Can You Install Recessed Lighting Without Housing?

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Recessed lighting is a fantastic way to brighten a room without taking up valuable floor space. Modern recessed lights use small tabs for support, and traditional pieces use housing for the same purpose. So, can you install recessed lighting without housing?

You can install recessed lighting without housing, and many people prefer to do so. Installing a traditional setup presents significant challenges, prompting customers to look for solutions. It’s also less expensive to install recessed lighting without housing.

This article examines whether installing recessed lighting requires the services of an electrician and whether you can install it without housing. I also investigate if recessed lighting uses more electricity.

Do You Need an Electrician to Install Recessed Lighting?


Recessed lighting gives your home a fantastic decorative appeal and is perfect for low ceilings. Installing them can be difficult, especially if you’re unfamiliar with electrical work.

So, it is best to employ the services of an electrician for installing recessed lighting. A certified electrician will know the local electrical codes and ensure that your installation meets them.

Electricians also have permits to avoid common mistakes like overloading and poor wiring. Altering your home’s electrical wires is serious work, and you risk electric shock of home fires if you do it incorrectly.

Mistakes are bound to happen if you take on the installation yourself without experience. Any error means you will have to remove them without damaging your ceiling. A professional will know how to install with little or no errors.

The labor cost per fixture is between $200 and $250, at $85 to $105 per hour. Typically, it takes about 2 ½ hours for each fixture. It may be longer if the electrician shifts obstacles or runs extra wiring.

An electrician is your best option to install recessed lighting. You can change the bulbs yourself or employ a handyperson to do it. There’s no permit requirement for the basic upkeep of your fixtures.

Can You Install Recessed Lighting Without Housing?

Recessed lights sit in hollow cavities within the ceiling instead of hanging low in the room. They are cheaper compared to regular light fixtures, and LED bulbs are better in this setting. These lights need a background supporting fixture since the light directs downwards.

Classic recessed lights are a two-piece setup, with the housing providing support. The housing rests above the ceiling, holding each part of the fixture in position. It’s the best anchor to give a recessed light placed in the ceiling.

The housing also connects with the power supply. It generally comes in various designs, making it suitable for different types of ceilings. Modern recessed lighting is a one-piece structure that uses tiny bits for support.

Installing many traditional recessed lights is tasking because of housing complications, and you may want something different. You can also install recessed lighting without housing, and it will still work perfectly.

To reiterate, a certified electrician can install it, or you may choose to handle it yourself. Before taking on this task, ensure you have good wiring knowledge and the required tools. Call a professional if you need to establish wiring connections from scratch or pass wires through joists.

Here are the DIY steps to install recessed lighting without housing:

Grab your tools

If you have a power supply nearby or an attic, you can install the lights using basic home supplies. The tools you need include the following:

  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • A pair of pliers or wire strippers
  • Drywall or hole saw
  • A pencil
  • A screwdriver

Draw the layout

Sketch a scaled-down version of the room, showing where you want to put the lights. Allow a distance of at least six feet between lights for symmetry and an effective wiring system.

If your space is smaller, let the distance be half the ceiling height. Next, take a tape measure and pencil, and

With a pencil and a tape measure, mark the exact location for the lights on the ceiling. If the positions satisfy you, cross-check these:

  • If your ceiling is insulated, keep a distance of at least 13 mm between combustible materials and fixtures. According to energy codes, you should also use an IC-rated fixture for this ceiling.
  • Locate and frame all studs in the working area with a stud finder. Mark the studs with a pencil, so your holes don’t overlap a joist.

Make the hole

First, switch off the breaker that supplies power to your work area. Using a hole saw, or drywall saw, cut a hole in the ceiling. If you use a drywall saw, ensure you tape a template to the ceiling to mark your light’s measurements.

The drywall saw depends on manual precision, so there’s the risk of error in getting the hole’s diameter. Take care to avoid snagging any wires in the ceiling space.

Wiring the light fixtures

Before installing any wiring for the lights, go over the national electrical codes. With the regulations in mind, do these:

  1. Extend a cable wire from a power source to the switch box. This is the wire you will connect to the light.
  2. Take the wire to the can’s location and throw it downwards, leaving enough inches suspended in the air. With sufficient inches in the air, you can continue your installation.
  3. Use the pliers or a pair of wire strippers to remove the wire’s insulation.
  4. Separate the junction box that the light comes with an open one of its sides using a screwdriver.
  5. Run cables through by color-coding with the connectors: black into black, ground into the ground, and white into white. The ground wires may have green insulation or be bare copper.
  6. Compress the notches connecting the two pieces to cork the box back into the light. Screw back the side of the box you removed earlier.

Test the structure and attach the hole

At this point, the light is suspended from the ceiling, and it’s connected to the junction box. Carry out a power test to see if the lights are working well—switch on the breaker. If the lights don’t come on, there’s been an error in the wiring process.

Place the box in the hole in the ceiling’s top, open the tabs on the fixture, and slide the box in. to ensure it’s firm in its cavity in the ceiling. Turn on the power and enjoy your brightly lit room!

Does Recessed Lighting Use More Electricity?

Recessed lighting with a 90-watt bulb uses up to 90 kWh per day – 2,700 kWh per month. Although electrical costs vary based on your location, American’s use 877 kWh per month, on average. In comparison, recessed lighting consumes more electricity.

The lower the bulb wattage, the less energy your recessed lighting will use. For example, a 40-watt bulb will use .04 kWh per hour. There are ways to make your recessed lighting more energy efficient, including:

  • Selecting Energy Star certified lightbulbs and fixtures.
  • Use LED bulbs instead of fluorescent bulbs because they use the least amount of energy. While standard incandescent bulbs are 60 to 100 watts, energy-efficient LED bulbs use about 7 watts, and they also last longer.
  • Put your recessed light on a dimmer to reduce your energy output.

Another way to reduce electrical costs is to insulate your recessed lighting cans and ensure air-tight light fixtures.

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