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Are Fire Hoods A Requirement For Ceiling Speakers?

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Are Fire Hoods A Requirement For Ceiling Speakers?
By Craig Walker 2 years ago 6168 Views No comments

Fire hoods probably aren't the first thing you think of when you're considering in ceiling speakers, so we've written a brief guide to help you understand what they are, why you might want to add some to your project and we've also outlined the best (and cheapest!) options.


What Is a Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood For?


It's a common misconception that a ceiling speaker fire hood is there to protect the speaker.. however this isn't the case at all.

The regulations state that if you cut a hole in the fabric of your building then you should replace it with something of at least the same fire and acoustic rating as what you've removed.

Let's say you are putting some speakers in your kitchen, and above it is your bedroom...

Now touch wood this will never happen to you but if your kitchen caught fire your ceiling speaker will melt away in a matter of minutes leaving a big un-protected hole in the ceiling for the fire to spread through.

However with a ceiling speaker fire hood fitted the integrity of the ceiling is protected, with some fire hoods rated at up to 90 minutes in compliance with BS EN1361-1


Do I HAVE To Have Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods?


There's plenty of confusion in the industry about when and where in ceiling speakers will require a fire hood. Getting this wrong can be extremely costly.

Insurance companies are increasingly rejecting claims for fire damage on the basis that the building's fire integrity has been impaired by the installation of equipment into walls and ceilings, and in wall/ceiling speakers represent a serious breach to the integrity of the structure they are fitted to, in terms of fire, acoustics and heat loss.

The basic premise of the regulations state that it is the home owners, and installers responsibility to take measures to maintain these properties when installing equipment within the fabric of the building.

And therein lies the problem.

It can be argued that measures will always need to be taken no matter where in the building speakers are installed.

It is commonly accepted that wherever there is a habitable room above and the floor is made from timber / chip board etc then fire hoods are absolutely a requirement, but what of some of the other situations.


I'm installing speakers in a bedroom with only loft space above. Do I need to fit fire hoods?


There is some inconsistency between individual Building Control Officers on their interpretation of the regulations, but many are now insisting that all speakers are covered. All the major developers we dealt with as installers (Redrow, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway etc) insist on them on all speakers. The size of hole required for in ceiling speakers means that the ceiling's thermal, acoustic and fire rating is severely impaired and the thin paper cone of the speaker offers practically no remedy to the damage done.

If you are planning to install in ceiling speakers without hoods anywhere within a property, then permission should be sought from the relevant Building Control Officer.

If they agree to no hoods being fitted, we'd recommend you ask for this in writing and keep the document stored safely for future reference. We'd also recommend you ask the home owner to sign a Disclaimer of Responsibility which makes it clear that the owner accepts responsibility, and understand that in the event of a fire, any insurance claim could be affected.


I'm installing speakers in a pitched roof. Do I need to fit fire hoods?


As with the answer above, the installer has a responsibility to maintain the thermal properties of the structure. With a pitched roof you will typically have to cut approximately 2 cubic foot of thermal insulation away to accommodate the speaker causing a serious breach to the thermal properties of the ceiling. The thin cone of the speaker will do practically nothing to restore the ceilings thermal properties. The Firetopper Pro has a high level of thermal insulation due to the air trapped in the acoustic foam layer, restoring most of the thermal insulation lost by cutting away the Kingspan or other insulating material. We'd also recommend filling any remaining cavity cut away with Rockwool.


I'm installing speakers in a suspended ceiling with a concrete floor above. Do I need to fit fire hoods?


The first thing you need to find out is wether the void between the ceiling and the concrete floor above is a Plenum Space. Plenum spaces are the open spaces above the ceiling or below the floor that are used for air circulation. If the void is a Plenum Space, then yes, fire hoods will be required. If not, you'll still need to consider the other factors so again if you are planning to install in ceiling speakers without a hood, written permission should be sought from the Building Control Officer, and disclaimers put in place.


I'm installing in wall speakers in an internal stud wall? Do I need to fit fire hoods?


If the adjoining room forms part of a Fire Escape Route, then yes, fire hoods will be required. If not, then again seek advice from your building control officer and make sure you have your disclaimer in place.


Top 5 Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods


Here's a list of the top ceiling speaker fire hoods, including cheap ceiling speaker fire hoods (cheap, but fully compliant!) and ranging up to the top of the range acoustic fire hoods,


1. Lithe Audio 250 Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Lithe Audio 250 Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Pros - Cheapest fully compliant hood on the market

Cons - No acoustic properties.

£29.99 each

See Them Here


2. Fire Topper PRO Acoustic Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Firetopper PRO Acoustic & Fire Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Pros - Fire & Acoustic rated, reduces sound leakage from speaker

Cons - None

£44.60 each

See Them Here


3. Lithe Audio 270 Acoustic Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Lithe Audio 270 Fire & Acoustic Ceiling Speaker Fire Hood

Pros - Fire & Acoustic rated, reduces sound leakage from speaker

Cons - None

£49.99 each

See Them Here


4. Hoody Speaker Hoods

Hoody Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods

Pros - Fire & Acoustic rated, reduces sound leakage from speaker

Cons - Not the cheapest on the market, but certainly the original and highly regarded brand.

From £45.99 each

See Them Here


5. Q Install Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods

Q Install Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods

Pros - Fire & Acoustic, Wider range than other manufacturers including in wall speaker fire hoods

Cons - Little bit more expensive than others

From £50 each

See Them Here


If in doubt please contact one of our experts on 02392 006118 and we will be happy to advise further.

Credit - Parts of this guide have been written by Neil Taylor from FireTopper - Manufacturer of one of the best fire & acoustics hoods on the market. Check them out here - FireTopper Ceiling Speaker Fire Hoods