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Fireproof or Non-Fireproof Downlighter Fittings?

June 3, 2010   

A fire-rated downlighterYou will probably require a fireproof fitting for new builds or conversions that have building control involved.Fire rated downlighters are designed to meet Building Regulations, which require the integrity of the room to be maintained. In the unlikely event of a fire, the fitting will slow the flames and smoke travelling into ceiling spaces thus offering greater protection.

The fittings have a backing hood that encases the light bulb, this has ‘air holes’ to allow any normal heat build up to be dissipated. There is a double skin at any air hole point which is filled with an in tumescent material that will melt at a certain temperature and make a seal across the holes. These fittings also have acoustic capabilities and in normal use will reduce noise transfer between floors.For those who are not required to utilise fire proof fittings then we do stock open back down lighters, ideal for ceilings with very shallow voids. The majority of our low energy lamps will fit both these fittings.We also have an LED based modular fitting with an extremely high output of up to 100w (cool white) but only consuming 15w of energy. This fitting is a ‘fit & forget’, rated at some 40,000 hours plus along with our 3 year warranty you really don’t need to swap this unit.Currently IP20 rated we are awaiting fire rating certification on this product.

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Simon Collier
July 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Hi, I have just had an electrical safety check on a buy-to-let property and I have been advised that the Halogen bulbs fitted in the kitchen ceiling are too close to the joists and need to be moved – there isn’t space for fire-proof hoods over them without moving them first.

Is there and LED option here that would eliminate the heat risk without having to move several recessed ceiling lights? Any solution would need to pass an electrical safety check.

July 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your comment – the reason the halogens fail is obviously because of the amount of heat they generate – fortunately LED lamps operate at a much lower temperature so the fire risk is practically non existent. Assuming that the fittings you have are open backed, then you can buy plenty of retrofit LED lamps – it’s much easier with GU10 (mains voltage) than 12v systems but both are possible.

The only issue you might face is the level of illumination. Generally current LED lamps are still not as bright as halogens though our new TOSHIBA GU10 lamps are very, very close. The body temperature on these lamps get to approx 50 degree C which is not going to cause any burning or marking on nearby timers. The other advantage of LED lamps is that the maintenance schedule should be reduced to almost nil thereby offsetting the higher capital cost.

So there you are – the simple answer is yes you can replace the halogens and the lower heat should be fine ref the regulations BUT you will of course need to check this as we do not pretend to be experts.

You can see our range of LED lamps at here.

Stuart Clark
February 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I recently fitted some 9 watt GU 10 LED lamps into some Fire safety fittings.. I chose these type of bulb as they gave approximate 450 llumin output (near enough the same as a standard 50 W GU 10 bulb. I was very disappointed that the light output dropped to some 50% after two weeks of use.
I am now being told by the manufacturers that this type of high-power LED is not suitable to fit into any fire safe fittings because of the lack of airflow through the fitting and lack of cooling to the LED’s .
This has been a costly exercise and I would hate to other people to follow suit.,no doubt in time they will resolve this problem but currently all high-power LED is above 6 watts in the MR 16 and GU 10 format should not be fitted into fire safe fittings

January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Interesting comment from Stuart. I have been fitting 6watt GU10 Led lamps into fireproof housings recently and have not noticed any issues. The cooling fins on the back of the lamp get quite warm to the touch but nowhere near as hot as a filament lamp. At 6watts, I am on the limit of what Stuart recommends so fingers crossed I will be ok. I do have a question though….

I want to replace four IR16 downlights on a sloping ceiling where the roof insulation prevents me from fitting fireproof holders. Is there any risk of the LED lamps themselves catching fire if I use the existing open back holders?

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