All to often during my daily work as an electrician in Belfast and the surrounding areas I come across existing downlights that were installed more than 10 years ago, usually they are old halogen low voltage light fittings which were considered safer to use then because of the 12 volts required to power the lamps (bulbs) this voltage is achieved by using a small transformer normally at each fitting.
Whilst the lower voltages provided better safety in terms of electrical shock, the downside to these type of lamps are that they generate a lot of heat that is not only a waste of energy (expensive to run) but actually can be a serious fire hazard in if installed incorrectly, covered with insulation, in the wrong environment or just to close to combustible materials such as wooden joists.
The other problem I see and is what happened in the picture above in a house in Dundonald is that if the supply cables are not properly kept away from the lamp, the heat over time completely burns through the insulation giving rise to risk of electric shocks but more obviously the start of a fire. This time wasn’t so bad as the lights fused before a fire could take hold and I managed to make repairs to reinstate the light fitting.
if you do have these types of lights installed in your house you should consider swapping to LED, this may be as simple as changing the lamps but in cases like this a new fitting would be required. LED’s run cooler, brighter and use much less energy so there are lots of benefits to changing.
If you need any advice on this please get in contact, I would love to hear from you.