Recessed lights are a popular way for designers to add lighting to a space without having to install a protruding light fixture. The result often looks great, but these recessed lights may be a lot more costly than they first seem. It turns out that recessed lights are one of the biggest drags on HVAC efficiency a home may have.
Why Recessed Lights Reduce HVAC Efficiency
Installing recessed lighting involves cutting a rather large opening in the envelope of your home. As you can imagine, this opening means that your HVAC system has to work that much harder in order to keep up. The worst part is that recessed lighting produces a year-round problem. During the summer, hot, outside air leaks into your house, making it harder to cool, and during the winter, warm air leaks out, making it harder to keep your home heated.
Efficiency auditors who use thermal mapping to determine where air leaks are located often find that recessed lighting fixtures are the biggest source of air leaks a house may have, even worse than the doors and window in your home.
What can You do?
If you have insulation contact (IC) recessed light fixtures, it is safe for you to pile some extra insulation behind the fixture. Even if this is an option, though, the reduction in lost efficiency will likely be minimal. Caulking the the seals around your lights is another option, but this will likely make even less of a difference.
Short of replacing your recessed light fixtures with hanging light fixtures, there really isn't a lot you can do to except absorb the hit to your HVAC efficiency. With this being the case, it is especially important to make sure your HVAC system is as efficient as possible if you have recessed lighting in your home. Your HVAC system will need to be operating at 100% efficiency in order to make up for the air leaks that recessed lighting causes.
Contact An HVAC Specialist Today
While there isn't a lot that can be done to fix the efficiency drag that recessed lighting causes, modern energy star air conditioners are able to operate so efficiently that the cost impact of recessed lighting is made minimal. If you would like to learn more about how STAHL Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can replace your HVAC system with a brand new, completely efficient system, please contact us today.