Since the Australian Federal Government’s roof and ceiling insulation rebate program there have been four recorded deaths of insulation installers because of foil insulation coming into contact with live electrical wires and faults.
Generally speaking foil insulation in new houses is considered to be very safe. Installation in older houses however can be a problem …
Usually foil insulation is only used in new house installations. With the Australian Government’s $1200 rebate that they have been offering however there have been a large number of older homes having foil insulation installed in the ceilings. Some of the older houses have live electrical faults and when the foil insulation comes into contact with these faults, or staples are put through the electrical wires, the electrical current is then conducted throughout the foil insulation.
According to this article on ABC there are about 37,000 homes that have had foil insulation installed and according to an Australian Government audit five out of every 400 or so of those houses have “live ceilings”. They say that would mean about 400 – 500 houses in Australia right now are in a very dangerous situation.
On Tuesday the Australian government banned the use of foil insulation in their rebate program.
The only way to find out if a roof or ceiling with foil insulation is electrically live is for an electrician to be hired to test the installation, at the expense of the home owner. If the electrician finds that the foil insulation in live then they should be able to be compensated by the company that did the installation, otherwise for the moment they are out of pocket the expense of the electrical test.