. The most common are FSK, (Foil, Scrim, Kraft) and Aluminum foil tapes.
FSK is recommended because it is strong, tear resistant and has good adhesion.
Unlike rubber-based adhesives, the initial tack strength of acrylic starts as low as 60% but then increases to 100% adhesion over time.
Do I have to seal the base of CanCoverIt?
CanCoverIt is designed to form a compression seal to the ceiling substrate without the use of tapes or sealants. However careful installation is critical.
Using a sealant is recommended to help ensure best results and a positive seal.
What do contractors use to seal and secure CanCoverIt?
Most contractors prefer expandable foam products because they cure very quickly to secure CanCoverIt in place and prevent workers from accidently dislodging it.
They also like that foam materials expand to seal imperfect cuts around obstacles like wires and brackets.
Note: Apply foam on the outside of CanCoverIt and avoid expanding foam inside the cover.
I’m a DIY homeowner. What do you recommend I use for sealing CanCoverIt?
Expandable foam products are popular with contractors. However some homeowners find foams difficult and messy to work with.
Siliconized acrylic caulks are easy to work with, inexpensive and deliver good results, but they have a longer cure time. When using caulks be careful not to dislodge CanCoverIt in the first hours.
Note: Only use caulks that have acrylic plus silicon formulas. Do not use latex painter type caulks as these have poorer adhesion and can become brittle and fail overtime.
How can I get the caulk-gun to seal areas in the attic with tough access?
First place CanCoverIt over the fixture and make all the necessary adjustments for wires and brackets.
Then flip CanCoverIt upside down and run a caulk bead, staying closer to the foil side, all around the bottom perimeter.
Place CanCoverIt back into position, being careful not to disturb the caulk bead, and press it firmly in place.
Inspect all seams and touch up areas if necessary.
Be careful not to dislodge the cover before the caulk has cured and formed a strong bond.
Why not just use cardboard boxes to seal can-lights?
Cardboard boxes are a very temporary and potentially dangerous treatment.
Cardboard boxes are difficult to seal and ineffective at controlling pests, moisture and air flow. Bugs rats and mice are attracted cardboard and will even eat it.
In the attic environment, even treated cardboard will degrade quickly and become a fire hazard.
Why not just build drywall boxes?
Except for its good fire-resistance, drywall is not a good material choice. It’s heavy and can add too much weight to ceilings, so it is a particularly poor choice for suspended ceilings.
Although not extremely conductive like metal, drywall material is not a good moisture barrier and can potentially create serious mold issues.
Building drywall boxes is time consuming and properly installing and sealing them can be challenging, yielding non-uniform results and possible failure.
Also, drywall is difficult to adapt to real world attic conditions where access can be limited with numerous obstacles such as pipes, wires, framing and tight places are common installation conditions.
Weighing a mere 1.75 lbs. CanCoverIt provides unsurpassed strength to weight ratio.
Why not just build foam board boxes to cover can-lights?
Foam materials are extremely cheap and lightweight, but they have serious, even detrimental limitations.
Foam materials have poor fire-resistant properties, can burn easily and actually become a fuel source in the very area where fire safety is critical.
Rigid foam materials are difficult to adapt to real world attic conditions where access can be limited with numerous obstacles such as pipes, wires, framing and tight places are common installation conditions.
Thin foam materials are structurally weak and overtime can sag and fail under the weight of surrounding insulation. Thicker foam materials are stronger but take up to much space and don’t fit well within the confinements around the fixture.
Building foam boxes is time consuming and properly installing and sealing them can be challenging, yielding poor non-uniform results and possible failure.
With CanCoverIt the skill is built into the product. So whether you’re a DIY or seasoned professional CanCoverIt delivers instant, easy, uniformly perfect results every time.
I have all new IC-rated airtight can-lights so why do I still feel cold air drafts when I sit under them?
The drafts occur because the metal fixtures are radiating the cold attic into your cozy heated room.
The air movement is actually the room air circulating as the cold air around the fixture falls and mixes within the warmer air. Eventually the entire room would cool. However as the room cools, your homes heater cycles on to maintain the set room temperature.
This cycle not only wastes energy, but also makes for a less consistent room temperature and a less comfortable living space.
CanCoverIt breaks this uncomfortable, wasteful cycle by actually separating the fixture from the attic environment. Learn more on our "how it works" page.
How did the name "CanCoverIt" come about?
Until CanCoverIt was invented and developed it was thought to be impossible to both efficiently and safely cover a Non-IC can-light.
CanCoverIt is a descriptive play on words; it’s a can cover that proved that you can cover “it” - the can-light.
“It” could also refer to any attic penetration such as ceiling fans or speakers that can (and should) be covered.
EcoCave and other names were tested, but CanCoverIt was the overwhelming survey favorite.
How much metal surface area is exposed in the attic on a typical Can-Light fixture?
A typical ceiling can-light appears fairly small and innocent when viewed from inside your home, but inside your attic it has over 2 sq feet of highly conductive metal surface area exposed to the extreme attic conditions.
