Several of the properties I have visited recently to investigate problems with recessed lighting have exhibited the same problems caused by overheating of the casement around the bulb. As shown in the associated picture, the heat from the bulb has heated the fitting and incoming wiring to a point whereby the protective insulation has burnt away to exposed the bare wiring. In this example the wiring has shorted against itself and caused the protective circuit breaker and RCD to trip, fortunately for the customer, before it caused a fire or shock.
So why has this happened? The main reason is due to the thermal loft insulation being laid back over the fitting, which then acts like an oven and cooks the wiring to a point where it is destroyed. There are a few simple solutions to help reduce the risk of this problem affecting your property:
- Check that any insulation around your recessed lighting in the loft is pulled or cut away from the downlight to allow airflow
- Consider installing hoods which prevent the covering of the fitting with insulation and also provide a barrier in the event of fire
- Finally, consider installing LED GU10 replacement bulbs to your property when conventional Halogen bulbs fail. This will save you money on electrical bills as they run at a fraction of the power of Halogens, last longer and more importantly generate much less heat