Electrical Safety and Home Insulation

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The climate in Perth means that home insulation is a necessity rather than a luxury. Anyone that has lived in an house that wasn’t insulated (like me & my family!) will know how cold it can get in the winter without it and how it turns your home into an unbearable “hot box” in the summer.

Home insulation products consist of loose fill, batts or foil sheets. All aim to reduce the flow of heat into or out of a room through the ceiling.

Insulation can also be made from a variety of products, including cellulose, fibreglass, metal foil sheeting and combinations of these.

Insulation Advantages;

  • It keeps a home warm in winter and cool in the summer.
  • It is energy efficient. An effectively insulated home is one of the most cost-effective ways of saving energy and reducing heating and cooling bills.
    It fights global warming as it reduces greenhouse gases
  • It increases resistance of your home to fire. Insulation made out of glass wool and stone wool can protect your home from fire. They are highly fire resistant.
  • It provides acoustic comfort, in other words insulation reduces sound transmission.

Electrical Safety and Home Insulation

As stated above, there are many benefits to insulating your home and I certainly would encourage everyone to do it. However, it probably hasn’t escaped many people’s notice that the government’s Home Insulation Scheme resulted in the deaths of four insulation installers, three of which were electrocuted, and up to 220 house fires.

There are 2 main areas of concern regarding home insulation installation and electrical safety.

  1. Electrocution by way of contact with live electrical parts.
  2. Fire risk. The insulation is contacting or too close to electrical items such as down lights.

Whilst I will always recommend contracting an experienced insulation installer to install your roof installation I am aware that many people will see it as a DIY task. If you do decide to tackle it yourself please think about electrical safety and:

  • keep insulation materials containing reflective foil clear of electrical wiring and fittings and do not secure it with metal staples. An electrician will need to check your electrical wiring to make sure that it is suitable to be covered by insulation.
  • Consider installing unvented LED lighting instead of halogen downlights to significantly reduce the required clearance around your ceiling insulation. Refer to the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules (Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 3000:2007) for more detailed information.
  • Ensure that insulation has a minimum clearance of 50mm above incandescent lights.
  • Allow clearance around hot flues, exhaust fans, appliances and fittings.

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