If you’re looking replacing recessed downlights, or fitting new lighting in your home or office, you may be wondering whether you have to buy fire rated hardware, or whether you could possibly cut corners and go for cheaper alternatives.
As with most electrical work, it comes down to safety, both as a homeowner looking after your family or an employer taking care of your staff.
So it won’t be any great surprise that you should always choose fire rated downlights – and these are the reasons why.
Delaying the spread of fire
As soon as you put a hole in the ceiling to install a downlight, you have a potential fire hazard. Ceilings don’t just hide the joists in our homes; they also act as a fire barrier.
If there are people living or working on the floor above the area where downlights are installed, then the downlighters have to be fire rated because they restore the ceiling fire integrity. This essentially slows the spread of fire, like a solid ceiling would.
Non-fire rated downlights essentially leave small holes in the ceiling. This is a simple way for a fire to spread through the property. Clearly, wooden joists often being the next part of the building to be affected and that hastens complete collapse.
Every fire rated downlight has a pad installed that grows and swells when it hits a certain temperature. This creates the vital safety barrier that could save someone’s life. The barrier slows the fire down and gives the occupants more time to escape before the building starts to fall in on them.
On fire rated downlights, you’ll see fire ratings such as 30, 60 or 90. This is the number of minutes the fire can be delayed by with the installation of the product.
We always recommend that you go for the highest number you can afford. But there is a rule you can check to see if your downlights are adequate for the job.
For upper floors of a block of flats, choosing a 90 or even 120 rated item would be the best choice, because it slows fire for longest and allows people below to have maximum warning. For ceilings on the ground floor, 30 or 60 minutes may be adequate if budget is an issue.
If you already have downlights and discover they aren’t fire rated, it’s a straight forward job to have them changed. We recommend you do check your ceiling lights, even if you live in a bungalow. A fire can still start in the loft space, and it’s sensible to take all precautions.
MD Bespoke can carry out an inspection and give you a quote for fire rated downlights. We’re experienced in working in a variety of properties, and we understand the different types of hardware you can use.
Fire can spread in a few seconds. It takes a few hours to switch your downlights. Contact our friendly and experienced team to get a quote for the work today.