Stay Safe with Fire-Rated Downlights

When installing downlights below occupied floors, you’re potentially compromising the structural integrity of the ceiling so that fire quickly spreads and causes a ceiling collapse. This is why many downlights (LED or otherwise) are fire-rated.

What is a fire-rated downlight? It’s a recessed light fixture that includes an intumescent material which expands when exposed to extreme heat. The material seals the installation gap in the ceiling to prevent fire from quickly taking hold. The fire rating of the light fixture must match the fire rating of the ceiling, which will vary depending on building type and the number of floors.

The difference a fire-rated downlight makes versus a non-fire-rated fixture is often huge during a fire. The former may preserve the structure of a ceiling for up to 120 minutes (90 minutes is more common), whereas the latter may allow a fire to destroy a ceiling within a few minutes, threatening lives above and below it.

Another choice you have when installing downlights is to buy standard non-fire-rated fixtures and cover them with separate fire hoods. However, this often works out more expensive than buying products with fire protection built in. In the case of dropped ceilings with a plasterboard or concrete barrier over the fitting, built-in fire protection may not be necessary in light fixtures.

Be Safe Rather Than Sorry

The risks people take in life are often trivial. If you were to gamble money at an online gaming club like 777 casino, you’d be taking a speculative risk. You’d have fun playing your favorite casino games knowing that you stood a chance of winning as well as losing. You could also walk away having broken even.

Pure risk is a little different. If you installed non-fire-rated downlights below a loft space, you might be complying with the law, but you’d still be gambling on the welfare of occupants beneath the ceiling. This type of all-or-nothing risk is the type you’re most likely to regret when things go wrong. To ensure the safety of everyone and avoid premature structural failure, it’s best to install fire-rated downlights in most instances.