Recessed Lighting

pot light installationRecessed lighting is possibly one of the most versatile sources of light when it comes to both residential homes and commercial properties. When you install recessed lighting fixtures, or recessed cans, in your residence or place of business, you get a nice display of lighting that blends into the ceiling. It can also be customized to any space and since many recessed fixtures are damp location rated, they are safe to use in an outdoor setting.

This type of lighting is also known as can lighting or downlights. It is called this because of the housing which is metal and cylindrical, much like a can. These can lights are best used in places where a hanging fixture can’t fit as they go directly in the ceiling. It is also good for when you want to highlight a feature in a room. A lot of our customers use can lighting in their kitchens and bedrooms to get the most out of the light.

Recessed Lighting FAQs
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Recessed Lighting FAQs

We receive a lot of questions about recessed lighting from our customers. Below you will find an extensive and growing list of question to help you out with your next lighting project. If you can’t find your question on the list below, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss it with you!

What is recessed lighting housing?

can lighting installationRecessed lighting housing is the actual light fixture itself. This is what hold the trim and the light bulb in place. The housing goes above the ceiling to keep the whole unit flush with the ceiling.

When it comes to housing for recessed lighting there are many types to consider.

New Construction and/or Remodel deal with when the fixture is being installed. If you are adding a room or starting a new construction, you’ll want to use New Construction. This also applies if you have access to the ceiling from above. If you do not have access to the ceiling, Remodel housing is the best option.

IC, or Insulation-Contact, rated housing is used when the housing will have direct contact with insulation. Whereas Non-IC needs at least 3 inches of clearance from insulation.

To reduce the airflow between the unconditioned space above the fixture and the room below, you an Airtight housing.

Finally, depending on the type of ceiling you have you may want to use Shallow Ceiling housing or Slope Ceiling housing. If you have an angled or wish the fixture to be angled, use Slope Ceiling. A Shallow Ceiling housing should be used when ceiling have 2-inch by 6-inch joists.

A professional electrician, like those at The Electrician Connection, will be able to help you determine which type of housing is best for your project. You can contact us at (818) 446-0888 to get on schedule today.

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What is IC recessed lighting?

Like with most lights, recessed lighting produces heat when turned on. If the fixture is close to insulation this may pose a fire risk. IC, or Insulation-Contact, recessed lighting create a wall to protect from combustion when the insulation contact with the housing.

Why should you install recessed lighting?

It’s clean and slim

Potentially the best feature of installing recessed lighting is that it makes a room feel bigger and look cleaner. Since the lighting is flush with the ceiling it doesn’t take up that much space and most people don’t notice it’s there. If a room in your home needs a lot of lighting and there isn’t a ton of space, this is the route to go. Tight spaces, like closets or hallways, can greatly benefit from a can lighting installation. There is no hanging fixtures so more room to maneuver and store items.

It’s highly customizable

Many can light fixtures have two parts to them – the housing and the trim. The housing, a metal canister, is the part that is placed in the ceiling. Once an electrician installs the housing, you can switch out any trim you please. Styles of trim greatly vary and you can choose the on that best fits your style. 

What are the different types of can light trim?

recessed lightsThere are four main types of recessed lighting trim – shower, wall wash, eyeball, and baffle. While baffle trim is the most commonly used, it doesn’t allow for movement. Whereas with eyeball trim you can focus the light where you need it. Wall wash trim comes with a shield over half of the light so you can evenly position the light on a specific feature in a room. Shower trim naturally goes in the shower as it has tempered glasses and is wet-rated.

What are the different names for recessed lighting?

Recessed lighting has a lot of different names – it can sometimes become confusing. Another popular name for recessed lighting is can lighting. This term comes from the housing unit of the lights which looks and feels a lot like a metal can. Pot lighting is another commonly used term for recessed lighting for the same reason. Downlights is also used because the light that emits from it is turned down. It greatly depends on the area for which term you might hear.

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What bulbs for recessed lighting?

Different light bulbs will give you different results in your recessed lighting. There are many different things to consider when it comes to choosing your light bulbs, such as type, size, shape, and performance. Below is some information that will help you decide what is the best light bulb to use in your home.


In a residential setting, there are four types of recessed light bulbs used. These are incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent or CFL, and light emitting diode or LED.

Incandescent bulb
Right now the most popular light bulb is still the incandescent light bulb. Even though it is the oldest and most inefficient, it is still widely used and produced today.
halogen bulb
Another type of light bulb is the halogen. This bulb is in the incandescent family. These lights are brighter and usually last longer than it’s traditional counterpart.
cfl bulb
CFL bulbs are very energy-efficient and money saving. These bulbs use 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
led bulb
LED are the latest in the new line of light bulbs. These lights are replacing all older light bulbs due to their long life and efficiency. They are also dimmable.


The US uses a letter code system to determine the shape. The direction of the light is determine by what shape the bulb is.

There are six basic shapes – R, BR, PAR, MR, A, and Tube

  • R, or Reflector, are the most common bulbs. These bulbs have reflective inside surface which directs all light downward.
  • BR, or Bulged Reflector, are a newer version of the reflector bulb. The difference is that it has a bulge near the base of the bulb.
  • PAR, or Parabolic Aluminized Reflector, bulbs have a parabolic shape for the reflective surface. This helps to produce a tight and controlled light. These bulbs are more used in theatrical settings.
  • MR, or Multifaceted Reflector, lights use a reflective inner surface to control the light beam.
  • A, or Arbitrary, lights are the most common bulb. These are used in most households and show light in all directions.
  • Tube shaped bulbs allow for necessary length to be folded into a compact shape. They are also known as spiral or twist.


The size of a light bulb requires a little math to be done. In the US, light bulb sizes are shown in 1/8ths of an inch. So, if you needed an MR16 bulb, this would be a Multifaceted Reflector that has a 2 inch diameter. It has 16 1/8ths which is equal to 16/8th or 2 inches.

Here is a helpful page that shows the sizes and types of light bulbs.

This is a lot to take into account and can get quite confusing. It’s best to consult with a professional electrician who is used to handling all types of situations. Give The Electric Connection a call to discuss all your light bulb needs. We will walk through the project with you and recommend the best lighting installation for your home.

What is airtight recessed lighting?

Airtight recessed lighting is just that – sealed recessed cans that stop the air from seeping out of the room. When recessed lighting is installed, holes must be made in order to get the cans in place. These holes are mostly closed up when the project is complete but some homeowners and businesses want that extra layer of security. Using an airtight recessed fixture will insure that the lighting will not interfere with the heating and cooling system.

What to do when recessed lighting will not work?

If your recessed lighting is not turning on, there are many reasons that could call this. An electrician will need to troubleshoot the problem to see what the cause is.

If you’re looking for alternatives to recessed lighting, there are many options that greatly depend on your space, budget, and overall look you want. Check out out lighting installation page to see the different types of lighting available for your home or give us a call to discuss your lighting needs!

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Recessed Lighting Installation Reviews