What Does IC-Rated Mean? – A Detailed Explanation (2023)

Given that lighting fixtures have developed quite a bit and are still progressing, you are probably wondering what does IC-Rated mean in lighting. More and more recessed lights are getting this label, and it isn’t easy to stay in trend and know every novelty that may concern your home.

To understand once and for all what IC-rated really means, continue reading this article and get rid of uncertainty when making choices for your home.

What does IC-rated mean?

IC is an abbreviation for ”insulation contact” and IC-rated actually means that the recessed downlight is safe to come in close contact with insulation.

Given that the walls and ceilings of most houses today are protected by insulation, knowing what does IC-rated mean is of great importance to you when installing recessed lights. Insulation has become indispensable when building personal homes or business buildings and is considered one of the most important factors in maintaining an optimal temperature.

In order to guarantee the safety of you and your home, always make sure that the lights you install near the insulation are IC-rated. 

However, there’s one risky quality that we have to watch out for when it comes to insulation, and that is flammability when coming into close contact with certain types of lights, especially halogen downlights.

Combining the two could result in a disaster such as a fire hazard. Halogen bulbs can reach extremely high temperatures, so it is not wise to install them in the infrastructure of your ceilings and roofs. Instead, opt for IC-rated LED bulbs.

How do I know if my can lights are IC-rated?

Your lights are IC-rated if the Underwriters Laboratory certification confirms it. You can find the Underwriters Laboratory sticker on the inside of your recessed lighting fixture. If your lights can come into contact with the insulation, the label will say “IC Rated,” otherwise it will say “Non-IC Rated.” 

It is important to strictly adhere to what is written and not put yourself or anyone at risk.

Can IC-rated lights be covered with insulation?

IC-rated lights can be covered with insulation which makes them the safest choice. For added safety, always consult a professional electrician. He can give you additional useful tips that may concern your particular house, especially if he is familiar with your installations or has worked on them himself.

IC-rated vs Fire rated

IC-rated lights will not allow a fire to start, while fire-rated lights will slow down and prevent the further spread of a fire that has already begun. Therefore, it could be said that IC-rated lights eliminate the cause, and fire-rated lights treat the effect.

In order to install the recessed lights you need to cut the hole. In case a fire occurs, it will crawl through that hole and engulf the rest of the house pretty quickly.

However, in the case of having fire-rated downlights, the chance of fire spreading is reduced. Their intumescent pads will expand if they reach high temperatures and thereby slow down the progress of the fire. In this way, you will be able to react faster and avoid a fatal disaster that would otherwise be irreparable.

Prevention is better than cure, that’s the fact, but the worst thing is to have neither of those two.

Final words

Now that you know what does IC-rated mean, you are fully aware that safety should be your priority. IC-rated lights are completely safe when it comes to insulation and thanks to them you will prevent any potential fire hazard caused by your recessed lights. 

For any further specific queries, changes, and uncertainties regarding your electricity, recessed lights, and insulation, contact a licensed electrician or insulation installers who can visit your home and check your installations.

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