Can down lights be a fire hazard?

When looking at lighting your home, you may be considering all forms of lighting. Downlights have been around for at least 50 years; the first versions being quite crude; but they have since evolved into a stylish, sophisticated form of lighting. The low energy consumption, lifespan and size of the globe have continued to improve.

What are the dangers?

The initial concerns were in regard to the heat generated by the lighting and the potential dangers of a fire starting in the ceiling insulation around the electrical wiring. Downlights heat up very quickly and if insulation is sitting beside or close to it, it can potentially ignite and spread throughout the ceiling, undetected by smoke alarms. And, it’s not only insulation that can be in danger of igniting; timber beams and other ceiling debris such as rubbish and leaves, rodents, nesting birds and humans moving debris in the roof space can also inadvertently create a fire hazard.

What preventative measures should be taken?

The installation of insulation should only be done by qualified tradespeople. You should then have the installation inspected by an electrician before having downlights installed, this is to ensure that a functioning safety switch is being used in your meter box.

Always check the fire rating on the insulation, prior to having it installed. All insulation is required to have a fire rating in accordance with Australian Standard (AS1530). Glasswool and Rockwool insulation have the highest fire ratings and are commonly used in commercial process equipment for fireproofing because of their superior fireproofing properties. It’s important to always check the fire rating in accordance with AS1530 prior to making a decision on what you will use in your ceiling.

Halogen downlights are safe when installed correctly, alongside insulation and in accordance with AS3999 amendment 1 (March 2012) which outlines the installation of insulation. Also, do regular checks in your ceiling cavity to clean out any accumulated debris or animal activity.

Downlights are safe when installed by a Master Electrician.

Downlights are safe alongside insulation, when installed correctly, by a master electrician. To further avoid a potential fire, an electrician can place a heat resistant, fireproof barrier around the downlights’ transformer, located in your roof cavity or by using infra-red reflective coating (IRC) bulbs, which reflect most of the heat.

Fallon Services Electrical

To ensure your downlights are installed safely contact Fallon Services Master Electricians today on 1300 762 260 or complete our enquiry form and one of our team will be in touch.