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DGR,IABD
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a lot of requests lately from GC to put recessed cans in the eaves and overhangs of new homes. This looks super slick at night. The last one I did had face stone on certain parts of the home, and it had cans in the soffit right over where the face stone feature areas were. Maaaaan... at night it looks really high classs. I finished ruffing one a month or so ago that had over 30 recessed cans in various places in the soffits and overhangs (really cut up roof lines). I can't wait till that one's done to look at it at night. While this looks super nice, I have almost as much time wrapped up in installing and ruffing cans in the overhangs as it takes to ruff wire the entire rest of the dwelling otherwise. It does add to the electrical cost, but looks so cool. Anyone else seen this/doing this in your area? I'd have never really suggested it on my own, but I am getting lots of requests for it the past year or two. I'm a little surprised, since I'm generally ahead of the curve on trends like this. I missed this one, but I'm still getting the benefit.
 

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I see more and more of it around here - both in new homes and homeowners adding it to older homes that have substantial soffits. In fact, I'm wanting to add some cans in the soffit in front of my slab on grade screened in porch but haven't yet figured out how to mount them (the soffit is perforated vinyl material hung beneath the open roof framing. A question for you: should I be looking for 'weather rated' fixtures?
 

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DGR,IABD
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
PipeGuy said:
A question for you: should I be looking for 'weather rated' fixtures?
Nope... no such thing. All cans are listed as being suitable for a damp location, which is what under a soffit is. You don't even need the "wet" trim (with the glass), unless it rains upside down in your area. I have used old work cans installed in aluminium soffit, but never in vinyl soffit. It would get too saggy. Sometimes an older home had vinyl installed over the old plywood, which would be okay for old work cans, but this isn't your situation. You'd really need to unzip a section of soffit and install new work cans between the rafters/rafter tails and reinstall the soffit. Pretty easy to do with vinyl. If your porch is pretty big, you might be able to mount the new work cans from above from inside the attic. I'm not sure how big of a guy you are and how close to the edge of the roof you want to mount the cans. Just a thought.

Be advised that different manufacturers have different top clearances over the can. It's pretty easy to install a can in the overhangs and have the top of the can butted tight up against the plywood roof sheathing if you're not careful. I've had best luck (in old work situations) installing the 4" cans rather than the 6" cans. They do make a 6" short squat can, but I've had better luck using 4" cans in old work. I save the 6" short cans (I call them pancake cans) for new work, where I can see exactly everthing that will be in my road so that I can space them out evenly.
 

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Use 'IC' cans and a mimimum clearance of 1/2", - - and like md says, you need to detach the vinyl for a proper 'install'.
 

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Google 'marine lighting' and you will find a variety of lights that you'll never find at the box stores. LED's are the new hot ticket. Most of what you will find will be weatherproof at least. Lots of low voltage stuff too.

Every once in a while we do get rain on our soffits. 3 times last Sept.
 

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DGR,IABD
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Teetorbilt said:
Google 'marine lighting' and you will find a variety of lights that you'll never find at the box stores. LED's are the new hot ticket. Most of what you will find will be weatherproof at least. Lots of low voltage stuff too.

Every once in a while we do get rain on our soffits. 3 times last Sept.
If you get water up in your soffits, you've got bigger issues that what type of fixture to use.

The trouble with me (as an EC) using marine fixtures in the home is the lack of the UL listing for such a use. I will grant that these fixtures often have some sort of listing who's investigation in all likelihood makes them exceedingly suitable for use in a dwelling, but I can't use them. It just opens me up to too much liability if something does go wrong. If an individual wanted to use them in his or her home, I'd fully support that.

From the 2005 UL General Info Guide:
The basic standard used to investigate products in this category is UL 1149, "Low Voltage Marine Lighting Fixtures."
IGVH-
These fixtures are incandescent and fluorescent lamp types rated 36 V or less, ac or dc intended for use aboard vesselssupplied by an external transformer, battery, converter or similar power supply source and are intended for installation in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, the applicable United States Coast Guard Regulations, the applicable requirements of the American Boat and Yacht Council Inc. and/or the Standard of the National Fire Protection Association for Motor Craft, NFPA 302.

These fixtures are intended for surface or recessed mounting, marked "Inside Type," "Inside Drip-Proof Type" or "Outside Type" as defined under the main guide (IGQY) except all "Outside Type" are considered to be "Outside Type (Salt Water)." Fixtures limited to wall mounting are marked "Wall Mount Only" unless so constructed that they are obviously intended for wall mounting.

These fixtures are not evaluated for use in hazardous locations, or for use in areas requiring ignition protected equipment unless marked "Ignition Protected."
 

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md, I understand your position and it's a shame that there is not some sort of code crossover.
A marine light is subject to vibration, general boat motion and is more than likely to get wet (inside or out) at some time. Power consumption and heat proximity is always an issue on boats as well. I use them all of the time in my jobs.
Rich, the new LED's can be literally blinding, they are now using them in combat lights. Most are good for around 10,000 hrs. and come in a variety of colors and intensities. They also are low voltage and most operate on milliamps.
 

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Soffit lighting is common in commercial. But is a sticker for inspections.
 

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Marc, I have them in my house and I do a few here and there. I do a lot of recessed on porches as well. I totally agree with the look, I really like it. That's why I did it in front of my garage door. I would like to do several more in front and eliminate the side wall light, although it is a nice one. I do like the effect of the recessed.



But is a sticker for inspections.
GC, I'm not sure what you mean by this.
 

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Did you dim them or keep them at full brightness?
 

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DGR,IABD
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
jbfan said:
Did you dim them or keep them at full brightness?
Not sure who you're asking, but I'll answer anyhow...

If dimming is desired and you have more than about 6 cans on the circuit, you really should be using a dimmer with the big heat sink type cover plate. As a result, I put the switch for any soffit recessed lights in it's own single gang box, and not in a multigang box with other switches. This way, if dimming is later determined to be a requirement, a good quality heavy duty dimmer can be added without any dimensional interfearance with neighboring switches.

I should add that the placement of dimmers is one of the age old thorns in an electrician's side. The homeowner seldom knows or states ahead of time what they'd like on dimmers. Normally, I'll install regular switches in everything and let them get used to things for a spell. Then I can come back on a change order or service call and put dimmers where needed. Sometimes people know exactly what all they'd like on dimmers, but that's not the norm in my experience.
 
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