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Posted By Topic: Coverable downlight

May 09 2012 23:52

Hi All

Bit of a weird question but nonetheless one that no one can answer for me.

IC rated LED recessed downlight can be covered by insulation, however the LED driver or transformer cannot.

How do you install the driver on top of the insulation and the fitting below without breaking the insulation?

I have talked to electricians, builders and even lighting manufacturers/importers and no one can give me an answer.

I feel the need to add I am a lighting wholesaler, this seemed like a silly issue, but its literally stumped a few of the electricians that have come in our store.

May 10 2012 08:28

I would suggest you contact the supplier for a copy of the test house report that the fitting(s) under question fully comply with the requirements of Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010 and AS/NZS 3000 including amendments 1 and A.

As today\'s date it is illegal to sell fittings which do NOT fully comply with those requirements.

May 10 2012 09:18

recessed luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 (inc Amdt A) must have instakllation instructions.
For fittings supplies with control gear, \"pictorial diagrams showing safe installaton of the control gear above or below the insulation shall be included in the manufacturer\'s instructions\"

The days of mix-and-match, using any old \"heat can\" and any old tranny / driver are over. You have to use the matched sets as supplied, and previously tested, by the manufacturer.
Otherwise you are NOT installing in accordance with instructions, and are not installing in a safe and compliant manner.

If the manufacturer allows use of alternative drivers, the intructions will say so.

If the driver / tranny needs to be above the BTI, instructions will say so. And the ELV leads between will need to be long enough.

For blanket type BTI, this will require a penetration for cabling to pass through - both LV and ELV. This need not be a gap, just a slit.

But remember if the BTI is 150 mm thick, cables need to be de-rated for \"completely surrounded\" installation conditions. This also applies if the penetration through thin BTI is angled so that it\'s route through the BTI 150 mm or longer

May 10 2012 23:46

Thanks for the answers. It sounds like if the driver is required to go above insulation then you will cut a slit.

Definitely worth getting install instructions for any lights we spec into jobs so we can let the installing electrician know whats coming.

Lots of confusion here, had two reps visit our store just today from different companies with completely differing opinions on what the \'F\' in IC-F means, how can we help to educate the electricians and homeowners when the manufacturers/importers cant even agree!

May 11 2012 08:57

Just so everyone\'s on the same page the descriptions of the 5 classifications in clause 2.4.1 of AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are

Non-IC: luminaire not suitable for covering or abutting with building insulation

CA 135: building insulation that can safely be continuously exposed to temeratures up to 150 deg C allowed to abut the luminaire

CA 80: building insulation that can safely be continuously exposed to temeratures up to 90 deg C allowed to abut the luminaire

IC: building insulation that can safely be continuously exposed to temeratures up to 150 deg C allowed to abut and cover the luminaire

IC-F: building insulation that can safely be continuously exposed to temeratures up to 150 deg C allowed to abut and cover the luminaire

ASs you can see, there\'s NO difference here in the wording between IC & IC-F.

But there is in the definitions:

\"IC\" (insulation Contact) recessed luminaire
A closed luminaire that allows building insulation to come into contact with its sides and to cover it.

\"IC-F\" (insulation Contact - Fire resistant) recessed luminaire
A closed luminaire that allows building insulation to come into contact with its sides and to cover it and has resistance to fire, heat, and tracking.

So there it is: the \"F\" means it has resistance to fire, heat, and tracking. According to one source, these are intended for use with loose-fill insulation, but I can\'t confirm that from documentation.

But it\'s NOT the same as the old \"F-hat\" symbol for mounting into combustible surfaces.

May 12 2012 20:51

Is the -F not meaning Fire rated fitting? As in it can be installed through a fire rated barrier/gib?

