The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), has published a new, free guide related to the installation of plastic pressure pipe materials in the vicinity of recessed lighting fixtures, also known as “pot lights” or “can lights."
Technical Note 56 "Installation of Plastic Pressure Piping Materials Near IC-Rated and Non-IC-Rated Recessed Lighting Fixtures" provides guidance to installers of CPVC, PEX, PE-RT, PP-R and PP-RCT piping materials about protecting these piping systems against excessive heat through distance, insulation, or other means. These piping materials are commonly used for hot- and cold-water plumbing, fire protection and hydronic heating or cooling systems. PPI is the major trade association representing all segments of the plastic pipe industry.
According to Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for PPI's Building & Construction Division, “The piping materials CPVC, PEX, PE-RT, PP-R and PP-RCT, which are commonly used for residential and commercial systems, are rated for continuous high-temperature operation, but every material has limits. Recessed light fixtures are available in two classes, non-insulation contact and insulation contact (i.e. IC-rated). Certain light fixtures may have exterior temperatures as high as 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). Frequently repeated or long-term exposure to air or surface temperatures above 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) may have negative effects on some plastic pipe materials.”
For this reason, it is recommended, even with IC-rated light fixtures, that the pipe installer allow adequate spacing around plastic pipes to install enough insulation to assure that the surface temperature of the pipe is kept to 180 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This can be accomplished by installing pipe with adequate space from the recessed light fixture, installing insulation between the pipe and recessed light fixtures, or some combination of both. Installation details are provided in TN-56.
According to PPI President David Fink, “Questions about the allowed proximity of piping materials to recessed lighting fixtures have been raised by installers, builders, inspectors, and others. Technical Note 56 was published with the input of PPI member firms to provide clear direction on this issue.”
Published on PPI’s website directly at plasticpipe.org/pdf/tn-56.pdf, TN-56 is one of several PPI documents related to the design and installation of pressure pipe materials, which are published as a service to the industry by PPI’s Building & Construction Division. Additional information about piping materials for Building & Construction can be found online at plasticpipe.org/building-construction/index.html.