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  1. #1
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
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    Default Can light into attic from garage

    Question are can light fire rated for the garage ceiling, no fire wall behind the lights

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    No Mike and the presence of can lights in a garage makes me think it was once a model home for a tract?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    First, ... (sigh) ... it is *NOT* a "fire rated" ceiling.

    It is simply "separation".

    Second, those do not required any "fire rating".

    From the 2006 IRC. (underlining is mine)
    - R309.1 Opening protection. Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.
    - - R309.1.1 Duct penetration.Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be constructed of a minimum No. 26 gage (0.48 mm) sheet steel or other approved material and shall have no openings into the garage.
    - - R309.1.2 Other penetrations. Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion.

    Now, if that is an "air tight" recessed fixture, does that qualify for use as "resist the free passage"? Or do they need to be caulked and sealed? And, if they need to be caulked and sealed, what type of caulk/sealant needs to be used?

    Remember, that *is not* a "fire resistant rated" ceiling.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Jerry P

    "First, ... (sigh) ... it is *NOT* a "fire rated" ceiling."

    "sigh"

    Oh boy, you feeling OK Jerry. He didn't wake you did he?

    Maybe, just maybe, he has not read your words of wit before


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    Cool Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Whether the code squarely addresses it or not, I would recommend at least an IC rated can light that is caulked in to the drywall. Non-IC rated fixture leak air like a sieve so they don't overheat and cause a fire. That's part of their 3" clearance to combustibles. They need to breathe.

    If you have a fire in the garage, it will travel through a non-IC fixture like......., well, General Patton's euphemism about a goose comes to mind.

    Remember, your inspection is not just codes but practical cocerns. Since you are not doing a "code inspection" but rather referring to them as a general reference, you can refer to general life safety and durability issues as well and should.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Non-IC rated fixture leak air like a sieve so they don't overheat and cause a fire.
    Bob,

    IC rated non-air-tight cans also leak *a lot* of air too, which is why they came out with the air-tight recessed fixtures. IC rated non-air-tight recessed fixtures worked fine, except that they allowed a lot of air (energy) to pass through them and into the attic. The air-tight recessed fixtures stopped that. You can have air-tight non-IC rated fixtures too.

    Remember, your inspection is not just codes but practical cocerns. Since you are not doing a "code inspection" but rather referring to them as a general reference, you can refer to general life safety and durability issues as well and should.
    Correct.

    Bob, I have a question for you (you know this fire stuff much better than I do): Is smoke considered a "product of combustion"?

    As in "to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion".

    If yes, and to me it is, then caulking/sealing the fixture to the drywall does not have to be done so much with intumescent caulk to resist fire, but with a suitable caulk to resist "cold smoke" (as in smoke without the heat of fire).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    There were 8 lights in the ceiling with no caulking at all, looks loke maybe there was a office of some sort, painted the walls and ceiling added some nice windows too.


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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    and that faux-finish paint job is some of the worst I've seen.

    rick


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    Cool Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Thanks Jerry- yes, I meant the newer "air tight" variant. Regardless whether in the garage or main body of the house, you don't want leaks in the thermal envelope of the house.

    Yes, smoke is a 'product of combustion'--heat, light, carbon dioxide and water vapor are guaranteed products plus smoke, CO, NOx, etc. can be depending upon how close to stoichiometric combustion is--the three Ts: time, temp. turbulence.

    Intumescent caulks need two opposiing surfaces to really work. In the open, it could puff up and actually break the seal with just a little pressure from the fire zone. For this purpose, I would think an ordinary acrylic latex painter's caulk would suffice. Forget the fire thought and think just air. They never should have mentioned the word 'fire'.
    HTH,

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Intumescent caulks need two opposiing surfaces to really work. In the open, it could puff up and actually break the seal with just a little pressure from the fire zone. For this purpose, I would think an ordinary acrylic latex painter's caulk would suffice.
    That is what I thought to, except ...

