When not installed and maintained correctly, lighting can be a risk for both commercial and residential spaces. It's necessary to have them mounted by professionals or experienced individuals to ensure all the wiring is secured.
In addition, traditional downlights with a halogen globe are a massive fire hazard because they tend to heat up quickly. If it's mishandled, it'll cause more significant threats as it can set fire to flammable materials. So, what is the solution to this? Do you have to avoid using downlights altogether? Of course not!
Instead of removing downlights from your lighting design, look for a fire-rated option. But what are fire-rated downlights, and how far have they come in terms of lighting safety?
Understanding the Need for Fire Rated Downlights
When installing a recessed downlight, you must cut a hole into your ceiling, compromising its ability to slow down the spread of fire. Because of this, the fire can easily pass through the small gaps, not only swallowing the ceiling and walls but also the beams and foundation of your home! Worst case scenario, the ceiling and foundations will collapse, trapping everyone inside!
A fire-rated downlight has a built-in intumescent pad that triggers when exposed to a particular temperature. When this pad activates, it can block even the smallest gaps surrounding the fixture, preventing the fire from slipping through. Only a fire-rated downlight can fully restore the compromised fire integrity of your ceiling. So, if you want to guarantee that everyone has a safe exit route, it's time to replace your traditional downlights with this one. Anyways, building regulations and safety standards promote the use of fire-rated LED downlights as they're the safer choice.
Advancements in Fire Rated Downlight Technology
The fire-rated downlights before are different from the fire-rated downlights now. It’s evolved so much that you should consider upgrading yours!
Intumescent Materials and Fire Caps
As mentioned earlier, fire-rated downlights are designed with intumescent materials that act like a cork to the gaps surrounding the fixture. If you have multiple levels in your home or own a building with various floors, fire-rated downlights can give everyone an equal chance to escape. Also, with the addition of fire caps, the fire rating of the fixture increases, giving you more time to control the situation. Just be careful when adding accessories to your fire-rated downlights. Please consult a professional to ensure that they're safe to use together.
Thermal Protection and Insulation
More advanced fire-rated downlights come with thermal protection features, allowing them to withstand high temperatures. Again, as mentioned earlier, while some fire-rated downlights are insulation coverable, not all are. So before increasing the fire safety of your lights with insulation, read through the model's technical specifications or product description. Unless it's clearly stated that the downlight is insulation coverable, never put anything over it. What you may think will help prevent the fire can be the cause of it!
Airflow and Heat Dissipation
The latest fire-rated downlights you'll find in the market are mostly designed to have better airflow and heat dissipation. That's why those fixtures are less likely to overheat, reducing fire risks. Also, heat dissipation is a critical element in maintaining the downlight's functionality in the event of a fire. If the downlight cannot cool off, aside from not being of use during emergencies, it will have a shorter lifespan.
Choosing the Right Fire Rated Downlight
What criteria should you check when selecting a fire-rated downlight for your space?
Compatibility and Performance
If you're not building from scratch, your lighting system may have certain restrictions that you may be unable to circle around. Therefore, you should look for a fire-rated downlight compatible with your existing lighting system.
Also, consider the lumens and colour temperature of the fixture you choose based on each room's purpose. That way, the lights will not only boost the fire protection of the space but also elevate its functionality!
Certifications and Compliances
Another essential aspect that you should consider is certifications and compliances. Look for proof that it's tested accordingly and meets all the necessary regulations. That way, you're confident that your fire-rated downlights will perform as expected in case there's a fire.
Besides the colour temperature and lumens output, you need specific features depending on where you'll install the fire-rated downlight. For bathrooms and other areas constantly exposed to liquids, you'll need a fire-rated downlight with at least an IP65 rating. Also, look for more heavy-bearing downlights with a higher fire rating for commercial applications.
Installation and Maintenance Best Practices
DIY-ing is fun, affordable, and fulfilling, especially if you've done an excellent job. However, there are specific installations that you must prioritise safety over anything else. It's best to hire a professional to mount your fire-rated downlights to guarantee that it's wired correctly. Plus, do routine checks of your lights, and take action immediately if you notice anything that may be a potential hazard to your safety.
Fire-rated downlights can increase your property's fire protection. With it, everyone will have enough time to exit, and the damage to the foundational structures of the space will not be irreversible. Plus, technology has propelled fire-rated downlights to a much higher quality, minimising fire risk in your home and commercial areas!
If you don't know where to get your fire-rated downlights, visit our website, LED Supplier. We have an extensive collection with various specifications, finishes, and lumens output, so you're bound to find one that suits your needs!