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Fire Rated Downlights


What is a fire rated downlight?

A fire rated downlight is a downlight that has been designed to prevent the spread of a fire between one floor and the next in a building. When a hole is cut in the ceiling in order to fit a downlight, an easy route is created for a fire to spread from one floor to the next. A fire rated downlight acts like a fire door and helps prevent the spread of fire by restoring the ceilings ability to act as a fire barrier. They are not designed to stop the lamp itself from catching fire, as this is a extremely rare occurance due to the rigorous testing that is carried out on both the lamps and downlight fittings. Fire rated downlights help to give more time for occupants to escape the building during a fire or ideally they create more time for the fire to be extinguished. The fire rated downlights that we stock have a rating of 90 minutes, which means that they will prevent the spread of fire between floors for up to 90 minutes.

How do they work?

The two clips on our fire rated downlights hold the product in the ceiling and the metal can on the back of the downlight is a casing that can protect the fitting from fire damage for up to 90 minutes. In addition to this casing, there is an intumescent material circle around the lip of the downlight which swells when heated. This creates a seal around the downlight to stop any fire penetrating the edge of the downlight and spreading through the ceiling cavity. A conventional (non fire rated) downlight does not prevent the spread of fire, and will quickly detach from its ceiling hole during a fire.

What other advantages are there for fitting fire rated downlights?

Our fire rated downlights are also acoustic rated to prevent the spread of noise pollution between two floors. So if your workplace is located underneath a flat for example, or you have a lounge beneath a bedroom, fire rated downlights can help minimise the level of noise pollution carried between floors. Similarly, fire rated downlights help prevent the spread of moisture between floors, essential if you wish to minimise problems caused by damp in a property.

Where should they be used?

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recommends that fire rated downlights should be used in all ceilings, regardless of which type of building they are being installed in.

Can I cover the downlight casing in the ceiling with insulation material?

In order to avoid the risk of fire (as well as reduced lamp and service life) caused by overheating, downlighters and any associated transformers must not be covered by thermal insulation. Building Regulations do not prohibit the leaving of a small area around downlighters free from thermal insulation where this is necessary to permit the dissipation of the heat they generate. However, due allowance for this should be made in the overall thermal performance of the premises.

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