Installing Recessed Lighting

9 August 2018

Recessed Light Fitting With LED
Recessed Light Fitting With LED
How to install recessed lighting:
  • Determine appropriate ‘recess’ locations using stud finder
  • Use drill attachment to cut circular hole(s)
  • Install surface sockets near to hole(s)
  • Install housing(s) where applicable*
  • Insert fixture & connect to socket
*Depending on the style of recessed lighting, the installation of a separate housing may be required - once screwed into place, the housing insulates the lighting module from any potential contact with cavity or attic insulation (See IC Ratings below). The housing also contains the attachment mechanism by which the lighting module is fixed in place. Fixing the lighting module in place - most recessed lighting modules do not come with a separate housing. Instead, the majority come with sprung clips that are flat to the housing. In order to fix the lighting module in place, the clips should be raised into a vertical position and held in place as the module is inserted into the recess. Once inside, the clips will spring back into position, hitting the inside of the ceiling and holding the module in place.

Recessed Lighting - Why Use Surface Sockets?

Most recessed lighting fixtures come complete with an attached power cord and 3-pin plug. Surface sockets provide a means of powering recessed lighting fixtures by placing a concealed socket close to the fixing. This socket feeds into the main power supply, removing the necessity to hardwire each individual lighting fixture into the fuse box. This also allows for a much faster and easier means of changing between lighting fixtures. Do I need to hire an electrician? Areas of the home that are likely to come into contact with water are divided into a three tier zone system. Zone one, for example, is likely to be submerged in water and therefore requires the insulation of fully insulated recessed lighting (see IP ratings below). Zones 2 & 3 are progressively less likely to come into contact with water. If there is any uncertainty, always consult an expert - an electrician will ensure all zonal wiring regulations are followed.

Before Installing Downlights

Prior to installing downlights, due attention must be paid to several major planning considerations. This will ensure that task completion is achieved with minimal disruption. Considerations include:
  • IC Rating IC stands for Insulation Contact. IC rated products are suitable for contact with housing elements such as cavity insulation. Where a downlight is expected to be located in direct contact with insulation, the lighting module housing must be IC rated.
  • IP Rating IP stands for Ingress Progression. This two number rating system shows the level of protection against solid objects (first number) and liquids (second number). This rating must be taken into account where lights are to be placed in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and patios.
  • Ground Floor or Top Floor? An important early consideration when planning to install recessed lighting is that of ground level ceilings compared to upper level ceilings. Where recessed lighting is to be installed at a ground floor level (e.g. kitchen ceiling with rooms above), floor boards from the level above must be removed and holes must be drilled through all relevant joists to allow for cabling. This is not a consideration where lighting is installed in top floor ceilings with attic access.