Austech looks into the dangers of the Home Insulation Scheme

News /
29 April 2010
Austech looks into the dangers of the Home Insulation Scheme

With the demise of the Federal Government's $3.9 Billion Energy Efficient Homes Program came the revelation that as many as 1.1 million Australian homes may be in danger of hazardous installation practices that have already caused countless house fires.

The government will be inspecting some of the homes insulated under the scheme, but this will take months and many won’t be inspected, so what can you do to check if your home is safe now?

Some of the most common problems include:

  1. Laying batts directly over downlights.
  2. Not removing old blown insulation properly, resulting in old insulation building up around downlights.
  3. Not sticking to the minimum 200mm clearance around downlights.
  4. Insulation interfering with other electrical products in the roof.
  5. Dust, dirt and dangerous chemicals entering the home through openings in the ceiling (through downlights and exhaust fans).

Issue 1-3 can all be solved by installing downlight safety hoods. Isolite Downlight Guards can be placed right next to insulation, so once installed there is no need for the 200mm clearance, improving your energy efficiency and safety.

When the insulation is over the downlight, simply cut a hole big enough for the guard and push the insulation around the guard (not over it) Isolite Downlight Guards also prevent old insulation, dust and ceiling debris from touching the downlight, dramatically improving safety.

It’s not only downlights that can cause fires. One confirmed fire was ignited when insulation caused an exhaust fan to catch fire. For standard exhaust fans, Austech recommends installing DraftStoppas. DraftStoppas stop insulation and other materials coming into contact with the exhaust fan, reducing the risk of fire.

It is estimated that 30-40% of Batts used in the scheme are non compliant with Australian standards. These Chinese knockoffs often don’t have the R-value stated, or worse, have been proven to contain dangerous levels of chemicals like formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic. These chemicals, as well as dust, debris and old insulation filter down into the home though openings. Isolite Downlight Covers and DraftStoppas limit tainted air re-entering the home through openings, creating a cleaner home with better air quality.

Both Isolite Downlight Covers and DraftStoppas can be installed by the home owner, reducing costs and risk from further installers. Austech’s online shop ( sells Isolites and DraftStoppas, plus a variety of other products to meet your renovation needs. delivers Australia wide and can provide you with installation instructions.

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