BASIC MATH FOR CAN-LIGHT METAL SURFACE AREA: Can Cylinder and Base = 7 x 19 + 7 x 10.5 = 206.5 sq inches, Junction Box, Brackets, Conduit = 51.5 + 21.75 + 12.75 = 86 sq inches206.5 + 86 = 292.5 sq inches, divided by 144 = [2.03125 sq feet]
(NOTE: As few as 10 can lights equate to over 20 sq feet of extremely conductive metal. When left untreated in your attic, they radiate hot in the summer and cold in the winter and greatly compromise home efficiency, safety and comfort. Also during extreme weather the metal acts as a dew point that can draw moisture through the insulation to collect and actually drip from the can-lights.)
My contactor said I should install new airtight IC rated fixtures. Do I really need to tear out my old Non-IC can-lights?
No, new fixtures alone do not fix can-light problems! Plus, even if airtight IC rated fixtures worked as intended it would be difficult to justify the disruption, waste and expense of destroying old can-lights. You can easily imagine the devastating environmental impact of destroying and replacing over 500 million existing fixtures. Certainly negates any presumed benefit.
Problems caused by IC-rated, airtight can-lights include: flickering lights, bulbs overheating, shortened LED bulb lifespan, ice-overs, condensation, water stains, dripping water, mold, radiant hot and cold spots in the ceiling, inconsistent uncomfortable room temperature and resulting energy loss.
Every ceiling penetration, even IC rated, needs CanCoverIt to isolate it from the attic.
IC rated fixtures do however allow for the use of CanCoverIt Low-Profile Series, whereas Non-IC fixtures can only use CanCoverIt Universal Series.
Why not just remove can-lights and install track lighting?
The popularity of can-light popularity goes back many decades. At this point, there are more than one billion can-lights in the US alone. Giving up this valuable and extremely versatile architectural lighting feature would be terrible loss and is totally unnecessary.
CanCoverIt lets you save your can-lights and have them perform more efficiently than track lights. Even though the track lighting fixture hangs inside, it still requires a junction box that creates an attic penetration.
CanCoverIt isolates and removes the can-light penetration from the attic environment to provide the continued benefit of recessed lighting.
Can CanCoverIt help prevent mold issues?
Yes, in fact CanCoverIt is used by professional mold mitigation companies to correct penetration mold issues and prevent future problems.
How do can-lights cause mold problems?
Left uncovered, can-lights attract moisture. The surrounding moist drywall, combined with poor ventilation and moderate temperatures provide a perfect environment for mold to take hold and grow.
CanCoverIt has a non-conductive mold resistant interior as well as an impermeable exterior that isolates the can-light from the attic. Equally important, CanCoverIt allows for air exchange within and between the conditioned inside air of your home. CanCoverIt helps prevent mold by eliminating conditions conducive to mold growth.
Do I need to do a blower test?
If perfect efficiency is your goal and you have the time and money to achieve it, then blower tests play an important role in identifying problem areas. Also, upgrade programs require blower tests to locate drafts and obtain before and after data results as a condition of receiving rebates.
That said, there are important, high-value improvements you can do without testing. Treating penetrations with CanCoverIt, inspecting attic insulation and filling voids are by far the fastest, most economical means of achieving the greatest improvement.
Does CanCoverIt require maintenance?
No. Attics are challenging places to perform maintenance, so we designed CanCoverIt to function not only as a system but also as a passive, service-free device. Install once and enjoy a lifetime of trouble free benefit!
What is the lifespan of CanCoverIt?
CanCoverIt is designed and constructed to last the life of your home without degrading, so you can enjoy a lifetime of trouble free comfort and efficiency.
I’m installing Universal CanCoverIt on Non-IC fixtures and using 60 watt incandescent light bulbs. Do I need to open the vents or can I keep them closed?
CanCoverIt provides a large air chamber to help safely diffuse heat. However, when using 60 watt or higher incandescent or Halogen bulbs, at least one vent should be open to prevent overheating.
A 60 watt bulb within a 77⁰ F ambient temperature will remain around 260⁰ F. However, within a confined space and/or with a higher ambient temperature, heat dramatically increases.
You may also consider another light bulb type. Incandescent bulbs are being phased out because over 95% of their energy use generates heat and less than 5% is visible light.
Typically when using low-heat bulbs such as compact florescent or LED’s the vents may remain closed. However, some government rehab programs have required that at least one vent should remain open to guard against the possibility that a future owner user may install high heat bulb.
Can CanCoverIt extend the useful lifespan of my heater and air conditioner?
Absolutely! In addition to age, the hours of actual use is a key determining factor of a mechanical device lifespan.
CanCoverIt eliminates hot and cold spots in your ceiling that would otherwise force the device to cycle on and off more frequently, thus greatly reducing the actual use and optimizing lifespan.
Could CanCoverIt prevent rolling blackouts?
Yes, we could prevent brownouts and rolling blackouts if enough homes inspected their attic insulation and installed a fast, simple CanCoverIt efficiency upgrade. Air conditioning contributes the major energy draw during hot weather and heavy use during peak demand often stresses the power grid to the point of failure.
CanCoverIt eliminates hot and cold spots in your ceiling that would otherwise force your air conditioner to cycle on and off more frequently. Simply by reducing air conditioners’ need to cycle on and off half as of often has the power grid effect of taking half of them off line.