Which Recessed Lights Can Be Used in Damp Areas?


Recessed lighting can be found just about anywhere in and around the home. The majority of recessed lights are fine for damp locations; however, the cover needs to be rated for damp or wet locations. The only requirement is that the damp or wet location cover is on the list of approved trims, as printed inside on the rough of the recessed light can. Most damp- or wet-rated covers come with a rubber gasket that protects the light from getting water inside of it, as well as being made of non-conductive materials.

Listed Trims for Rough In Housings

  • When shopping for a rough in can housing, look inside of the rough in can where the bulb is installed. Somewhere around the curved inside of the can will be a sticker with a list of bulb types and wattages that are acceptable for the housing, as well as a list of trim covers that are approved for that brand and model recessed can. Armed with the brand and model number, you can also look up which wet or damp cover trims can be used for that housing in their brands trim catalog.

California Title 24 Requirements

  • All recessed cans installed in remodels, new construction or new additions in California are required to meet Title 24's requirements. Any recessed lighting can that is installed in a ceiling with insulation is required to be an insulation contact (IC)-rated can allowing insulation to be placed directly over the fixtures housing. The housing of the fixture is also required to be air tight so that conditioned air will not escape into the non-conditioned attic or ceiling and non-conditioned air cannot get into conditioned areas.

Juno Brand Housings and Trims

  • Juno brand recessed light can housings that will work with their wet location trims can be IC, non-IC, remodel non IC and Air-Loc or non-Air-Loc type housings. There are wet location trims available for most sizes of Juno recessed light cans. See resource 1 for a list of Juno housings and trims.

Halo Brand Housings and Trims

  • Halo brand wet location trims, and compatible housings, range from three to nine inches. They have a wide range of trims and housings to chose from. There are damp/wet location trims that work with IC, non-IC, Air-Tite and non Air-Tite housings. See resource 2 for a list of housings and trims.

Best Choice For All Applications

  • The IC and air tight-rated recessed light cans are the best type of recessed light cans to use for any application. The IC rating allows the housing to be installed into insulated ceilings and attics without having to keep the insulation three inches away from the housing. The air tight-rated cans will not allow conditioned air into the non-conditioned ceiling or attic, as well as prevent unconditioned attic and ceiling air to enter the conditioned areas. California's title 24 calls for these types of housings while all other states are bound by the standard National Electrical Code, NEC, requirements. Any recessed can can be used for damp/wet locations provided you use a damp/wet location trim listed on the housing its installed into.

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