dcsimg

Ideas needed to remove recessed can lights behind a glass ceiling

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 26 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #696075
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    OK I got a tricky one that I have been wrecking my brain on for a few days. It may sound like an electrical issue but it’s not.

    This is a coffered ceiling with a mirrors. Altogether there are 27 coffered panels, three in one direction, and nine in the other. In the middle of each tray there is a 6″ recessed light, and at the intersections of inner beams are smaller 2″ lights.

    I was working on some stuff in the attic, and zapped, the lights went out. After some trouble shooting, I realized I stepped on a romex wire, and the tension caused the wire to be nicked because the wire were incorrectly installed, they were fed through the 1/2″ KO holes in the light without using a romex connector. Turned out there are actually bigger problems. First, someone had put in blown cellulose insulation into the attic, and these housings are not IC rated. Second, when I removed the switch plate, I noticed the plastic junction box has partially melted from the heat. Yikes. I counted 27 lights, on two circuits, the bulbs are mix and match some 25W some 40W but whatever they far exceeded the max wattage for the dimmers they were attached to.

    Only about 1/2 of the lights can be accessed from the attic above. The rest are near the eave of the house and there is no head room. This problem cannot be completely corrected from above. So the sensible thing to do is to remove each light from below, wire them correctly, stick the hand up there to push the insulation away, get some LED bulbs and new switches. So that WAS the plan.

    UNTIL…

    I removed the trim for the light, it revealed the housing is above (behind) the mirror.

    So the recessed lights were installed first to the existing sheetrock, and the mirrors and coffered frames were added later.

    Now these lights can’t be removed from below. They can’t be removed from above even with access – which we don’t for many of them.

    I can’t think of a way to remove the remodel can lights from below without breaking the mirror or sheetrock?

    Alternatively, if I am willing to destroy the lights to remove it, may be if I use a tinsnip, I can start at a slot and cut out part of the housing from below, then use plier to collapse the can inward to free the “lip” around the mirror?

    Have to think outside the box or inside the circle on this one.

    Any ideas?

    #696088
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    So the recessed lights were installed first to the existing sheetrock, and the mirrors and coffered frames were added later.

    Obviously the original installer had the same problem so he installed the lights first. Looks like destroying them is the only answer.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #696125
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    So the recessed lights were installed first to the existing sheetrock, and the mirrors and coffered frames were added later.

    Obviously the original installer had the same problem so he installed the lights first. Looks like destroying them is the only answer.

    I have no idea what the thought process was originally. This was done before the current owner bought the place.

    The lighting had to be installed around the same time as the coffered ceiling, since the lights are all centered around the 27 panels. May be they didn’t think about having to remove the lights at a later time, or just didn’t stage the jobs right.

    I wonder what tools would be easiest/fastest to destroy the lights. I was thinking of tinsnips, but then I wonder if a cutoff tool like this that would fit inside the 6″ cans would be faster, kinda like a big dremel.

    I need to cut as close to the lip as possible so as to have an easier time to collapse it.

    #696157
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    I think you need to get that top part out where the bulb goes in and see want you have. I could see a right angle drill and small one each side or 2 on each side. A wire through a 1″ wood dowel and the wire has a hook on each end to go in the eyes and turn the dowel so the can collapses into itself, it gets smaller to be pulled out the hole.

    Edit,, maybe a bad idea??? Need to cut one side??

    #696161

    Yikes @Miamicuse that looks like an interesting problem,
    By the looks like the mirror around the light, it looks like it’s been cut not very smooth,
    I’m wondering if a Dremel with a diamond rotary bit or something similar might be able to open the hole in the mirror slightly big enough to unclip the pots and potentially slide them down and out, depending of course if the newer led lights will cover the hole in the mirror?

    Otherwise I think the cut off tool or small die grinder with a cut off wheel would work,

    Good luck with this, looking forward to hearing what happens.

    #696166
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    Is it just the insulation you want to push back? If that is all , drill a few holes and blow with a air hose?

    #696192
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I think you need to get that top part out where the bulb goes in and see want you have. I could see a right angle drill and small one each side or 2 on each side. A wire through a 1″ wood dowel and the wire has a hook on each end to go in the eyes and turn the dowel so the can collapses into itself, it gets smaller to be pulled out the hole.

    Edit,, maybe a bad idea??? Need to cut one side??

    Worth a try.

    I can’t pry or leverage anything for fear of breaking the glass. so some sort of twisting inward to collapse the lip of each can may be the way to go.

    I am thinking of cutting all around the housing leaving may be half an inch around the lip. May be then I can cut a few vertical slits with a tin snip. I may try that then dowel approach with some wire.