May 13 2012 08:58

Good morning guys. Just to ad my 5 cents worth

\'IC\' means that the building insulation MUST pass a \'needle flame test\'

\'IC-F\' means that the building insulation does not have to pass the \'needle flame test\'

Reference: Superlux Lighting\'s \'Things To Know\' leaflet, issue 2 (Dec, 2011)

May 13 2012 09:35

I\'ve given you the definitiuons direct from the Standard. Put aside any assumptions and stick to the facts. The \"F\" in this case is resistance to fire, heat, and tracking. NOT fire-rated... although some might be, which will be stated separately.

The specific resistance is to section 13 of AS/NZS 60598.1

As for the needle-flame tests, that\'s for ALL FOUR classes, so Superlus got it wrong if they said what\'s been claimed(ref clause 2.6.3(b) of the Standard).

And loose fill insulation is only allowed to abut if the fitting\'s instructions say so.

May 14 2012 15:35

Thanks AleK. That helps to dispel the confusion caused by Reps ignorance of their products. And apparently Superlux themselves don\'t get it.

May 14 2012 16:14

Thanks AlecK,

The definition of F Rated seems to be a tricky one, your explanation seems to be what the concensus is heading towards.


May 17 2012 00:14

I have read the post with interest. I am a sparky and have assisted several Insulation companies with the down lights and insulation issues. I believe Alek has answered the query. TO bring some of it back to basics, here is some detail on insulation.

Wool based Insulation will shoulder and then burn at relatively low temperatures, under 100 deg C.

Polyester insulation will Melt away from the heat source, and will also burn. This is from around 90 ~ 120 deg C depending on the type. To give an example, remember polyester is petroleum based, if it melts, it will burn.

Glass Wool insulation (Batts) will withstand much higher temperatures, and can generally be abutted to CA down lights, and cover suitable down lights.

The industry is working with EECA ( to formalize standards for simplicity and safety.

I am also aware, a lot of LED lights cannot be covered with insulation, and recently used a range specified by a client, they are Ledion from Formans.


Peter W
May 20 2012 22:27

Thanks AlecK. I guess we can assume from your comments that even the \'lighting experts\' (Superlux being a respected manufacturer too) are having difficulties interpreting all the rules themselves

May 21 2012 20:21

Digressing somewhat, but is it true that many retailers have little or no new stock of compliant recessed lights?

I have a customer who went to a couple, and was informed, that they, like others, were not informed of the change until a month after the code was gazetted. Therefore there was no, or very little compliant stock.

Also, at a prize giving award ceremony last week (to honour new innovating environmental entrepreneurs’), it was noted what a mess the electrical industry was, in particular the relationship to the new lighting Standard.

How far behind the times is Standards NZ? It is ironical that new standards are made by people who don’t know or have the ability, to communicate in modern methods of communication with those that they effect. Maybe it is time a Standard is developed that keeps up with modern methods of communication, and that those who don’t follow, or are ignorant of the Standard, can then be prosecuted for not adhering to that particular Standard.

Pluto and others help us, but this is a very unofficial method.

I can only dream!


May 21 2012 21:16

The standard was is the official standard cited by the AS/NZS 3000 and cited by the Electricity (Safety) Regulations was in fact largely written by NZ luminaire manufacturers and a limited number of others. A Standard called by the AS/NZS 3000 is approved by the NZ electricity regulator before publication, the Standard was in existence before the amendment A of AS/NZS 3000 was cited in November 2011.

It will have been manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers which caused the current shortage of fittings as everyone wanted to get rid of non-compliant stock before it become unsellable due to the 6 months transitional time run out.

Did you notice all the luminaire sales in the weeks up to the 10 May 2012 which was to get rid of the now non-complaint stock.

In the case of standards, it takes considerable funds to develop a standard and it needs to be paid for by someone, so that accounts why the information is in printed form and some of purchase cost goes back into the development of the standard.

The electrical trade is fortunate that the EWRB does provide a free access to cited standards as part of the registration fee, many other trades don\'t get that service.

May 22 2012 16:46

frankly i\'m so f!@#$ing confused i tell my customers not to bother with downlights!