    Forget the fire thought and think just air. They never should have mentioned the word 'fire'.
    They had to, not only do they want to stop the draft (the method of stopping the smoke), but they want to stop the "free passage" of flame too. I.e., when a fire starts, and before pressure builds much at all, the flames themselves are not desirable to be allowed to pass through.

    Now, intumescent caulk swells up (puffs up) under heat, but simple regular caulk will also stop "the free passage of" flame ... for a short duration, then it melts or burns out, but that gets beyond "the free passage of", right?

    Thus, there is no need to "fire caulk" around the light fixture, only to "caulk and seal" around it. To me, that is more like "draftstopping" than "firestopping".

    Like with a corridor wall in a condominium building: too many penetrations and/or too large of penetrations and the penetrations need to be protected with (as an example) putty pads covering electrical boxes. However, that wall also needs to be a smoke barrier, which means that all penetrations need to be sealed around at the gypsum board to seal out the smoke.

    The smoke test uses "cold smoke", either produced by a smoke machine or by smoke producing 'bombs' ignited and placed in a suitable can to contain them and allow the smoke to rise and fill the area.

    All the above said, penetrations through the 1/2" gypsum board ceiling (or wall) needs to be "caulked and sealed", and not with intumescent fire caulk, but with regular caulk, provided the person applying the caulk does a good job of applying the caulk between the trim flange of the recessed light housing and the ceiling (but not the flange of the trim, which needs to be able to be removable).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Exclamation Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Agreeed Jerry.
    Intumescents char, which insulates during a fire load, then become fragile and crumbles eventually. As the fire builds, the room can pressurize and blow away fragile caulkings looking for paths of least resistance but taking any available path.

    I guess my point is, until you are prepared to promulgate a code requiring some sort of fire rating to an 'assembly', then the word fire ought to stay out of that section. We all know air seal caulking will slow the movement of flames and smoke, which is all this section is requiring. Why not just leave it as 'air sealing' or as you stated, 'draftstopping' and be done with it? I hate that term 'firestop'. They should be called 'fire penetration containment devices'.

    Yes, lights need to be serviceable.

    I've seen foamboard boxes over non-IC cans with the 3" clearance. The foam was melting. They really need to clarify these cans need a 3" clearance but must also breathe. Putting a trash can over these lights can cause fires from the heat buildup even with a 3" clearance to combustibles.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Mike
    Was there habitable area over the garage? If so my original reply is fine, if not then I'd go with ec Jerry's answer along with Mr. Harperís observations. I made the common mistake of "assuming" the ceiling was a fire separation, which may be totally erroneous if thereís no habitable area above. With what you said about the number of can-lights and paint job Iíd bet Tedís last buck that that garage was the sales office for the tract of homes its located in. One more observation; Iíve seen the wiring of those temporary sales offices including the ceiling can-lights and it wasnít pretty. You may want to add a disclaimer on that garage ceiling in your inspection report if itís not too late?


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    I guess my point is, until you are prepared to promulgate a code requiring some sort of fire rating to an 'assembly', then the word fire ought to stay out of that section.
    I agree, and I am sure that the code writer agree, which is likely why they stated:
    - R309.1.2 Other penetrations. Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion.

    Staying specifically away from the word "fire", which brings with it "fire-resistance" ratings.

    We all know air seal caulking will slow the movement of flames and smoke, which is all this section is requiring. Why not just leave it as 'air sealing' or as you stated, 'draftstopping' and be done with it?
    Can't answer that as I was not asked to be present when that was discussed.

    I hate that term 'firestop'. They should be called 'fire penetration containment devices'.
    Because "firestopping" is shorter, easier, and more clearly understood?

    Firestopping is not a "fire penetration containment", maybe a "fire containment", but even that is a bit bulky and awkward.

