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What are the issues around recessed lights?

What are the issues around recessed lights?

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Recessed and semi-recessed lights should be 'fire rated' so that fire hazards created by the hole that’s cut to house the light are eliminated. This is because the ceiling will provide fire resistance and the holes created weaken this.

These fire rated downlights help slow down the rate of the spread of fire by sealing the hole itself, usually with the addition of a fire hood that sits over the lighting unit within the ceiling void.

Fire rated recessed downlights are rated at 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and each rating has a different purpose and place.

Downlights with a shorter timeframe for fire resistance, say 30 minutes, are typically used on domestic or residential premises, whereas commercial or industrial premises may need recessed lights fire rated at 60 or 90 minutes.

Other considerations for recessed lights

  • Cold patches around lights
  • Air leakage around lights
  • Energy efficiency of the lights
  • Condensation issues
  • Minimum depth of ceiling void
  • Maximum number of lights per m2

Further information

Guide to the safe installation of downlighters in dwellings on the LABC website

Approved Document B England - Fire safety Volumes 1 & 2

Approved Document B Wales - Fire safety Volumes 1 & 2