    #696193
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Yikes @miamicuse that looks like an interesting problem,
    By the looks like the mirror around the light, it looks like it’s been cut not very smooth,
    I’m wondering if a Dremel with a diamond rotary bit or something similar might be able to open the hole in the mirror slightly big enough to unclip the pots and potentially slide them down and out, depending of course if the newer led lights will cover the hole in the mirror?

    Otherwise I think the cut off tool or small die grinder with a cut off wheel would work,

    Good luck with this, looking forward to hearing what happens.

    I am not sure why the circle cutout isn’t smooth. Usually you drill with a hole saw or cut with a glass cutter it should be a nice round circle.

    I can’t really cut a larger circle without something in the middle to anchor to. If I try to enlarge those mirror openings, if I break one I will have no recourse but to take down the surrounding mouldings, and I think the mirrors are glued to the sheetrock and cannot be removed without slicing through the back with piano wire.

    My current plan is to not mess with the mirrors.

    #696197
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Is it just the insulation you want to push back? If that is all , drill a few holes and blow with a air hose?

    There are a whole bunch of reasons to remove these housings.

    Insulation is one reason. Can’t use an air hose. The blown insulation are covering the housing like snow over mountains. In many cases I cannot even see the housings under the insulation. I can get as close as say eight to ten feet and I see them buried under. The hose will just blow some of the insulation to the other lights. The housings need to be removed so the insulation around and on top can be pushed back all around.

    On top of that, the wiring was completely wrong. Romex wires were fed into the remodel box through the KO holes WITHOUT a connector of any kind, which was what caused the short when I strained a wire by stepping on it inside the attic, the wire got nipped. All these lights need to be properly connected.

    In addition, there are 27 lights in the middle of 27 coffers, plus 48 other lights at the beam intersections on two 15A circuits. If they were to use 60W bulbs which is what the lights are rated for just those 27 lights will draw 13.5A which is too much. In reality there is no need for so many lights. Out of the 27 lights, I might break it into three sets (9 each), and may keep only five, and cancel four. So may end up with 15 lights instead of 27. To do all those rewiring I need to remove the cans as well.

    Keep the ideas coming, it’s greatly appreciated!

    #696253
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Also, if I want to cancel some of the lights, say go from a bank of nine lights (3X3) to only five (one in the center and four in the corners), then there are four I will be cancelling. Those four don’t necessarily need to be removed, only disconnected from the power source.

    In that case, whether the housings are removed or not, how would you “cover” the four “holes” in the middle of each mirror panel to make it look like it’s part of the design and not a “cover up”?

    For example, Garvin makes a recessed light cover that looks like this. Basically a round piece of plastic with a spring attachment to a light bulb base.

    That would look OK on a white sheet rock ceiling. Would look like S**T on this ceiling. This needs something a bit more refined, but not those big busy round medallions.

    #696288

    Yikes @miamicuse that looks like an interesting problem,
    By the looks like the mirror around the light, it looks like it’s been cut not very smooth,
    I’m wondering if a Dremel with a diamond rotary bit or something similar might be able to open the hole in the mirror slightly big enough to unclip the pots and potentially slide them down and out, depending of course if the newer led lights will cover the hole in the mirror?

    Otherwise I think the cut off tool or small die grinder with a cut off wheel would work,

    Good luck with this, looking forward to hearing what happens.

    I am not sure why the circle cutout isn’t smooth. Usually you drill with a hole saw or cut with a glass cutter it should be a nice round circle.

    I can’t really cut a larger circle without something in the middle to anchor to. If I try to enlarge those mirror openings, if I break one I will have no recourse but to take down the surrounding mouldings, and I think the mirrors are glued to the sheetrock and cannot be removed with slicing through the back with piano wire.

    My current plan is to not mess with the mirrors.

    I mean if you use a die grinder free hand with some sort of grinder wheel or diamond rotary bit, you can free hand around the opening, the bit would be say something like from 3/4 inch to around 1.5 inch.
    Just a thought, this way you don’t need the middle to act as a starting point for a hole saw.

    That’s what I was aiming at,
    So basically just grinding the opening of the glass slightly more, to be able to slide the canisters out from the bottom?
    Especially since it just needs a 3/16 more by the looks of it?

    We sand or grind glass in our shop very often, it’s surprising how it can be done, even slightly with sand paper on the sharp edges.
    Just have to make sure you are 90 degree with the cut surface and not putting any pressure the other way on the glass / mirror

    #696292
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    on two 15A circuits. If they were to use 60W bulbs which is what the lights are rated for just those 27 lights will draw 13.5A which is too much.

    How about finding some small LED lights to mount inside the cans that are there.

    #696355
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    I wonder what tools would be easiest/fastest to destroy the lights.

