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Insulation scheme ends but installations still need to be checked

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24 Feb 2010
Fire agencies around Australia are continuing to receive a high level of enquiries from people concerned that their recent insulation installation may pose a fire risk.

Insulation scheme ends but installations still need to be checked

Fire agencies around Australia are continuing to receive a high level of enquiries from people concerned that their recent insulation installation may pose a fire risk.

Home owners want to know how they can be sure their existing or recent installation is safe.

There are a number of safety issues that need to be assessed in determining whether the insulation installation is appropriate. Nationally there have been recorded electrocutions and a number of fires attributed to the incorrect installation of home insulation.

Incorrectly installed roof insulation may present a fire risk when located next to down lights, ceiling exhaust fans and associated electrical equipment. When not installed correctly in accordance with safe wiring rules, heat from the fixture may not be able to dissipate, greatly increasing the risk of fire.

To increase the likelihood that occupants have enough time to escape in the event of fire, fire agencies recommend that every home be fitted with working photoelectric smoke alarms.

If you are concerned with your insulation because of the potential for either electrocution or fire, all fire agencies recommend house holders to contact a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring or electrical fixtures in the roof space for safe operation.

MFB stresses that:

  • Down lights, when correctly installed in accordance with the current Wiring Rules (Australian Standard 3000), DO NOT pose a problem
  • Insulation, whether it is the “blown in” type or batts when correctly installed, DOES NOT pose a problem
  • However, when insulation material is installed directly over downlights or other electrical equipment such as exhaust fans, central heating units, transformers etc, the risk of fire is greatly increased
  • Australian Standards require that insulation is kept clear of downlights for a distance of 200mm all around
  • Accredited insulation installers are required to comply with this rule.

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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