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ceiling batts over downlights

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  1. #1
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    Default ceiling batts over downlights

    Hi all,

    Not sur eif this post should be in this section.
    If not could someone move it to its appropriate location.
    Thanks.

    I have just finished renovating my kitchen and I put some downlights. After installing them, I removed the old compressed paper around the downlights.
    I was told that the compressed paper is supposed to act as an insulator.
    Anyway, I have some spare ceiling batts 3.5 that I bought for the kitchen extension and I was planning to put them on top of the downlights.
    The downlights are 240v, no low voltage ones.
    My question is :
    - can I safely cut a piece of the ceiling batts and put them on top of each light?
    I am concerned about the risk of fire of the ceiling batts when the lights are on and the globes become hot.

    The reason is that you can feel the cold air coming from the roof (or the hot one in summer) through the lights.

    If it is risky to put the ceiling batts on top of the lights, does anybody know what could be put on top of the lights to stop the cold/hot air from coming in the kitchen?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Someone else might know the exact BCA requirements, but I was led to believe that there has to be a 200mm standoff of insulation from downlights. There are products avail to shield downlights so that insulation can be brought closer to them. You could as a lighting shop or an electrician for advice.

  3. #3
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMistral View Post
    Hi all,


    I have just finished renovating my kitchen and I put some downlights.

    Maybe you should have had an electrician do the job and he would know the regulations

  4. #4
    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
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    Here: http://www.energysafety.govt.nz/temp...____18611.aspx

    Image below, but download the whole thing and read it. (In fact, download all their docs on DIY electrical if you ever play with that stuff)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails clearance.jpg  

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    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    Here: http://www.energysafety.govt.nz/temp...____18611.aspx

    Image below, but download the whole thing and read it. (In fact, download all their docs on DIY electrical if you ever play with that stuff)
    Gee, if it takes four years to learn how to twist a couple of wires together, it'll take decades to learn the clearances

  6. #6
    1K Club Member Pulse's Avatar
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    Another clear example of why electrical knowledge should be more available. It's not illegal to retrofit insulation where downlights are in place.

    Options are to build a box around the luminaire out of fire rated plasterboard or fibre-cement sheet or use an off the shelf product. Some people use terracotta pots upside-down over the luminaire.

    Legally 200mm clearance to flammable material from the luminaire.

    Cheers Pulse

  7. #7
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pulse View Post
    Another clear example of why electrical knowledge should be more available.
    What so people can DIY and kill them self gee thats a responsibly attitude

    BTW the wiring rules be bought by anyone here
    http://www.saiglobal.com/shop/Script...AS0733783911AT
    But it takes a 4 year apprenticeship to understand them

  8. #8
    Retired Marine Engineer 1K Club Member Ashore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    Maybe you should have had an electrician do the job and he would know the regulations
    So now your saying that you should get a lecco to install celing insulation , whats next call a lecco to change lamps , must be a quallified lecco to change the batteries in the tv remote , give us a break
    Ashore




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  9. #9
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashore View Post
    So now your saying that you should get a lecco to install celing insulation

    No read the original POST

    Quote Originally Posted by EMistral View Post
    I have just finished renovating my kitchen and I put some downlights. After installing them,

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashore View Post
    So now your saying that you should get a lecco to install celing insulation , whats next call a lecco to change lamps , must be a quallified lecco to change the batteries in the tv remote , give us a break
    If they could get away with it believe me they would. Did you see the ad from energy australia about calling in one of their electricians to change your light bulb for you :lol:

    Information should be freely available. Half the time the lecco doesn't even do the job 100% according to regs anyway. Been through quite a few which is why I'm all for freely available to the public specs on how jobs should be done right. People who are inclined to do it themselves will do the best they can and without freely available regs the government is only screwing everyone over. Safety isn't being served since most will just do what they think is right regardless. Seems NZ at least understands the concept that an informed consumer is a protected consumer.

    I think lecco's are more worried about protecting their trade than they are about safety but it's convenient to hide behind the guise of safety. I've reported a couple already who couldn't be worse than any weekender but still have qualifications.

  11. #11
    Retired Marine Engineer 1K Club Member Ashore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMistral View Post
    My question is :
    - can I safely cut a piece of the ceiling batts and put them on top of each light?
    I am concerned about the risk of fire of the ceiling batts when the lights are on and the globes become hot.
    I did read the question asked
    You however gave your usual answer
    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    Maybe you should have had an electrician do the job and he would know the regulations
    Why be hollier than though, just give an answer to the question BTW is EMistral a licenced electrician just unsure of the particular regulation, from his original post he makes no statement either way, but you have assumed he is not, and making assumptions kill more people than giving them advice
    Ashore




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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    Maybe you should have had an electrician do the job and he would know the regulations
    390 posts of grand sneering.... why do you bother signing in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kombiman View Post
    390 posts of grand sneering.... why do you bother signing in?

