Can I convert my existing light to be double insulated?
Double insulated lighting has been around for about 20 years and is basically a specialist form of lighting that can be fitted when a home doesn’t have an earth connection in its lighting circuit. Typically, homes built before the mid 1960s only tended to have the live and neutral wiring installed and this is no longer safe or appropriate for modern lighting. Take a look at any modern lighting retailer and you will find their ranges comprise mostly of metallic lights. Metal obviously conducts electricity and lights that use halogen can create heat, which over time can degrade wiring and potentially cause a safety problem. Obviously, today a lot of light fittings now use LED which creates very little heat, however double insulated lights are still required as any minor fault can still have disastrous consequences.
From time to time we are asked if a customer can take an existing non-double insulated light and have it converted to class 2 double insulated. We have actually received an enquiry today from a customer who desperately wants to do this because they love their existing lights so much! Unfortunately, it’s not good news.
What makes a double insulated light different to s standard light is how it has been wired. The shell of the light fitting, which is normally metallic, needs to be protected from any loose or damaged wires. The wiring on a double insulated light has additional layers of installation that do this job. Though this may sound quite simple you have to bear in mind that manufacturers of these products have to have each original product tested to ensure it complies. This testing is not a cheap process. It may be cost effective for a manufacturer of double insulated lights to pay the thousands of pounds required to test when they are going to manufacture a few hundred thousand individual products but if a single product was to be tested it wouldn’t be.
The companies also employ experts who know the rules and regulations of the lighting industry inside out. Attempting to change the class of a light fitting may also have a knock-on effect to the lights IP-rating which would undermine it’s ability to be fitted in your home. It is certainly not a DIY job to attempt it.
The last thing that also has a bearing upon the reason you cannot convert an existing light to double insulated is your home insurance. If you try and change the class of the light you are physically changing its characteristics and the state it was safety tested in originally. Should the light cause an accident through electrocution or fire, your insurance would not be valid as the product has been mis-used. Even an electrician is not allowed to change the class of a light to double insulated, for this very reason.
Unfortunately, a lot of people will be disappointed to read this blogpost but rest assured, this isn’t just about following rules! It’s about health, safety & potential serious harm.
If you have any questions regarding double insulated lighting, then you can give us a call on 024 7671 7043 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org