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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 electrical devices such as:

  • downlights
  • hot water services
  • transformers
  • 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 with insulation, debris, vermin and bird activity 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.

Any electrical work conducted in the roof space of your home must be carried out by an appropriately licensed tradesperson. The MFS also strongly recommends that there is appropriate clearance around all devices that generate heat to reduce the chance of those devices overheating and causing a fire.

All of these devices 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 June 2019.  Householders should check with the OTR ( or AS 3000 for any future changes.

Guidelines to maintain clearances

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 due to its very high temperatures and dusty environment.)

For further advice:


Phone: (08) 8204 3611

Country Callers: 1300 737 637

Want more information about electrical safety?

Look at our Electrical Hazards Fact Sheet