Which Insulation Is the Most Flammable with Lighting?

At 5 Star Performance Installation, Inc., safety is our first priority. We are often asked about the flammability of insulation in regards to recessed lighting. Having canned lights in the ceiling establishes a clean and modern look for any room, but they can make insulating the attics above them a challenge. What type of insulation is the best? Which lights should you use? The experts at your insulation company in Sacramento, CA, have the answers.

The Safest Insulation

Generally, modern manufacturers have safety as their number one priority when developing insulation. Most insulation that would be used in an attic would not be flammable with recessed lighting that is installed correctly. The least flammable of the three main types of insulation used is rock wool insulation. Fiberglass insulation is the second least flammable. The most flammable of the three is cellulose insulation.

The Right Light

The most important thing you can do to protect your home from fire is to choose the correct light fixtures. The canisters used in recessed lighting offer an opportunity for heat to escape and cold air to get in. The best way to avoid losing so much heat is to seal the gaps around the recessed lighting canister with insulation.

However, not all fixtures are safe to cover with insulation. Only IC-rated fixtures are actually safe to be covered by insulation. These fixtures work only with bulbs that have a low wattage and have a protector that trips when the bulb gets too warm. The downside to these IC-rated fixtures is that they do not shine as brightly as non IC-rated fixtures. If the fixture is not IC-rated, the canister will get very hot and the insulation will need to be kept at least three inches away from it to avoid a fire hazard. If you are using a fixture that is not IC-rated, it is very important to choose insulation that is fire retardant.

Choosing the Best Insulation

Follow the guidelines below if you are using non IC-rated lighting:

  • Rock wool insulation (also called mineral or slag wool) will not burn until the temperature reaches 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, your recessed lighting will not get this warm. This is your safest choice of insulation.
  • As a safe alternative, you could use fiberglass without paper backing. That would mean the insulation would have to either consist of batts or loose fill. This type of insulation is useful to stuff into small areas.
  • Avoid loose-fill cellulose if possible. This is treated recycled paper, which will begin burning at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another Solution

ICAT (Insulated Ceiling Air-Tight) fixtures can be used as a safe alternative to traditional recessed light canisters. These are fixtures that are designed specifically to be internally sealed to prevent air movement through the canisters. They can come in contact with any insulation material since the sides of the canisters will be cool. You could even caulk around them. The drawback to both the IC-rated fixtures and the ICAT fixtures is that they do not give quite as much light as the non IC-rated fixtures.

Finding the Right Insulation Company in Sacramento, CA

Making the right decision for your lighting and insulation needs is crucial when it comes to keeping your family safe. It’s best to consult the professionals for these decisions. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, 5 Star Performance Insulation, Inc. in Sacramento, CA can answer these questions and more. Give us a call today to see how we can help.

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