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Loft insulation and electrics - danger?
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# 1
Elphaba2007
Old 20-09-2007, 6:51 PM
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Default Loft insulation and electrics - danger?

I went in the loft of my newly bought house yesterday. There is the standard yellow insulation I was expecting. However, over the entire space where the bathroom lies below the insulation had been removed and it now lies in a big heap the other side of the loft.

The bathroom had new lights installed just before I moved in. They are the kind where you get 6 little lights sunk so they are flush with the ceiling. They seem to have been installed through the loft, so now there are wires and things sticking out into the loft space.

So, my question is; can I just put the insulation back so it's lying on top of these wires and things or would that be a really dangerous fire hazard? Did the person who installed the lights leave the insulation off because it's a hazard, or he just couldn't be bothered to put it back? If it's dangerous to put it back, how can I insulate that part of the loft safely?

Thank you!
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# 2
mugwump
Old 20-09-2007, 7:09 PM
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If they are the small halogen ones, I would be tempted to leave them uncovered as they generate a fair bit of heat.
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# 3
Mr Warren
Old 20-09-2007, 10:33 PM
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I would not cover with insulation for reasons explained by mugwump. However you can make a small bridge like structure out of planks, in order to leave some air around the lighting system. Pile the insulation on top of the bridge. You should be ok.
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# 4
Snow Dog
Old 20-09-2007, 11:09 PM
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You could try

http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/...26037&id=27270

Halogen light fire hoods.
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# 5
panny300
Old 21-09-2007, 2:02 AM
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don't use the firehoods, as these allow the heat to be dissipated so cannot be covered by insulation.some people use ceramic flower pots put over the light with holes drilled in the base to allow heat to escape,then put the insulation around them.
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# 6
wonka
Old 21-09-2007, 10:01 AM
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Elphaba,

I was in exactly the same situation last year. We got a local bathroom shop to install a new bathroom, and also asked them to fit recessed downlights. They seemed to have done a good job of it, however a few days after they finished I ventured into the loft and found that all the insulation over the bathroom area had just been tossed to one side, leaving the lights uncovered and the bathroom uninsulated.

Like you, I was just going to put the insulation back, but alarm bells started ringing, so I spent ages researching what I should do.

Do not use firehoods. They are not suitable if you want to cover the area in insulation OR if the lights are in a bathroom.

I toyed with the idea of using ceramic/terracota pots turned upside down, but decided they were too heavy and cumbersome. I found out later that they are frowned upon by building regulation inspectors too. See this thread.

What you need are loftcaps. Most plumbers' merchants sell these, but only Denmans will sell them individually - others will only sell them in batches of 10. (No, I don't work for Denmans).

Loftcaps are the only suitable product that will meet NHBC guidelines and Building regulations because bathroom downlights break the ceiling "seal", allowing vapour into the loftspace. Eventually the dampness will rot the rafters and joists after a few years. Check out page 2 of this NHBC newsletter, and this factsheet.

For me there was an extra complication in that I wanted to add a floor using loft boards. As the loft caps were higher than the joists I had to create a higher false floor so that the caps were covered. But that's another story...
Of course, I may just be talking b****cks!
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# 7
fatnbald
Old 21-09-2007, 2:24 PM
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What do those loftcaps cost approx ?
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# 8
spinybif
Old 21-09-2007, 2:50 PM
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I had exactly the same situation with new kitchen lights. Electrician recommended cutting a hole through the fibreglass insulation from the ceiling plasterboard to the airspace above leaving 10cm clearance all round. This allows the heat to dissipate without losing the insulation over the rest of the ceiling.
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# 9
wonka
Old 21-09-2007, 3:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatnbald View Post
What do those loftcaps cost approx ?
About 6 or 7 quid each.
Of course, I may just be talking b****cks!
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# 10
cattie
Old 21-09-2007, 6:10 PM
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What spinybif has had done in his/her loft regarding insulation & the halogen lighting is exactly what has been done in my loft.
The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
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# 11
globalds
Old 21-09-2007, 6:15 PM
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My loft was the same (ripped off insulation over bathroom ...I built small wooden blockout sections then insulated around ,,,The loft caps sound perfect ..if you replace with LED does this change the requirements ..
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Last edited by globalds; 21-09-2007 at 6:17 PM. Reason: bad spelling
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# 12
TimBuckTeeth
Old 21-09-2007, 9:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by globalds View Post
My loft was the same (ripped off insulation over bathroom ...I built small wooden blockout sections then insulated around ,,,The loft caps sound perfect ..if you replace with LED does this change the requirements ..
If you use LED bulbs in the exisiting holders, then although they produce next to no heat and could be safely covered, it is not a good idea as I doubt it would comply with regulations as there is the danger that someone could fit a halogen bulb at a later date.

If they are just open holders then it would be a good idea to replace them with enclosed fire rated ones, eg :
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Ind..._Gu/index.html
Although I don't think these can be covered either as the metal casing gets hot.

If you replace the existing lamp holders with sealed non-replaceable LED light fittings then they would be safe to cover, although I don't know what the regulations are.

Last edited by TimBuckTeeth; 21-09-2007 at 10:03 PM.
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# 13
PasturesNew
Old 21-09-2007, 10:00 PM
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Aren't these a fire risk?
Sound dangerous to me.
I have an irrational fear of things catching fire ... and now you've enabled me to add a new fear to my list
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# 14
Elphaba2007
Old 05-11-2007, 5:03 PM
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Thank you everyone, your comments were really helpful. I'm going to investigate getting some of these loft caps. I don't want to rot my rafters!

So will these caps not only allow me to replace the insulation, but also to not worry about damp getting into the loft? Or should I be investiating better loft ventilation (I don't think our loft ventilation is that great anyway).
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# 15
wishingmoon
Old 09-11-2007, 5:20 PM
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Talking loft downlighter covers to use around or under insulation

http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Ind...ght/index.html

Found this whilst searching myself for downlighters in loft above bathroom...

downlighter covers for in your loft for under or around the insulation
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