Can I put Loft Insulation over Downlights?
In order to achieve Part L Compliance (Energy Efficiency) you shouldn't cut around thermal insulation. Cutting around thermal insulation was a standard practice in the early days of recessed downlight installations as it was your only option. If you do this your home or building will not be energy efficient as valuable heat will escape through the hole of the downlight. A downlight can act like a chimney and draw out warm, rising air from a room, up into the cold space above, the effect would be considerably worse in upper floors containing lofts.
This poses the question: Can I put loft insulation over downlights? The answer to this used be no, but with the arrival of the loft lid you can now have an energy efficient and safe lighting installation. The loft lid creates a barrier between the downlight and the thermal insulation. The insulation can then be laid over the loft lid and packed to the sides if necessary.
Loft caps or loft lids for downlights can be used with either fire rated or non fire rated downlights. When used with a non fire rated downlight the Loft Leg version doesn't provide fire protection, so they're better suited with fire rated downlights. Fire rated downlights are recommended in homes, more information is available here.
The images below show the loft lid in action:
Alternatively if you're starting a brand new lighting installation you could install insulation coverable downlights such as the Aurora EFD Pro range (replaces the Aurora Sola range). The Aurora EFD Pro are fire rated GU10 downlights. They have been specially designed to allow you to cover them with insulation when a GU10 LED is fitted (as opposed to a GU10 halogen, which are now banned anyway).
Or if you would prefer an integrated LED downlight then we now have a selection available that can be covered in insulation. Including the JCC V50 (shown below) which is insulation covereable as standard and has a compact design.
When you're covering downlights with insulation it is important not to pack the insulation to close around the sides. A gap of around 75mm is usually recommended but can differ from each product. This provides airflow to the LED and will allow it to ventilate.
In late 2014 Hellermann Tyton introduced a universal type of insulation cover cap called the SpotClip. This product can be used with a wider selection of downlights and is available in 3 sizes. This cover cap offers a more cost effective solution than the loft lid but doesn't provide any fire protection. It can be a great product to be used with certain integrated LED downlights that aren't insulation covereable as standard.