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More than 120,000 New South Wales homeowners have taken advantage of rebates and government incentive programs to increase the energy efficiency of their homes over the last several years, but what many of those property owners don’t realize is that they may also have substantially increased their fire risk.
The installation of ceiling insulation batts can increase your home or commercial property’s energy efficiency by leaps and bounds, but if improperly installed, can also present a very real fire hazard. If you’ve recently completed energy efficiency upgrades or are considering renovations which will include additional ceiling insulation, make sure you’re protecting your property and the people on it by investing in critical fire safety measures.
Why Insulation on Downlights Can Be Problematic
One of the most popular methods for residential lighting, downlights are ubiquitous. While the fixtures sit flush with the ceiling, the electrical components, wiring and transformers are installed within the roof space, where more and more homeowners are installing insulation batts to mitigate energy loss.
The heat generated by downlights can cause surrounding insulation to ignite, and the resulting fires often grow in intensity by building within the roof space. Because the flames spread through the roof cavity, they often go undetected until the blaze is established, which can pose a serious risk to people within the structure. Government incentives made insulation installation a booming business, and unfortunately, too many installers were not aware of the potential risks.
How to Eliminate Insulation-Based Fire Hazards
The best and safest solution for homeowners who have had insulation installed or buyers who are considering the purchase of a property is to invest in a thorough building inspection conducted by a professional building inspection company. Insulation installers can evaluate the placement of existing batts, but will also have a financial stake in whether or not insulation needs to be removed or replaced. Because building inspectors do not provide repair or mitigation services directly, however, working with a professional inspector means you don’t have to worry about a conflict of interest placing your bank account or your property in unnecessary danger.
A building inspector can ensure that all fittings and fixtures meet Australian Standards, and that combustible insulation is not positioned near transformers or wiring. It’s also wise to replace any halogen bulbs for LED or compact fluorescent globes, which generate far less heat and pose less of a fire risk.
Make sure your upgraded-for-efficiency home, or a property you’re thinking of buying, is safe and free from unnecessary fire hazards by working with professional building inspectors, who can help you spot any potential dangers before they ignite. Contact a registered building inspector to evaluate any new improvements made to your property, or to make sure a home is in safe condition before you submit an Offer and Acceptance form.
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