Stains over the recessed lighting in the kitchen

What are these dark stains above the recessed lights in the kitchen? I’ve checked in the attic and I don’t see any large gaps where air could be coming in from the attic. Yes it’s possible, but only these 4 lights in the kitchen have these stains. The occupants do not smoke and the home is electric only. The light bulbs appear to be around 60w. The home was built in 2008.

I don’t know if it matters, but the lights are insulation contact and they are completely covered with pink fiberglass insulation. Everything looks normal with them, expect for the stains.

Just a guess… . . . :cowboy_hat_face:

Eight Interacting Factors Determine
When & Where Stains Appear in buildings

Thanks! I had already ran across that page, but couldn’t find something that explained these dark stains. Everybody else is leaning towards overheating. I’m not sure if they had a higher wattage bulb at one time, but heat rises and the stains appear burnt. Now I’m feeling stupid for not getting on a ladder and trying to wipe the stains. I’m guessing they don’t wipe off or the sellers would have cleaned them up.

I would suggest air seepage from gaps inside the light cans (also look at stain/dirt from the air supply vent) that is possibly just dust/debris from attic space and being sucked into living space when HVAC system is turned on. Pressure changes pulling in dirt.

Just a guess, but can’t know for sure until you ladder up and run damp finger over the stain to see if it comes off.

Thanks for your insight, but you point out my stupidity. Everyone was in a hurry and I never ran my finger or touched it! Damn I suck and it pissed me off I did not! Anyway, it appears to be burn marks. I’m making an assumption that the seller would have wiped the ceiling clean (the rest of the house was clean/nice) if it would have come off easy. It also appears to be heat/burn marks. Heat rises and the stains/marks go up.

When I googled at the job site, all I found was articles that talked about air seepage from the attic. I investigated for that, but so no evidence it was seepage and dust stains. After talking with contractors and other inspectors, I’ve narrowed it down to overheating. Why? I can only guess, but I’ve narrowed that down too. My final guess is someone put outdoor (high heat Halogen or HPS maybe) bulbs into the fixtures at one time. The fixtures are IC-rated and looked fine. I can’t be for sure and we are nor required to diagnose, but I’m going with someone put the wrong bulbs in those fixtures at one time.

How does that sound to you all?

My guess would be air movement caused by negative pressure inside the house pulling dirty attic air inside. Those light fixtures have high temp limit which would have shut them off if overheating.

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You can always revisit the house. Diligence always pays off.

Could it be the Stack Effect.

It is the same as “Ghosting”. The dirt is coming from inside the house, not the attic. This is cause by (what Marcel said) negative building air pressure, likely caused by HVAC duct leakage.

You mentioned fiberglass batt insulation. That stuff sucks and nearly impossible to get a good seal.