How to Tell Whether Your Recessed Lighting is IC Rated

Recessed lighting is a great way to give your home a sleek and modern feel. However, if your lighting fixture isn’t IC rated, it poses a major fire risk. If you have recessed lighting in your home, ensure your safety by checking to make sure that it’s IC rated — here’s how to do this.

How to Tell If Recessed Lighting is IC Rated

To determine whether your recessed lighting fixture is IC rated, you’ll need to remove the trim and lightbulb, and take a look at the inner bulb fixture itself. Once you do some digging, you should have a pretty good sense of whether your fixture is IC rated.

There are a few different things that you can check to determine if your lighting fixture is IC rated. Your first step is to examine the lighting fixture. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the trim around the lighting fixture
  2. Remove the lightbulb from the fixture
  3. Use a flashlight to look inside the inner bulb fixture on your ceiling

Now you’re ready to investigate! Here’s how to tell whether your recessed lighting fixture is IC rated:

Read the label

Look for the label on the inner chamber of your lighting fixture. Most IC-rated fixtures have the letters “IC” in the model number, and non-IC rated ones usually say “NON-IC”. The label will also tell you the maximum wattage that the light fixture can allow.

If your fixture doesn’t have a label, have no fear. There are still ways that you can figure out whether your recessed lighting is IC rated.

Look for holes and slits

If there are holes or slits on the side of the fixture, chances are it’s not IC-rated. Older recessed lighting fixtures had holes in them to help air leak out in order to prevent the fixture from overheating. Manufacturers of these older models said that they should never be covered with insulation since this can cause fires.

Check the Color

If you’re still not sure whether your fixture is IC-rated or not, you can check its colour. Usually, non-IC rated lighting fixtures are white, while IC rated fixtures are silver.

While this method can help you gauge whether your lighting fixture is IC-rated, it’s not foolproof. If in doubt, have a professional come in to help you determine whether your lighting fixture is IC-rated.

If your lighting fixture isn’t IC rated, it’s important to replace it right away — here’s why.

Why do Recessed Lights Need to be IC Rated?

Non-IC rated recessed lighting poses a major fire risk. Recessed lighting is unique because the bulbs are held within an enclosed space. If the lightbulb overheats, the recessed lighting fixture can leak hot air. The hot air coming from the light fixture can then cause your home’s insulation to catch on fire.

If your recessed lighting fixture is covered with insulation and isn’t IC rated, this is a major fire risk. Luckily, there’s a solution — IC rated fixtures.

What does IC Rating mean?

Lights with Hard To Find Wattage

IC (insulated contact) rated recessed lights can be safely used without the risk of overheating, even if they’re covered by insulation.

IC rated fixtures will turn off if the unit overheats, preventing hot air from spreading to the insulation. Once the unit cools down, it will turn back on automatically.

Most IC rated recessed lights are rated for 75 watts, to a maximum of 100 watts. As long as you don’t go above the wattage limit, IC rated lights will reduce the risk of fires.Do LED recessed lights need to be IC rated?

Even though they run cooler than other lightbulbs, LED recessed lights do still need to be IC rated.

While LED bulbs produce significantly less heat than incandescent ones, they still do produce heat. LED lights stay cool by pulling the heat away via a heat sink at the base of the bulb. The heat then dissipates into the air, which keeps the bulb itself cool.

The thing is that if you put an LED bulb in an enclosed space, the hot air will have nowhere to go. If the heat is trapped in the enclosed space of a recessed lighting fixture, you have a problem. Just like any other sort of recessed lighting bulb, non-IC rated LED recessed lights can lead to fires.Are LED recessed lights safe?

So long as your lighting fixture is IC-rated, LED bulbs are completely safe. LED bulbs are one of the most common types of bulbs that people choose for recessed lighting.

That said, it’s important to remember that if your lighting fixture isn’t IC rated, it can still cause a fire — regardless of whether you use LED bulbs. Non-IC rated lights can overheat, and the heat can cause surrounding insulation to catch on fire.


Recessed lighting is a great way to make any room feel sleek and modern, making it a popular choice for homeowners. However, it does come with its risks.

Non-IC rated recessed lights are a major fire hazard, which is why it’s so important to check the lights in your home. Since the lightbulb is in an enclosed space, it can overheat and cause the surrounding insulation to catch on fire.

IC rated recessed lights shut off automatically if they begin to overheat, which greatly reduces the risk of fires and allows you to use your lights safely.

If you have recessed lighting in your home, take precautions and check to see whether it’s IC rated. I hope that this guide has convinced you of the importance of IC rated recessed lighting, and that it will help you figure out whether your lights are IC rated.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!