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Are halogen downlights a fire hazard?

In 2009, when Minister for Environment Peter Garrett announced the constructions of Energy Efficient homes, some more questions rises and one them was: “Are Halogen Downlight a fire hazard”? According to analysis and many reports, there are hundreds of homes in Victoria which are fitted with halogen downlights and are at potential risk. The fashionable lights ignite roofing insulation which has caused fire in many homes, in Melbourne.

According to firefighters, even the smoke detectors were unable to detect fire because of the blazes spread in the cavity of roof. This caused most of the problem because the residents in regions around Melbourne like Hampton and East Hampton were unable to know about the fire till very end. This calls for extra regulations and precautions to measure before the installation of Halogen Downlights. There have been laws and regulations announced for the installations of  Halogen downlights which require only licensed electricians to install them. They need to make sure to leave at least a space of 30 centimeters around them.

Some of the safety measures to take with Halogen Downlight are:

  • According to Australian Standards, you always need a licensed electrician in order to install halogen downlight.
  • The downlights must be installed in such a way that proper space must be left to ensure cooling and air movement. But in any case, the thermal insulation should not be disturbed.
  • Once the lights are installed, they must be properly checked for buildup of windblown debris like dust or any leaves. This could be present between roof cavities near downlights.
  • There are different types of thermal insulations so you also need to discuss and decide which one suits you best according to your requirement.
  • You must never install halogen lights near structural timbler members for example floor beams, ceiling or roofs.
  • You must always keep these lights checked by professional electricians. While renovating home, there is a possibility that ceiling insulation may come in contact with halogen downlights so this must be avoided.

 

The most common and neglected mistakes which have been done by residents with halogen downlights and have caused accidents are:

  • The smoke alarm detects the smoke/ fire which is under the roof. If you want to detect the roof inside the roof space, the smoke detector must be installed inside the roof as well.
  • The bulbs which are infrared coated may cost you more as compared to traditional ones but they last 50 % longer as compared to other bulbs.
  • If you do not need bright light, even the 20W infrared coated bulb would be fine.
  • The halogen down lights use 6 times more energy as compared to traditional bulbs but they needs to be turned off when you are not at home to save energy and to around any mishap.

Thus, there is no doubt in the fact that Halogen downlights are essential and god to use but proper precaution need to be taken or they cause real fire hazard.

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