    I've seen foamboard boxes over non-IC cans with the 3" clearance. The foam was melting. They really need to clarify these cans need a 3" clearance but must also breathe. Putting a trash can over these lights can cause fires from the heat buildup even with a 3" clearance to combustibles.
    That's in the listing and labeling, but in the code as well. The 3" clearance is a horizontal measurement, not a vertical measurement. You are supposed to keep the insulation back 3" horizontally from the non-IC can, for a height to the top of the insulation (however high that is).

    Here is the 2006 IRC code for that. (underlining is mine)

    - E3904.9 Recessed luminaire installation. Thermal insulation shall not be installed above a recessed luminaire or within 3 inches (76 mm) of the recessed luminaire’s enclosure, wiring compartment or ballast except where such luminaire is identified for contact with insulation, Type IC.


    Can "combustible material" be placed in contact with non-IC rated recessed fixtures? No, there is required to be at least 1/2" between the non-IC recessed light and the combustible material. (Except at the points of support.) Insulation board, combustible or not, is still "insulation" and must not be "above" the recessed light - see E3904.9 above.
    - E3904.8 Recessed luminaire clearance.A recessed luminaire that is not identified for contact with insulation shall have all recessed parts spaced at least 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) from combustible materials. The points of support and the finish trim parts at the opening in the ceiling or wall surface shall be permitted to be in contact with combustible materials. A recessed luminaire that is identified for contact with insulation, Type IC, shall be permitted to be in contact with combustible materials at recessed parts, points of support, and portions passing through the building structure and at finish trim parts at the opening in the ceiling or wall.

    Can "combustible material" be placed in contact with IC rated recessed fixtures? Yes.
    - E3904.8 Recessed luminaire clearance.A recessed luminaire that is not identified for contact with insulation shall have all recessed parts spaced at least 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) from combustible materials. The points of support and the finish trim parts at the opening in the ceiling or wall surface shall be permitted to be in contact with combustible materials. A recessed luminaire that is identified for contact with insulation, Type IC, shall be permitted to be in contact with combustible materials at recessed parts, points of support, and portions passing through the building structure and at finish trim parts at the opening in the ceiling or wall.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    looks like a fluorescent can to me. they are almost always icat rated in my travels. op didn't say. not required to be fire rated.


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    Default Re: Can light into attic from garage

    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    looks like a fluorescent can to me.

    Based on the shape of the reflector part of the trim, I suspect it is an incandescent recessed fixture with a compact fluorescent U lamp in it.

    Now that you have raised that issue, *is* the recessed fixture even listed and labeled for that lamp? Possibly (probably) not. But I did not want to go there.

    Recessed light fixtures are rated for lamps depending on style and wattage, and style affects the heat in the recessed housing as much as wattage does. A R lamp reflects most of its heat out with the light, an A lamp retains much of its heat within the housing. Over-lamping (and improper lamping) not only can cause fires, but over-lamping and improper lamping causes excessive heat build-up, overheating the conductors.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Exclamation Re: Can light into attic from garage

    There are airtight IC rated can lights that take incandescents then there are fluorescent fixtures. There are also fire rated IC air tight cans for use in fire rated ceilings to comply with IBC 712.4.1.1.1 & .2, which basically states you cannot reduce the rating of a fire rated assy. with penetrations. Some AHJs will allow special rated fire blankets over cans.

    All IC rated fixtures are supposed to have a thermal overload switch so if someone overlamps, it should shut off.

    In general, going from Non-IC to IC requires reducing the wattage, and thereby the heat. Another way is to make a can that takes quad fluoros with similar lumens but much less heat.

    FYI, I see NM cable all the time going into cans without any type of proper clamp or bushing. I investigated an unfriendly fire where the outer casing was removed for about 18" from the ends leaving individual insulated cables touching the rough knockouts. The insulation on all 27 cans were frayed. The fire was caused by one arcing to the fixture. They usually leave the cable lying loose on top of the fiberglass insulation. When someone moves the insulation, it saws through the cable insulation and eventually POW!

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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