Fire Hoods for Use with Recessed Downlights
These fire hoods fit over recessed downlights and their use is prescribed more frequently by electricians who are concerned that UK building regulations require the use of fire hoods in many locations... Just to be on the safe side. Sadly, for the person who pays the bill, fire hoods are often not required because the ceilings into which they are being fitted are not fire rated ceilings! See below for further information.
Fire hoods - information and advice
The thought is that if you cut a hole in the ceiling it provides a route for fire to enter the ceiling void and may lead to damage of the supporting structure. So if you cut a hole in a ceiling should you use a fire hood or fire rated downlight?
The short answer is no. We have spoken to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) who set out the building regulations and in fact they have confirmed there has been no modification of the wording in Part B of the building regulations regarding lighting for a number of years. The section, as it stands, was written advising against the use of recessed lights that form part of a ceiling with thermoplastic diffusers. Think of a 1970s office i.e. in an episode of The Sweeney. Think of the suspended ceiling with those flat or prismatic sheet lay-in diffusers - this is a luminaire that forms part of a ceiling that has a thermoplastic diffuser! So, if you do not have a 1970s suspended ceiling, where the lights form part of the ceiling and lighting that has a plastic diffuser that will melt and drip molten plastic onto you when it gets hot, does this mean are you in the clear?
Well no because we suggest you think about your own safety and the safety of people around you. So here are our recommendations...
- Cut your hole. If it has a double layer of plasterboard it is either a fire rated 'compartment' or its there to reduce noise. Fit a fire hood or fire rated downlight.
Also consider these points...
- If you are putting lights in an integral garage with accommodation above use a fire hood or fire rated downlight.
- If you live in a three storey house (especially with only one flight of stairs) use fire hoods or fire rated downlights.
- If you live in a conversion i.e. a larger Victorian or Edwardian house that been converted into flats use a fire hood or fire rated downlight if there is a separate dwelling above your accommodation and hope, if you have neighbours below, that they use fire hoods or fire rated downlights too.
This is not an exhaustive list, there are other areas where you could use fire hoods or fire rated downlights. But here are some spaces where they are not normally required:
- Bathrooms, bedrooms and other spaces with only the roofspace (loft) above them.
- Hallways - if there is no fire door between levels in a house there is no fire compartment. It is laughable to suggest that fire will wait to burn through a downlight when it could simply rush up the stairs!
Lastly a very important note: Fire hoods or fire rated downlights are not designed for use in insulation. Be clear about this point! If your roof structure has plasterboard with rigid phenolic or urethane insulation (i.e. Kingspan) you cannot cut a single hole through the plasterboard and insulation and install a downlight. The heat from a normal 12v or mains lamps has nowhere to go and will "cook" the fitting, wiring and insulation and create a fire hazard through short circuit or combustion of other materials. In this type of installation you should cut a void at least 200mm² square in the insulation (300mm² for fittings where a transformer needs to be located in the void). If you don't want to cut a big void in your insulation your only choice is a cool running LED lamp.
The hoods cover the light fitting and reinforce the fire protection and that is why they are used. These have a hood of 160mm in diameter and a depth of 130mm so should cover the majority of recessed ceiling fittings. The rim of 50mm provides additional protection. This fire hood can be fitted either from above or below.
aka. Intumescent Downlight Cover!
- 66 minute fire rating
- Part E Acoustic Compliant
- Tested to BS476 Part 23
- Ventilated to reduce heat build up
- Prevents fire from penetrating the ceiling void and retains the ceilings fire protection integrity.