Why You Should Invest In Fire Rated Downlights


Have you got trimless downlights installed in your home? Do you know whether they have a fire rating or not? Basically, fire rated downlights will prevent the spread of a fire should one ever break out in your home. They have actually been designed to meet the various building codes and regulations that surround fire safety and, seeing as they could be vital tool in ensuring the safety of your family, most people are willing to wear the slight extra cost that these downlights entail.

Fire rated downlights

Fire rated downlights are made with intumescent materials, which expands when it reaches a certain temperature. This will seal off the hole created by the installation of the downlight and help to prevent the spread of the fire into the structure of the building itself. This requirement is due to the process involved in installing downlights – a hole is cut into the ceiling through which the downlight is mounted. If a fire were to break out, the flames would be able to get through these holes and set the integral structure of the building alight. In a matter of minutes, your entire ceiling could have collapsed.

According to building codes and regulations, the minimum fire rating for downlights in a ceiling with joists 600mm apart is 30 minutes. This means that the downlights will expand to fill their mounting holes and will hold the flames off for 30 minutes, allowing the occupants of the building plenty of time to escape, the fire brigade to extinguish the fire, or for the entire structure to be penetrated and it collapses. For ceiling joists with a spacing of 450mm, the minimum rating for the downlights becomes 90 minutes.

Fire rated downlights

This does not mean, however, that fire rated downlights need to be installed in every room of every home. In ceilings where there is only roof above the light, they fixtures don’t need to be fire rated because the risk of the flames spreading through the holes and into the structure of the building is fairly minimal. Also, if your home has been constructed using other fire safe materials, the use of fire rated downlights is not required.

On top of their safety and prevention in the event of fire, these trimless downlights are also useful in protecting your home against moisture and resisting acoustic penetration. Downlights that are not fire rated, for example, will easily allow warm air to escape through the holes, meaning that you will need to use your heater more often to warm the space.

How To Install New Globes In Downlights

Whilst trimless downlights are highly useful for use in your home, as they make seeing and focusing on tasks much easier, when the globes blow and no longer work a lot of people find themselves at a loss for what to do. Changing the globe in a downlight is not the same as changing a normal globe – the process is actually much more challenging and takes longer.

Begin by turning off the downlights at the switch. This is especially important if your lights take halogen globes, as they tend to get very hot very quickly. If you do have halogen globes, ensure that you allow them to cool for at least half an hour to prevent accidentally burning yourself.

Reach the downlights

Stand on a ladder or other sturdy surface to reach the downlights. You will need to remove the trim ring; you should be able to do this by pulling straight down on the ring. Most downlight rings are spring loaded, which makes removing them much easier as they will simply fall out when pulled. If, however, you are unable to get your fingers underneath the lip of the downlight, you can use a flat-head screwdriver to pry the ring away from the ceiling. Sometimes, you may find that the downlight ring is unmovable – if this is the case, do not try to force it (as you may damage the ceiling) and contact a lighting specialist for advice.

Next, you will need to unscrew the blown downlight globe. There is a clever trick for doing this – cut a strip of duct tape so that it is about 6 inches long, then stick about 1 inch of each end onto the globe. Stick the remaining 4 inches of tape together, giving you an easy grip. Give the tape a twist, counterclockwise, and the globe should begin to unscrew. Continue to twist the tape until you are able to completely remove the downlight globe.

Ensure that you have a replacement globe that is of the same wattage and type as the one you have just removed, or that has been recommended for the type of downlight that you own. Finish by screwing the new globe into the downlight trim ring, ensuring that they have a snug fit but are not too tight.

If you find a globe difficult to screw in immediately stop and do not try to force it as something has probably gone wrong. Look inside the downlight for crossed wires and also double check that you have the correct size globe. You should also check the inside of your downlight for dents or bends, as this can prevent you from screwing a globe in. If this is the case, you will need to replace the damaged trimless downlights.

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