I just installed a Halo 5" IC remodel recessed can with the 5000P open trim. I installed a 15W R30 CFL bulb, and it hangs down about an inch below the trim. Not very recessed! I have the trim configured properly for R30.

I'd like a bulb that won't hang down past the trim, but produce the same amount of light. Will a PAR30 50W halogen do the trick?

Is there something else I'm missing?

  • CFL bulbs in recessed, unventilated cans overheat their ballasts and suffer from short life spans Jan 12, 2013 at 2:08
  • @FiascoLabs: Good point. Check the labelling. Some older CFLs also had preferred orientations and didn't like operating with their base pointing up. Even some LED bulbs are sensitive enough to heat to object to enclosed lamps -- which is why my office's globe fixture is using a Cree 60W-equivalent bulb (which doesn't have that limitation) rather than their 75W- or 100W-equivalents (which do).
    – keshlam
    Aug 26, 2014 at 19:30

5 Answers 5


I have those exact cans and they are adjustable. Take out the bulb and remove the trim. Inside you will see two or three wing nuts. Loosen these and raise the level of base to the desired location. If the base is raised all the way up, then indeed your bulbs are too long for the trim you have selected.

Also note that every trim adds a different depth as well. Trims like eyeball sockets are much deeper and may solve your problem. I suspect yours is a flush mount one, and thus the distance to the base is shorter.

  • Thanks, I got the open trim which shouldn't be a problem. I also adjusted the trim for R30 which was the uppermost position. The bulb still hung down out of the trim...but I think that's how R30 is supposed to look maybe...it gave great coverage, I just didn't like the looks of it.
    – Boden
    Jan 26, 2011 at 5:21
  • I'm going to accept your answer, but here are the specifics of what I learned. 1) The trim makes a lot of difference. An open trim from Halo is much shallower than their baffle trim, 2) R30 is a much longer bulb than PAR30, PAR30L, or BR30. 3) PAR30 CFL bulbs do exist, but are low output and still slightly larger than halogen. So, if you're going to use Halo open trim, you need to go with halogen PAR30 if you don't want the bulb to stick out past the trim. If you're going to use the baffle trim (which I think is better anyhow), an R30 CFL will be ok.
    – Boden
    Jan 27, 2011 at 20:01

To be truthful, I'm not sure about the exact model you are using, but several of the Halo recessed cans have adjustable sockets. Look up inside and determine if the socket assembly is fixed by a couple of thumb screws on a slide rail. If so you can loosen them and set the bulb socket deeper into the fixture. Usually a Par 30 bulb is perfect for these types of fixtures. I do think however, some of the CFL's are longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs because of the elongated ballast neck, especially on some of the cheaper brands. When you go to the store, take the bulbs out of the package and compare the overall length.

  • Ok, so most of the CFL bulbs I found at the wattage I was looking for were R30, which are very large (like > 5" long). There were some shorter PAR30 CFLs, but only from one brand and they were still longer than the PAR30L halogen bulb I ended up buying today. Only problem now is that the PAR30L halogen, while a "flood" lamp, doesn't "flood" nearly as well as the R30 CFL bulb that hung down out of the fixture (only the bottom of the bulb hung down). So the question is, then, do I like the "atomosphere" of the PAR30 halogen, or the light of the R30 CFL.
    – Boden
    Jan 26, 2011 at 5:24

They make shorter CFLs. This is one of the down sides of CFLs, that I think a lot of people run into. enter image description here

I know in my house they hang out of many fixtures, and I have some missing globes on ceiling fans because the bulbs just won't allow the globe to be attached. I guess I'll have to wait 7-10 years till the bulbs die to fix the problem.

  • check out the new LCD's. Jan 26, 2011 at 0:33
  • I found a shorter CFL, but it was still longer than its halogen sister. The LEDs are real tiny, but $20-40.
    – Boden
    Jan 26, 2011 at 5:26
  • Be careful, I picked up some of those short CFLs for a similar installation only to find out that the directions say not to use them in enclosed and mostly enclosed (can) installations. I've read elsewhere that CFLs in cans tend to burn out real fast due to overheating, so I'd be hesitant to install them. Jan 11, 2013 at 18:04

You might look for incandescent bulbs of the proper type. Last time I tried to buy some bulbs for one of my fixtures I noticed the CFL version was too long, and I had to go back and round up incandescent versions.

  • 1
    Yep, I went with a halogen in this case. Thanks!
    – Boden
    Jan 26, 2011 at 5:27

You can go for LED bulbs which have many benefits. LED lights are the best light sources in terms of durability, energy efficiency and color quality. And they are very compact and low profile so they can fit your situation.

  • LED bulbs also get an extra efficiency advantage in recessed cans because they're directional; all of the light goes down, without the sides of the fixture absorbing some of it.
    – Zhentar
    Aug 26, 2014 at 15:16

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