Recessed Can Lights Blinking Off and On

Posted on: November 21st, 2011 by Glen 4 Comments

Today, one of the most commonly used lights in many rooms such as the living room, kitchen, dinning room and bathroom are recessed can lighting. This type of fixture is either non . What IC or in contact means is that the light fixture is rated to be installed in and around the insulation in your ceiling, attic or walls. The most common reason for your recessed light or recessed can light to be blinking on and off is that they have an internal heat sensor built in them that have preset limits for its usage. This is a safety device. When using a 75 watt rated fixture, the built-in thermally protected sensor will turn off the unit if a higher wattage light bulb is used causes over heating. The unit shuts itself off to allow it to cool down before a dangerous amount of heat can build up, which would result in the insulation to start smoldering and ultimately cause a fire that may not be detected until sever damage has occurred. As the thermal sensor in the recessed light cools down it will then relight the bulb giving you the blinking on and off sensation. The IC rated fixture does this so the safety issue is resolved before getting to the over heated stage eliminating a fire hazard. Fire hazard situation can occur when the non IC light fixture is installed in insulation without the proper IC protection box.

The proper way to check the rating limit of this type of fixture is to switch off the light making sure to allow ample time for the bulb to cool before touching it. Remove the light bulb and look inside the fixture to see if it has a bulb size guide still affixed to the housing. Make sure you follow the manufactures recommendation for that particular size, style and type of lamp. The style of trim ring may also come in to factor on the wattage of bulb. When properly installed this type of recessed lighting creates a special atmosphere by concentrating the light on a specific area or accenting a painting, art sculpture, plant or prized item. Make sure you call a reliable electrician if the problem continues. There may be other issues such as a loose connection somewhere in your wiring, junction box, switch or the thermal protector may have go bad. Also, see the article heading "Power and Lights are Flickering On and Off". © All rights reserved

4 Responses

  1. Emilio

    November 2, 2012

    thanks for this info… I even went to home depot and they did not know what I was talking about… lights off on on… they asked me to call my electrician… now I realized I put a higher voltage bulb…

    Reply
  2. vito adragna

    July 9, 2014

    Glenn’s assessment was spot on. I changed the bulb to a smaller wattage and the problem ceased, although the nomenclature in the can called for the higher wattage that was originally being used. This caused me to believe the fixture was bad. I replaced it and haven’t had a problem since.

    Reply
  3. David

    April 15, 2015

    Does it matter if I use a halogen bulb? Do halogen bulbs burn hotter and trigger the safety device? Thanks

    Reply
    • Glen

      April 15, 2015

      The proper way to check the rating limit of this type of fixture is to switch off the light making sure to allow ample time for the bulb to cool before touching it. Remove the light bulb and look inside the fixture to see if it has a bulb size guide still affixed to the housing. Make sure you follow the manufactures recommendation for that particular size, style and type of lamp. The style of trim ring may also come in to factor on the wattage of bulb.

      Reply

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