    A Dremel tool would be smaller less vibration and easier to control; but it would take a long time and use a lot of the cut-off wheels.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #696385
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    on two 15A circuits. If they were to use 60W bulbs which is what the lights are rated for just those 27 lights will draw 13.5A which is too much.

    How about finding some small LED lights to mount inside the cans that are there.

    That would solve part of the problem, kind of, but doesn’t solve the insulation issue and improper electrical connection, both are code violation and potentially dangerous.

    The LED would draw much lower amps, and would not have overloaded the 300W rated dimmers. However, it’s still best to calculate based on the rated wattages because you never know a year from now another owner not aware would just look up the can and insert 60W bulbs because it says it’s rated for it on the inside of the housing.

    #696387
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Yikes @miamicuse that looks like an interesting problem,
    By the looks like the mirror around the light, it looks like it’s been cut not very smooth,
    I’m wondering if a Dremel with a diamond rotary bit or something similar might be able to open the hole in the mirror slightly big enough to unclip the pots and potentially slide them down and out, depending of course if the newer led lights will cover the hole in the mirror?

    Otherwise I think the cut off tool or small die grinder with a cut off wheel would work,

    Good luck with this, looking forward to hearing what happens.

    I am not sure why the circle cutout isn’t smooth. Usually you drill with a hole saw or cut with a glass cutter it should be a nice round circle.

    I can’t really cut a larger circle without something in the middle to anchor to. If I try to enlarge those mirror openings, if I break one I will have no recourse but to take down the surrounding mouldings, and I think the mirrors are glued to the sheetrock and cannot be removed with slicing through the back with piano wire.

    My current plan is to not mess with the mirrors.

    I mean if you use a die grinder free hand with some sort of grinder wheel or diamond rotary bit, you can free hand around the opening, the bit would be say something like from 3/4 inch to around 1.5 inch.
    Just a thought, this way you don’t need the middle to act as a starting point for a hole saw.

    That’s what I was aiming at,
    So basically just grinding the opening of the glass slightly more, to be able to slide the canisters out from the bottom?
    Especially since it just needs a 3/16 more by the looks of it?

    We sand or grind glass in our shop very often, it’s surprising how it can be done, even slightly with sand paper on the sharp edges.
    Just have to make sure you are 90 degree with the cut surface and not putting any pressure the other way on the glass / mirror

    OK this is something I have never done before, grinding/shaving glass upside down on a ladder. I imagine the glass particles will rain down on me as I do this, so I need a poncho, respirator, eye protection? It’s going to be a lot of grinding to shave a 1/4″ off the edge of 27 lights…will overheating be an issue to cause glass to crack?

    #696396

    @Miamicuse yes, working up like that, you better wear protection,
    These are the sanding drum or disks I was referring to, we use them regularly at work, the drum sander or the sanding wheels come in different sizes, and in a die grinder they work pretty good, the main thing is you don’t want vibration and flexing of the mirror,
    You would be surprised how much glass can be removed with these things.
    Obviously not as fast as material like wood or even aluminum, but they are pretty good

    #696413
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    @Miamicuse ,,Man you gotta know if that glass is tempered or not before you go to grinding on it.. Tempered glass will pop if you start grinding on it. Raw glass is fine.

    #696416
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    @miamicuse ,,Man you gotta know if that glass is tempered or not before you go to grinding on it.. Tempered glass will pop if you start grinding on it. Raw glass is fine.

    There is already a hole on this mirror and I can see some rough edges. Doesn’t that preclude this being tempered?

    #696419
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    @miamicuse ,,Man you gotta know if that glass is tempered or not before you go to grinding on it.. Tempered glass will pop if you start grinding on it. Raw glass is fine.

    There is already a hole on this mirror and I can see some rough edges. Doesn’t that preclude this being tempered?

    Yes that does look like raw glass,, preclude is a big word, had to look it up.

    #696508
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    @miamicuse yes, working up like that, you better wear protection,
    These are the sanding drum or disks I was referring to, we use them regularly at work, the drum sander or the sanding wheels come in different sizes, and in a die grinder they work pretty good, the main thing is you don’t want vibration and flexing of the mirror,
    You would be surprised how much glass can be removed with these things.
    Obviously not as fast as material like wood or even aluminum, but they are pretty good



    @Boschmanbrian
    what is the largest diamater disc or wheel for glass you can get for the die grinder? I think with a larger disc I can grind faster, but still a bit uneasy about grinding glass, debris, wearing respirator mask and protective clothing which I really hate to do and it will take a long time to do this with 27 lights. Also this require precision and care so if my eyewear fogs up I am toast LOL!!!

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 26 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
© Robert Bosch Tool Corporation 2014, all rights reserved.
queries. 0.578 seconds