Installing HALO 6” No-Can recessed LED lights

We love light and really thought we went overboard with can lights when we built our house. We have about 80 cans throughout the house. Recently we adapted the can fixtures to LED technology with can retrofits.

There are a ton of advantages to the LEDs. They have a clean flush look. They seal well with the ceiling surface. They take a fraction of the existing power of traditional conventional incandescent bulbs, they don’t generate direct heat, and they last for a very long time. Oh…and they install fast!

We have 4 can LEDs in our bonus room and 3 skylights. Surprisingly it still feels a little dark.

Bonus room still needs a little more light!

There is really no way to add new construction cans or retrofits in this space. It’s jam packed!

Enter the Halo HLB 6 in. White Selectable CCT New Construction and Remodel Recessed Integrated LED Direct Mount Kit (No Can Needed)

Here’s what you need to do the project

Always make sure you have more wire thank what you think you need. I used to always have to take 2 trips to the store because I didn’t buy enough. Now I buy the next biggest size roll up from what I think I need. A big plus is the more wire you buy the cheaper it is per foot. Generally it’s approx only 50% more to buy twice as much or even more. So the second half of the spool is costing you half as much.

Tip: use painters tape to mark your locations. You may want to move them around before finalizing.

First, layout your hole pattern for the new lights in the ceiling. Use a stud finder to stay at least ~3 1/4” from each stud edge. This will ensure you can access the side of the stud to mount the LED driver power supply later.

The directions for the lights have a template. Use it to reduce error in your work!

Use a hole cutting tool to reduce the time to cut the holes. I cut all six holes in about 6 minutes. Also you get a perfectly round hole. Carefully adjust your tool. The slightest miss on adjusting can lead to problematic fit and a gap between the trim bezel and ceiling.

I prefer a large battery so I don’t have to switch out while working.

Klein tools makes a good hole cutter. Don’t accidentally throw away the plastic dust shield thinking it’s packaging. You will need it every time you use this tool.

Make sure you have your drill on the “drill” function and a full battery. The holes cut satisfyingly fast. Don’t push too hard though. Let the tool do the work.

I pulled 14 gauge 2 wire non-metallic Romex from hole to hole with little issue and didn’t need a fish tape. I pushed it with my arm as far as I could and then moved the ladder over to the other hole and reached and pulled it through.

Note: I didn’t turn off the lights / breaker until I absolutely had to so I could use them. I prefer to work with as much light as possible.

Next I tapped in to the existing cans in parallel. For each 2 lights I pulled another cable over to the existing can from one of the new holes. I did them all on the same side to stay consistent. We ready to connect to the existing wiring, make 100% certain to turn off your breaker so you don’t end up shocked or worse.

Keep your job site clean and organized to make things go really fast. Keep a trash can on hand to avoid having to pick up later.
There are 3 little black screws in the existing can. You can remove them and the can pushes up into the ceiling giving you access to the can junction box.

Make sure to push the can up into the attic space above.

Junction box exposed by unscrewing the can and pushing it into the attic space.

Tap in with appropriate wire nuts or push nuts. Make sure you put a strain relief on your NM wire. Code requires it. Some junction boxes have built in strain relief mechanisms. My old can lights did.

Remember to use strain relief to be code compliant.
Existing can junction box tapped with wire nuts.

These LED drivers have 3 color temperature settings. I prefer warmer tones in the 4000k range. Halo also makes a LED unit exactly the same except 5 color temperature settings for double the price. Not worth it to me.

Make sure to set the color temperature you like. Once you install these boxes it’s annoying and a lot of work to have to go back and set them if you didn’t prior to install.

I like to turn on the power and test as I go to prevent surprises at the end.

It’s tight quarters working through the hole but screw the driver to a joist instead of just laying it in the ceiling.

CAUTION: Remember to shut off you breaker before resuming work on wiring!!!

Push in wire nuts are a fantastic way to save time and are easier to use than versus traditional twist on wire nuts. I like to use them wherever I can. They also are good because they can easily be twisted off for re-wiring if you ever need to reconfigure the wiring.

First set working. Already loving the extra lights!
Done! Looks awesome!

In all I spent ~$145 and 4 hours to complete this project. Two of my kids were runners getting the things I dropped on the floor, handing me screwdrivers, etc. This saved a load of time from having to go up and down the ladder.

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