Downlights are one of the most popular lighting solutions because they’re stylish, timeless and space-saving. However, did you know that downlights were initially considered a threat in residential and commercial areas because of their installation process?

Fortunately, that’s been dealt with today with the invention of fire-rated downlights!


Fire-rated: What Does It Mean?

Fire-rated pertains to a product that has undergone thorough fire-resistance testing to calculate the duration it can defend against fire. This can refer to a series of criteria involving functionality, the fitness of purpose, or time measurement.

When testing downlight, the process involves an actual ceiling subjected to fire that swiftly exceeds 600 degrees Celsius. The test will fail if the roof caves in before the expected time period of the downlight are examined.

To help you understand better, say there’s a 30-minute downlight being tested. If the ceiling collapse in forty minutes, the fixture will pass the test. However, if it crumbles in twenty minutes, it’s a failure. Therefore, downlights with extended fire ratings must guarantee that the roof stays intact longer during the testing.

For the downlight to meet the necessary protocols, it must comply with BS EN1365-2 regulations to be amendable in the UK. This applies whether the downlight is manufactured in the UK or internationally, and the standard refers to fire resistance tests for loadbearing elements Part 2: Floors and Roofs.


Fire-Rated Downlights

Unlike traditional recessed ceiling lights you see in the kitchen, bathroom, or other commercial and domestic places, fire-rated downlights are constructed with safety elements to slow down the spread of fire.

When installing recessed lighting, you’ll have to cut a hole which reduces the ceiling fire rating. The reason being the hole enables the fire to escape and quickly travel between floors in the property. With fire-rated downlights, that’s not the case. It can seal off the hole and plays an integral part in fire safety.

A fire-rated downlight has an intumescent pad that expands when exposed to a specific temperature. It then blocks the hole, slowing down the spread of fire. This fixture has different fire-rated times, but the most common is 30, 60, and 90 minutes. Well, you may also find some offering up to 120 minutes!

With this safety feature, people can safely escape the premises. If you only settle with traditional downlights, it’ll be more dangerous as the ceiling may collapse in a few minutes. This can obstruct exit points, trapping occupants and residents inside the burning property, which is incredibly dangerous and often fatal!

If you are planning the lighting system of a high-rise building, get a fire-rated downlight with a higher time delay. This will give people on higher floors more time to evacuate in the event of a fire. You can use downlights with shorter time delays in standard homes and buildings with fewer floors where occupants are near the exit and would not require that long to vacate.


Issues with Traditional Downlights

The biggest issue with non-fire-rated downlights is they pose a severe threat that could lead to significant injuries or even death if a fire occurs. By design, ceilings can slow down the spread of fire. However, cutting holes into it to install recessed lights compromise its effectiveness.

Downlights have been around for years, taking shape in various styles, forms and materials. They have always been popular lighting fixture because it saves space and looks stunning. The only problem is that heat management has long been a concern for this type of lighting fixture. Fortunately, this problem was addressed, and fire-rated downlights were born!


How to Know if a Downlight is Fire-Rated?

The simplest way to determine whether or not a downlight is fire-rated is by reading through the product description. Make sure that it’s mentioned that the product is fire rated before purchasing. Another way is by going to a specific page for fire-rated downlights for online purchases or asking a salesperson to direct you to where those fixtures are if you’re buying in-store.

You may be wondering if the downlights that you have now are fire-rated. If your home has been around for quite some time and your downlights look old, there’s a chance that those are not fire-rated. You can also remove the downlight and check for a label on the sticker indicating that it’s fire-rated.

Say you can’t find a label or sticker. You can examine the difference with the downlight’s design. Upon removing, look at the back of the fitting. If it’s open, it’s not fire-rated, but if it’s close, it is fire-rated.

Fire-rated downlight will have a metal housing, and you’ll be able to see behind the bulb. Still unsure? Look at images on the internet and compare them with the construction of your fixture.


Are there Alternatives to Fire-Rated Downlights?

Before anything else, complying with the building regulations regarding the fire risk recessed downlight may create must be your priority. Fire-rated downlights are the ideal recessed lighting because fire measures are already incorporated into their design.

You may be wondering, if a fire-rated downlight is necessary, why are there still recessed fittings which are more affordable? If you choose to use a regular downlight, you’ll need to add a fire-rated hood to put over them. This will cost you more, outweighing your initial savings from purchasing a regular downlight.

It’s always recommended to use recessed downlights that are fire-rated because they’re constructed for your protection. Since they can slow down the reach of fire, your choice will impact the outcome should an unforeseen circumstance occur. Of course, it’s best if nothing terrible happens and the damages will be minimal!

Fire-rated downlights could actually save lives. It’s crucial to have in your space, especially if you’re lighting a building with several floors housing many people. As mentioned earlier, it can delay the spread of fire and give you enough time to find the exits. So, if you’re planning to change your recessed downlight with a fire-rated one, visit our website, Simple lighting! We have an extensive collection of various lighting fixtures and accessories that you’ll surely love!


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