Trevor Sword believes that all Australian homes that have been insulated should be checked, following his own discovery.
Trevor Sword believes that all Australian homes that have been insulated should be checked, following his own discovery.

Beware of ceiling insulation

A GUT feeling that Copmanhurst man Trevor Sword had back in March may have saved his house from going up in smoke.

As the weather began to cool and he began turning on the heated downlights in his bathroom known as tastics, Trevor thought of the insulation he had paid Power Results Insulation to install a short time before.

By simply climbing up a ladder and having a look around in his ceiling, Trevor discovered that the tastics in his bathroom were indeed covered and this insulation went right up to the chimney in his home.

“To know how hot a tastic gets, all you have to do is stand under it. When a piece of insulation is pressed against that heat for long period of time, it dries out and becomes more combustible,” he said.

“If nothing is done about this, Tasmania is getting cooler and they will be the first to burn. That trail of house fires will follow up the east coast,” Trevor said.

After making this discovery, Trevor did two things.

He called Power Results and made contact with Federal MP Janelle Saffin’s office.

“I must admit in this situation, Power Results were very professional,” he said.

“I notified them of the problem and they came and fixed it.

“I also asked them to go and check my mother-in-law’s place. She had the same issues, which seemed to be systematic,” Trevor said.

Ms Saffin’s office put Trevor in touch with the Government Insulation Hotline.

According to Trevor, the conversation was a total waste of time.

“They didn’t really know what they were talking about,” he said.

“I was put down on the government’s list for getting an inspection but I was told that it was just a lottery system, your name goes in and you may or may not get pulled out,” he said.

Trevor went a little higher on the political ladder and got in touch with Greg Combet, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Mr Combet’s reply to Trevor was swift.

“The letter said that under no circumstances should tastics be covered by insulating material,” Trevor said.

“My concern is not for myself. My problems have been fixed. My concern is for the hundreds of thousands of other people who have not yet thought of this and go and light their fires in winter and turn on their downlights,” Trevor said.

Greg Combet’s response included:

Tastics, under the Home Insulation Program Guidelines, installers are required to follow the relevant Australian Standards ... if built-in appliances are present in the space to be insulated, thermal insulation shall not be placed around the appliance unless assurance has been obtained from the appliance manufacturer that safe operation of the appliance will not be jeopardised by the proposed placement of thermal insulation.



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