Fire Rated Downlights

Thanks to the high energy efficiency and low running costs, fire rated downlights are a popular choice when it comes to functional and contemporary lighting. While saving energy and money are important factors, safety should always be the top priority when updating your home lighting or planning your next property lighting project.

Not all led downlights are the same, and not all fittings are suitable for every room or project. When it comes to installing recessed lighting, you have the choice of fire-rated or non-fire rated. Choosing the wrong one can have massive and serious consequences in the event of a fire.

What Is A Fire Rated Downlight?

When you install a downlight it means cutting a hole in the ceiling, which can create a potential fire hazard by reducing the ceiling's natural ability to act as a fire barrier. The small holes made for installing them leaves a space for the fire to spread more easily and much faster.

Fire rated downlights are designed to help reseal the hole and reduce the time it takes for a fire to spread. They come with an inbuilt intumescent pad that swells when it reacts to heat, working to slow down and control a fire. This help’s the integrity of the ceiling as the hoe would otherwise reduce the natural barrier. Fire rated LED downlights are a popular choice for new installations as though slightly more expensive, they are potentially life saving devices. They are highly energy efficient which comes with low running costs, despite the initial cost, making them a more appropriate choice for contemporary and functional lighting. They also offer the highest standard of safety available from a downlight, which should always be a top priority.

How Do Fire Rated Downlights Work?

These specially designed products have a special coating that swells when it reaches a certain temperature. The swelling acts as a form of protection by tightly sealing off the hole and closing off the path for the fire, essentially preventing it from spreading so quickly. It not only gives extra time for any necessary evacuation, but it also reduces the risk of structural damage to the building.

Installing fire rated downlights is especially important in households with wooden ceiling joints, as, in case of a fire, they could collapse before anyone has the chance to escape the building.

What Is The Difference Between Fire Rated And Non Fire Rated Downlights?

The difference between fire rated downlights and non fire rated downlights is that fire rated downlights contain an intumescent pad. At a certain temperature, this pad swells and seals the hole in the ceiling, blocking the path of the fire which provides extra time to escape the building safely.

A non-fire rated product does not contain the above pad. So therefore if a fire was to break out, it could not seal the hole and block the path of a fire and you could be in danger. It is highly recommended that all downlights installed are fire rated, purely for the protection that they provide.

How can you tell if a downlight is fire rated?

This is fairly easy. If you remove the bulb and they are completely open at the rear it is highly likely that the downlight is not fire rated. 

What Are the Fire Ratings Available?

Fire-rated downlights are rated by minutes, for example, 30, 60, 90 and sometimes, 120 minutes. This rating refers to the amount of time the fitting will block the fire for. The rating required usually depends on the type of building and the number of floors.

For example, if you are installing fire-rated downlights in a family home, you would normally choose 30 or 60 minutes. Downlights for a block of flats would require a 90 or potentially 120-minute rating. While these rated recessed lights aren't a necessity for one storey buildings, they can still give you crucial extra time to evacuate the building.

Do Fire Rated Downlights Have an IP Rating?

Every fire-rated downlight comes with an IP rating - a number that consists of numerals. The first one states how much the product is prone to solids, while the second shows the level of protection against liquids. The number might differ depending on the model.

There are official regulations regarding this, the higher it is, the better - especially in rooms such as the bathroom when it is very easy to splash, for instance, water onto the light.

What styles are available?

Like most light fittings, fire rated downlights come in a range of options, including ones that require LED spotlights and integrated bases, non-dimmable and dimmable.

Dimmable GU10 fire rated downlights are ideal for commercial establishments as well as domestic environments, allowing you to get creative when it comes to ambience and mood. In contrast to non-dimmable downlights, which give full brightness, dimmable downlights will enable you to switch between 'full light' and 'candlelight' brightness within just a few seconds.

Maximising safety doesn't mean you have to compromise on appearance. Our fire-rated lights are not only functional but are also aesthetically pleasing. These modern and stylish light fittings come in a wide variety of finishes including chrome, matt and nickel, glass and acrylic.

By combining the fittings with our range of bulbs in different colour temperatures, you can create the exact atmosphere you want.

Choosing the Right Fire Rated Downlights For Your Property

You can choose between a GU10 lamp base or one with LED Lighting. The main difference between them comes in the case of failure. With the GU10, you can simply replace the bulb, while with the integrated designs, the whole fixture should be replaced.

However, the integrated designs do tend to have a longer lifespan which means the need for replacement is less likely. Both options are just as reliable when it comes to protecting your home or property.

If you currently have non-fire-rated fittings in place, you can swap them for fire rated. However, we advise that you get expert assistance in doing so. Our team is ideally placed to help you determine what downlights you need to improve the safety of your building. And with plenty of designs and styles to choose from, you can fire-proof your home or office easily and affordably.

How Many Downlights Will I Need?

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to fire rated downlights is how many of them will be enough? While there is no hard and fast rule, as every room might be different, generally speaking, they should be placed more or less 1.6 - 2m apart from each other in every direction.

Before starting to install your fire rated downlights, remember to discover and mark where the ceiling joists run - this will give you a clearer idea where they should be placed. The first one should be placed around 0.8-1 m away from the wall. If you decide to install it closer, the light will fall straight onto the wall, making all the little imperfections visible - even if your wall was just plastered.

A Word In Favour of LEDs

Traditionally, these have been fitted with halogen bulbs, but these bulbs use a lot of energy, are costly to run, and need to be replaced often. Swapping halogen lamps for LEDs is a much more efficient and cheaper way of illuminating your interiors.

Light-emitting diodes also have a much longer lifespan, meaning less time, effort and money spent on maintenance and replacements. Choosing the right product with the right technology means you can put safety first and enjoy the added bonuses of saving energy and money.

Can Fire Rated Downlights Be Covered With Thermal Insulation?

There is no specific answer to that - everything depends on the manufacturer and the product. Some fire rated downlights cannot be covered with thermal insulation because they might overheat and catch fire, even with modern technology inside.

If you already have insulation installed, don't worry. You can always place an insulation box over the top in order to protect. However, there are also some manufacturers that sell ones which are suitable for use with thermal insulation. That's exactly why it's important to have someone who knows about those things help you with the choice.

Let Us Help You

We understand just how important it is to select the right lighting, which is why we only sell the highest quality of fire rated downlights. We know that the key factor to consider when choosing a product is safety. Contact us today, and our team of lighting experts will help you choose the right product to provide you with the maximum safety for your specific building and project.

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