Downlights illuminate dark areas and can add significantly to the aesthetic value of a property, but they can also present a very serious fire risk if they’re not properly installed and insulated. In fact, improper downlights are suspected of causing at least one house fire each week in Western Australia alone. Before installing downlights on your property or purchasing a structure which contains these fixtures, it is of vital importance that you ensure beyond any doubt they’re installed correctly and make proper use of insulation.
Preventing Fires from Insulation on Downlights
There are many steps home and property owners can take to significantly minimise their risk of fire associated with insulation on downlights. A simple change in bulbs can substantially lower this risk, switching out 12 volt halogens for LED bulbs and 240 incandescent with compact fluorescent globes.
All fittings used in the installation process should meet Australian Standards, and downlights should always be installed by a licensed electrical contractor, who should carefully check that both downlights and transformers are completely clear of any combustible material, including insulation. Homeowners and electrical contractors should also be aware of safety standards which require compatibility between fixtures and insulation, as well as proper safety ratings for downlight fixtures.
The Rise in House Fires Related to Insulation on Downlights
With the push for greener energy came rebates for the installation of ceiling insulation across Australia. While this insulation does prevent heated and cooled air from escaping through the roof, thereby increasing energy efficiency, many of those insulation blatts were improperly installed. When new insulation is added to an existing home which already includes downlight fixtures without the proper safety measures, fires can and often do happen. When those batts touch downlights, they can quickly ignite. Fires tend to spread throughout the roof cavity before homeowners are aware of the conflagration, which creates a significant danger for anyone within the structure.
Protecting Your Home By Reducing Your Fire Risk
After installing new downlights or taking advantage of rebates for installing new ceiling insulation, you could be opening yourself and your family up to the danger of a house fire if the work isn’t done properly. Electrical contractors and insulation installers are supposed to ensure the safety of insulation on downlights, but this crucial fact is all too often overlooked in favor of rushing to the next lucrative project. Working with a neutral third party who has no financial stake in work which is already completed or any repairs which may be necessary is the best way of protecting your home and reducing your fire risk. Contacting a registered building inspection company can help you to ensure the safety of ceiling insulation installation, as well as any new downlight installations you may have recently acquired.
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