About 10 years ago I had six recessed halogen lights installed in a second story room with an attic above. This is the product they installed:

can label

I would like to replace each of these these with an IC rated fixture housing an LED light, such as this from the Feit website LED Retrofit Kits. My reason for doing this is to have better heat insulation in the ceiling above the lights. So my questions are

  1. Can I remove the current HALO fixture from within the room without going up into the attic?
  2. What do I need to put in to replace it? Some kind of IC rated fixture I suppose but what?
  3. What else should I be aware of in attempting this project? I am familiar with simple electrical work but don't want to get up into the attic!


  • Thanks @amp-here. These are indeed old-work cans and I see the four black clips. Now I'm trying to figure out how to remove them!?!
    – user27906
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 17:55
  • Generally what I've done for old work cans for the clips is to use a flat head screw driver and wedge it under the clip toward the top of the clip, where it goes out of the can, and then pry the clip back. Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


If the fixtures were installed prior to the drywall ceiling install, they are going to be 'new work' type. Which means they have an apparatus which is nailed onto the sides of the rafters above the ceiling. Without crawling around up there in the attic and removing them from there, it could be challenging to remove them from below without damaging the ceiling drywall..

Get you a piece of 2x4' piece of 3/4" thick plywood and lay it across the top of the joists so that you can snuggle over close to the lights, to work on them, without having to perform trapeze belly balancing.

If the cans are 'old work' cans, meaning they were added after the ceiling was already in place, then they would be a lot easier to remove and YES could be removed from below. Remove your trim rings and pull the light bulb shroud down. Do you see four black clips in the inside of the can, equidistance apart? If so, you have an 'old work' can and those clips can be tapped out of their locking positions, to allow the can to be removed from the hole.

If you don't see those black apparatuses and your'e looking a just a slick walled, aluminum cylinder...you have 'new work' cans and a trip to the attic is in store.


I am also guessing that you could chip away enough drywall to expose two outer edges of the can. And then, apply a large, jawed, clamp to grab those exposed edges of the can and squeeze the two walls together.

Squeeze the edges of the can together until there is enough space to get half a pair of tin snips to fit between the can and the drywall. Then, use the tin snips to cut away at the can and remove the pieces until you can get to the bracing.

If using the snips is too hard, use an electric metal cutting attachment instead. Then cut the cross braces and pull the rest of the remaining housing through the same hole.

Or, you could also just cut a larger hole around the housing, then cut and remove it. Then, cover the larger hole with a larger trim kit.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming! Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:34
  • Removing cans this way is a lot of work, messy and destroys lots of drywall. Easier to use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade and just cut the braces off at the joists. Then all you have to do is patch where the blade cut the drywall. Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 18:55

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