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This article describes recessed light (downlight, pot light) clearance distances or spacing from insulation or wood or other combustibles in building ceilings, other indoor spaces or outdoors in roofs, soffits, porches. This article series details guidelines for selecting and installing both exterior and interior lighting to meet the requirements for different building areas. Page top photo: this non-IC pot light improperly covered by insulation and contacting wood framing in this attic is a fire hazard.
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What is the minimum clearance distance between the top of the recessed light can and wood framing or sheathing or insulation?
Effects of bulb type & wattage on recessed light fixture clearance distances
LED bulbs generally run cooler than incandescent bulbs, so if your downlight label talks about a 60W incandescent bulb limit in the fixture, you may be able to use a brighter LED bulb.
Watch out: The wattage permitted in the downlight depends on the type of bulb (e.g. R vs PAR) and some LED bulbs themselves include a warning about the type of fixture into which they can be installed - some require cooling airflow, especially the higher wattage-equivalent models above 60W.
Watch out: typical DCIC-rated recessed lights or downlights are "dual purpose" - that is they can be used both with an air space and in enclosed, insulated ceilings, but when installed in an insulated enclosed space the lamp label includeswarning that the lamp rating wattage is reduced, often by half as you can see in the label in our photo.
Effects of light location on recessed light fixture clearance distances
Watch out: also for just where you are installing a recessed light, as some locations such as closets carry additional rules about the minimum clearance distances between a light bulb or fixture and the nearest shelf edge or surface (12"). The definition of "closet" or "storage space" is included in the National Electrical code and needs to be consulted when determining the clearance distances for all types of lighting in those locations. Here are some supporting code citations from the National Electrical Code: 
We discuss the spacing requirements for recessed lights and related details at
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