I recently moved into a new home, and I was replacing a light bulb when I found this after removing the glass cover. ceiling light fixture with insulation

Now, I don't know much about codes and regulations, and I'm new to working on my own home, but this screams "fire hazard" to me, so I want more input before I install a bulb and continue to use this. Is this okay to have insulation next to something that gets hot? Why is/isn't it?

  • 6
    glass does not burn if you are worried about the fiberglass insulation
    – jsotola
    Aug 16 '20 at 1:40
  • that doesn't look stock. but the globes are less powerful than the max so it's probably not getting too hot for the expased wiring.
    – Jasen
    Aug 16 '20 at 1:44
  • 3
    @Jasen I've replaced old fixtures in my house that had exactly that kind of insulation in them, and I've actually installed a couple of newer ones with exactly that kind of insulation. I'm 99.99% confident it's stock.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 16 '20 at 12:26
  • My only concern would be that the stuff has been pulled out. You need to press it back into place somehow.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 16 '20 at 17:17
  • 1
    FYI, with that sort of light you will need premium LED bulbs rated for enclosed fixtures, I have a similar (identical?) one in my apartment and overheated/killed several sets of CFLs before understanding what the problem is. Since then I've had a set of Cree bulbs in that look like new when I checked on them a few minutes ago. Aug 17 '20 at 1:56

This is a good question - seeing some insulation in your light fixture can be a bit of a shock.

Think about it, though. Those incandescent bulbs are inside a glass globe. One of the best features of an incandescent bulb is its ability to turn electricity into heat. What's that heat going to do when it's trapped inside the globe - it's going to melt the wiring or catch the ceiling on fire.

The silver reflective foil reflects heat and light away from the ceiling material and the insulation helps keep whatever heat doesn't get reflected from moving through and melting your wire's insulation which could result in a short and the whole house getting really hot and a visit from the fire department.

TL:DR; Yes, that insulation should be there - it's for your safety.

  • That makes sense. Thanks so much! Aug 16 '20 at 1:29
  • 5
    Never exceed the wattage indicated on the sockets. +1
    – JACK
    Aug 16 '20 at 1:35
  • 2
    Is this a regional thing? In the UK I can't recall ever seeing insulation (or reflective foil) inside a light fitting. (Of course, incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dinosaur now, and LED bulbs in particular don't get anywhere near as hot. But even back before CFLs…)
    – gidds
    Aug 16 '20 at 17:41
  • 1
    It's reasonably common in the US, @gidds. Note how small the base of light is - there's not a lot of space/material to dissipate heat, and the fact that this fixture is designed with a glass globe, it's just a little greenhouse with its own built-in heating source. This type of simple, little fixture usually has insulation in it.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 16 '20 at 22:08
  • 2
    @gidds, I have seen (installed) ceiling fixtures where the fiberglass insulation is hidden. Take the glass cover off, and all you see is sheet metal, but there's a hidden space, filled with fiberglass, between the sheet metal and the ceiling. I'm actually a bit surprised to see the exposed fiberglass and the foil. Usually I only see that in fixtures that hold compact halogen bulbs. Aug 16 '20 at 23:05

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