Can downlights be a fire hazard?

Man holding downlight

Downlights can turn an average room into something spectacular. In the kitchen and dining rooms, they can make it feel like you are being served a five-star meal, even if it is just steak and veggies. But there are risks when it comes to having downlights in the home, especially if they are installed incorrectly. The team at Dawson Electric talk you through some of the reasons that downlights can be a fire hazard.

Firstly, what are downlights?

Downlights, or spotlights as they are sometimes called, are lights that are installed in a hollow space in the ceiling. As opposed to your traditional ceiling lights, downlights are commonly depressed into the ceiling, giving your home a modern look. There are four types of downlights that people typically install in their homes:

  1. Recessed Downlights. These are the most popular types of downlights and are often used in apartment buildings, office high-rises and hotels. They are installed so that only the front of the fitting is visible and can blend in with the ceiling.
  2. Surface Downlights. These downlights are generally used in residential and commercial buildings where a recessed installation is not possible. Given the fact that they are clearly visible, the design of the light tends to be unique to that of the rest of the decore.
  3. Pendant Luminaries. The main reason that these types of downlights are chosen is purely for aesthetic reasons. Pendant Luminaries are stylish and modern and are most likely used in high-end hotel lobbies or expensive retail stores
  4. Semi-Recessed Downlights. As alluded to in the name, semi-recessed downlights are partially visible, protruding out of the ceiling. They are commonly used for homes or properties with a feature ceiling.

So downlights are fashionable, but are they dangerous?

This question all depends on how the downlights are installed. If they are installed by someone who is not a professional, there is a high probability that the electrical wiring is connected improperly. This in itself is a fire hazard, but add to that the fact that downlights tend to heat up quite quickly and there you have a recipe for disaster.

Another factor that could come into play is if the downlights are installed too close to insulation. Given that insulation can easily catch alight, the chance of a downlight heating up and causing the insulation to catch fire is considerably high.

Are there preventative measures that can be taken?

The best preventive measure you can take when installing a downlight is hiring a qualified professional to do the job. Hiring a professional ensures that the downlights are properly installed, meaning the chance of something occurring is minimal. 

While qualified electricians, such as Dawson Electric, have the ability to install downlights, some of the time qualified tradespeople who don’t specialize in electrical work handle the installation. If this is the case, you should always get a qualified electrician out to check the wiring prior to signing off on the work.

Need a downlight installed? Contact Dawson Electric today!

Our team of qualified electricians at Dawson Electric have decades of experience handling downlight installations. If you are looking to upgrade your lighting setup, contact us today and our team can talk you through the next steps.

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