Question: Do I Need Housing for New, Recessed LED Lights?
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I’m specifying recessed lighting for a home remodel using led lights that don’t have housing. They’re RAB 4″ gimbal lights and are IC-rated and have a driver box. Our electrician says we need lights with housings to pass inspections. I’m guessing he normally uses housings with exposed studs to indicate where the lights will go.

Question from Ryan

For these lights without a housing, can he just mount the driver box to show location for inspections and leave the connector (Romex cable with twist lock connector) dangling?

If that works, what’s a good way to show the drywall guys where to cut the holes for the lights? Thanks!

LED Lighting projects are very popular because they add so much to your home.

So, to help me answer that question, I have Jason Medich. You can go to my website. Jason is in our Directory of Contractors. He’s a great electrician. Otherwise, he would not be one of our Trusted Pros. We only have qualified, quality contractors on our website.

Jason, welcome to the show.

That is a mouthful, Jason. Help me out. Get me through this.

Jason: So some inspectors aren’t accustomed to seeing this. This project would meet code as long as the wire is terminated, and the termination box becomes the housing once the LED lights are installed. Remember, the line must be stapled near the location where it’s going. And then, you would have a layout where you know where the lights are supposed to go. That’s where your drywaller cuts the holes.

Todd: Now, we also have to be careful of where our rafters are up there, correct? We don’t want to put a junction box up where there’s a (two-by-four), because you’d have to cut the (2×4), or (2×6), or even a (2×8). So, it’s best to get up in the attic and locate, or use a stud-finder to find out where those rafters are, correct?

Jason: Correct. Or, if you’re framing your project before the drywall goes up you can measure it out. “I want to go 4-foot off this wall, and 8-foot off that wall.”

Todd: And make it all symmetric. Exactly. That’s a good thing..

LED lights are being installed in many projects.

Here are some benefits:

  • LEDs are very economical.
  • They are a very clean light source.
  • They come in a variety of colors, depending on what the room is set up for.
  • These lights are very interchangeable.
Recessed LED Lights

For example, if you change your space you can make the lights brighter or darker. Or if you’ve changed your paint color, a blue light might look better than the yellow light would.

LEDs are very flexible.

Todd: And I’m assuming LED Lights use less energy to run.

Jason: Oh, yeah.

Todd: And what’s the lifespan of an LED?

Jason:  These lights can last about about 20 years.

Todd: 20 years?

Jason: 20 years in a three hour-per-day capacity. They have anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000-hour life span.

Todd: Wow, that is unbelievable. And, are they easy for the homeowner to install?

Jason: Yes. Most fixtures now, you can interchange with an LED…

Todd: …Without having to tear out drywall out, or any of that.

Jason: There are some canned lights, especially where you have the four-pin florescent.

I come across people all the time that say. “Hey, you know, they’re telling me I need to tear out the drywall.” I say, “you know, LED Lights can be retrofitted”.

Jason Medich, Owner of Medich Electric

Most of the time, it’s best to have an electrician do it, but it is possible to bypass the ballast and rewire the fixture for LED without having to tear the drywall down.

Todd: When you put these lights in you have to have some knowledge, correct? I mean, you just can’t wake up one day and say hey, I’m going to go to my local box store and I’m going to put these in. Your advice, and my advice always is…

When in Doubt, Hire it Out

Jason: Exactly. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, electricity can cause fires. Electricity can severely injure you if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, yes, get someone who does.

Todd: Absolutely. We’ve been talking to Jason Medich. Medich Electric. He is the man who answered this question.

If you want to get a hold of Jason, give them a call at 530-492-4777, or go to my website AskTheContractors.com. He’s right there front and center to answer your questions or to give you an estimate on a job.  

Like we said, do not try to do it yourself. Especially when it comes to electrical.

“I tell people that you like barbecuing but you don’t want to be the barbecue.”

Todd Bird, Host of Ask The Contractors

Now, I’m going to tell you a little story about canned lighting…


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Come on; it doesn’t hurt to ask. Get that Home Improvement project done, especially as a lot of us are staying at home. Get those projects done around the house. It’s a good time to call an electrician, a plumber, a roofer, any of these. A painter! Painters are busy right now. So, it’s a good time to go to AskTheContractors.com and get those projects done.


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