Fire dangers associated with the use of heat generating devices in roof spaces.
Roof spaces represent a significant fire danger in homes, especially when combined with the use of heat generating and electrical devices such as:
- down lights
- hot water services
- air conditioning units
- exhaust fans
- bathroom "3-in-1" exhaust/heater/light units
- roof gas heaters.
All wiring and electrical devices represent a fire risk through the generation of heat, and in roof spaces the risk is increased when insulation and debris from vermin and birds are added to the equation. When roof spaces are used as storage areas for surplus furniture, papers and other combustible material the fire risk also increases.
The MFS stresses that in roof spaces any heat generating devices must have an appropriate clearance around them. The area must be clear of roof structures, insulating material or combustible material. Particular attention needs to be applied if loose fill (or 'blow-in') insulation has been installed in roof cavities.
Default clearances of electrical equipment from ceiling insulation
NB: The following table has been provided by The Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR). It is current as at August 2015. Householders should check with the OTR or AS 3000 for any future changes.
If any doubt exists, the MFS recommends that you have the area inspected by a suitably qualified tradesperson.
It is also very important to maintain and inspect the roof space annually to ensure that vermin or birds have not introduced combustible material for nests, or moved insulation into the clearance area around heat generating devices.
Fire detection is now available for domestic roof spaces using specialised heat detectors connected into the smoke alarm system within the house. (Standard smoke and heat alarms can not be used in a roof space with its very high temperatures and dusty environment.)
For further advice ring the Community Safety & Resilience Department 8204 3611, Country callers 1300 737 637
or call in to the Adelaide Fire Station, 99 Wakefield Street, Adelaide during business hours.