How to Deal With Heavy Recessed Can Lights
Heavy transformers could spur the downfall of remodel recessed cans, unless you follow the advice of lighting expert Randall Whitehead, IALD.
Take a look at the "leg" located below the transformer. It helps keep the housing level in the ceiling. Photo by Dennis Anderson.
Randall, while installing a remodel-type recessed can, I noticed that the transformer is very heavy. The only support for the housing is a few clips. Will this cause the housing to pull out of the drywall over time?
Although remodel cans are a great idea, they are not all created equal. The basic concept is that you are able to cut a hole in the ceiling that is the same diameter as the housing. Through this hole you can feed the transformer, normally affixed to an armature, which has the housing attached to the other end of the arm. This configuration is true of most of the 4-, 5- and 6-inch diameter cans that are available on the market. Regarding the weight issue, it depends on whose remodel fixture you use. With many of the remodel cans out there on the market, you are stuck with a heavy transformer hanging off the end of the arm, which can stress the clips that hold the housing to the sheetrock. Better-designed remodel fixtures, such as the Halo H1499RT and the Lucifer DHM, have transformers on armatures like the rest, but they also have leg-like supports that counterbalance the transformer so that the weight is not carried by the housing. Go to (Halo’s parent company) or visit to see examples of what I am referring to. If the fixture you’re using doesn’t have such a device built in, put some sort of blocking under the transformer so that it lessens the possibility of torque. Electricians tell me that stacking pieces of sheetrock works well, or perhaps you could use a nice, firm block of fruitcake. After all, I am a strong advocate of creative reuse.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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