Are recessed LED lights a fire risk?

John Conlin / 25 May 2018

A reader is anxious that his new recessed LED lights might pose a fire risk.


We recently refitted the kitchen in our ground-floor flat, part of a large Victorian house. We are on good terms with the owners of the flat above, but when they popped in to see the new kitchen they were alarmed to see our new recessed ceiling spotlights.

I explained that they were LED lights that do not generate heat, but they still insist that they read or heard somewhere that they were a fire risk. Have they any reason for concern?


Yes, they do, unless the light fittings were installed with intumescent hoods. The risk has nothing to do with heat from the lights. In old buildings and all but the most recent conversions, the plaster ceiling functions as a barrier to vertical spread of fire. If holes are cut in the ceiling, fire can spread more easily.

Intumescent hoods are made of a special material that melts and seals the hole if temperature rises to a critical level.

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