  14. #14
    Apprentice newbie Jasey's Avatar
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    I would read the Australian Standards to be sure but I think the new ruling is 200mm clearance that includes wood too. Alternatively you can get the shielded downlights, or retrofit some shields. Not sure about what you can put on top. Is the draft really that noticeable?

    BTW I've started a electrical apprenticeship a few weeks ago and while I would definately recommend an electrician for the wiring jobs I agree that why pay a leccy a good hourly rate to drill holes in the ceiling? Install the lights and then get the leccy to hook em up.
    Jason

    Be Safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    What so people can DIY and kill them self gee thats a responsibly attitude

    BTW the wiring rules be bought by anyone here
    http://www.saiglobal.com/shop/Script...AS0733783911AT
    But it takes a 4 year apprenticeship to understand them
    You never seem to be able to point people in the right direction Nev...

    Be constructive not destructive!!

  16. #16
    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
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    Get the easy to understand version of the wiring rules (with all the stuff applicable to DIY) from here:

    http://www.energysafety.govt.nz/uplo...8/ecp51v18.pdf
    (thats the Homeowners Code of Practice for Electrical Wiring Work)

    And read the Parliamentary debate in NZ on the topic. Until 1992, both Australia and New Zealand had the same restrictive rules; then NZ relaxed theirs to allow DIY work.

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate...5-03-16a.243.6

    Quoting from that page :
    "The 7 year average accident rate is now in the ratio of roughly 2:3 in favour of New Zealand being the safer place. (This is of course after you have compensated for different population sizes by comparing accident rates per million of population per year.)"

  17. #17
    1K Club Member Pulse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    But it takes a 4 year apprenticeship to understand them
    It's really not that difficult is it?... most sparkies would be insulted by that.


    The fact that he installed the downlights is wrong but it is neither here nor there, the question was about installing insulation... the downlights were there first.

    I was just illustrating the point that information is important.. this forum could well have prevented a fire by providing the correct advice about the insulation

    Cheers
    Pulse

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    Get the easy to understand version of the wiring rules (with all the stuff applicable to DIY) from here:
    http://www.energysafety.govt.nz/uplo...8/ecp51v18.pdf
    (thats the Homeowners Code of Practice for Electrical Wiring Work)
    Master, you really should qualify your post by stating it only applies to New Zealand.

  19. #19
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    I'm with nev on this one,
    When I bought the downlight's for my place the instructions told me how far to isolate the lights from combustibles.
    I also had an electrician wire them up, he then checked the parts of the installation that I did (ie fixing light surrounds, installing insulation sheilds).

    The reason the government doesn't issue the standards for free is that the government doesn't own them, standards australia owns them. If you are going to do your own diy work you may aswell pay for the standards applicable. They cost around $150 - $300, if you do just one job by yourself, the standards have basically been paid for.

    Get the right advise, standards change, you need to know the correct proceedures/ rules. You need to pay for that, or risk incorrect information.

    By the way, If you buy insulation to install yourself. Then you follow the manufacturers guide to installation, you will be told to consult and electrician where downlights are concerned.

    PS: I am a plumber, I understand that some people do there own work. There is however, a point in every project where a professional needs to be called in. save money where you can, spend it where you need to.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

  20. #20
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    Hi all,

    thanks for your answers and the debate it created.
    I am not a licensed electrician in Australia but in Europe I am or was when I left it 10 years ago.
    So I don't have any problem with wiring, drilling holes, etc...
    Like someone mentioned it, I don't know the australian rules and since I do not renovate not everyday, it is not something I look.
    I replaced all the lights at my place with downlights and it is just now that I am realizing the air coming in an out that I need to do something about it
    In France, where I am from, most of the houses, not to say 100% are not built like here.
    Instead of having brick veneer then studs and plaster boards screwed on studs, the ceilings are solid bricks held in place by concrete beams so when you install a ceiling lights like a downlight:
    - first it is much harder because usually, if the house has been built correctly, all electric wires are enclosed in a fire proof pipe in the bricks.
    - second, once you have located the wiring and put the light in place, the light is not directly popping out in the roof but it is in the brick. Therefore you don't have the problem of the air coming in and out through the lights

    So renovating here is much easier, at least to put lights, new wall sockets , etc...

  21. #21
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    E Mistral. If you aim is to completely seal the downlight from draft, and worried about fire from the downlights, you can purchase plastic covers that clip over the downlight completely enclosing the fitting. These also have a bracket to mount the transformer above the insulation.

    I'm sure you can then lay the insulation hard up against the guard.

    The aluminium covers require a minimum distance of 25mm to flamable items and they do not seal completely in terms of draft.

    Remember, if you add wiring, you need to upgrade the modified circuit to have circuit breaker and RCD protection if it does not already.

  22. #22
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    you definitely cant put insulation on top of down light need 200 mm clearance you can purchase heat proof boxes from electrical wholesaler ,i am an electrician


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