Hints and Tips | Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau

By: Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Insulation, Ceiling Insulation, Insulation Product

Tips for safe, good-quality insulation installation

Follow the Standard for installing insulation and manufacturer’s instructions.

Standards New Zealand has produced a national Standard on how to install insulation in residential buildings. It provides comprehensive guidance on the best and safest ways to install insulation to ensure that it works as efficiently as possible.

Also follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific insulation product you’re using.

  • Fit your insulation properly

    Insulation that’s not fitted properly will not perform as well as it should. Ensure there are no gaps between insulation pieces, and that there are no tucks or folds. Use off-cuts to fill any small gaps.

  • Make sure your ceiling space is dry

    Before you install any insulation in your ceiling, check that it’s dry (i.e. there are no leaks) and free of contaminants and mould. Remove any existing insulation that is damp.

  • Follow safety practices

    There are a range of safety considerations when installing insulation, and it is very important to follow safe work practices when installing insulation products, especially with underfloor or ceiling insulation. Some of the safety considerations are outlined below, but for more comprehensive information it’s worth reading through the safety instructions in Appendix B of the insulation installation (above).

Ceiling insulation – safe installation around heat sources

Insulation must have the correct gaps around heat sources – like recessed down lights, chimneys, flues or extractor fans – for fire safety reasons.


If you’ve got recessed downlights you need to consider both safety and effectiveness when it comes to insulation.
Because the downlights can get very hot, there must be a 150 mm safety gap between the insulation and most downlights. Though you can insulate right up to (but not over) some downlights with special fittings, unless you know for sure you should always leave the 150 mm gap.
Downlights reduce the effectiveness of your insulation significantly. The required safety gap for downlights is essential, but it leaves you with holes in your insulation and that means a lot more of your home’s heat is lost through the gaps.
These are your options when it comes to safe installation of insulation with downlights:

  • The simple option

    Keep your existing downlight fittings and leave the required safety gap. Leave a gap of 150 mm between your existing downlight fittings and your insulation, and never place insulation over the top of the light or any transformers. This will ensure the rising heat from the downlights is not a fire hazard. Once installed, you should also check your ceiling insulation occasionally to be sure it hasn’t slumped towards your downlights.

  • The better option

    Replace standard downlight fittings with fittings that don’t require a safety gap – these can have insulation fitted right up to them (but not over the top). There are a few different options on the market so ask your supplier or manufacturer for more information. If you are not sure of the type you need, check with a registered electrician.

  • The best option

    Replace standard downlights with non-downlight fittings. Even with a good downlight, you will still lose heat through the ceiling of your house. The best solution is to remove recessed downlights – or don’t put them in in the first place. Taking out downlights make sense especially if you are renovating anyway.

Keywords: Ceiling Insulation, Insulation, Insulation Product

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