The most common questions we get on downlights relate to the term “fire rated”. It’s a really important point, so here’s a simple explanation of what it means and how it applies.
What is a fire rated downlight?
In any building, a ceiling helps slow the spread of fire. The ceiling will have a fire rating depending on how well it slows the spread of fire. If you install a recessed downlight into a ceiling, chances are you are reducing that fire rating. The hole you cut for the fitting lets flames spread between floors more easily, often causing the ceiling to collapse within a few minutes instead of the usual half hour or more.
A fire rated downlight includes special materials that expand when heated and seal the cutout. This slows the fire long enough for anyone overhead to escape.
Does every downlight have to be fire rated?
Downlights should be fire rated to protect people on the floors above and aid evacuation. Slowing the spread of fire makes escape easier for all concerned and reduces risk of harm from falling debris.
You can use a standard downlight with a fire hood, but this often ends up being more expensive.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recommends that fire rated options should be used in all buildings even though fire resistant downlights aren’t legally needed under a roof void (e.g. An empty loft).
What fire rating do I need?
The fire rating of a downlight has to match the fire rating of the ceiling, maintaining its minimum period of fire resistance. Luckily, most downlights are tested for up to 90 minutes of fire resistance, which is enough for most ceilings in most buildings.
Below are three ranges of downlights sold by Lyco.
The VersoFIT range comes from leading manufacturer Megaman, which specialises in energy efficient bulbs. Notable features of this superb downlight range include:
- Replaceable LED module so the fitting can be maintained for longer
- Fire rating of 90 minutes
- Lifespan of 30,000 hours
- Available in a fixed and 12.5 degree tilt option for directional lighting
- Megaman honeycomb lens for minimal glare, improved focus and beam control, and traditional GU10 look
- All fittings are dimmable
- Manufacturer’s guarantee of 4 years
The JCC Fireguard range offers a wide selection of options, including an emergency model. Its selling points include:
- Lifespan of 75,000 hours in some models—whole fitting must be replaced at end of service
- IP65 rated for bathroom suitability
- Long commercial guarantee of 5 years and domestic guarantee of 10 years
- Diverse range with dimmable, non-dimmable, square, round, fixed, and tiltable models
- All products fully tested for 30, 60, and 90 minute fire-rated ceilings
Offering amazing value, we stock a Robus fixed downlight with a high quality Lyco LED GU10. This solution offers several advantages:
- Fire rated for up to 90 minutes
- Replaceable light bulb to extend the lifespan of the fitting
- Bulb lifespan of 25,000 hours (included bulb)
- Guarantee of 3 years
For more useful information and buying guides visit our Lighting Advice section.