WorkSafe has noted a number of recent fires involving older combination bathroom heat/light/fan units (manufactured before 2008) and advises users with these units to visually check for signs of damage.

These incidents have been attributed to an identified design fault with several brands of the combination unit, which use plastic lamp holders for the heat lamps, which are known to deteriorate over time. In some cases, this has resulted in substantial fire damage to the property involved.

Energy Safety recommends that homeowners and landlords carry out visual checks on the old combination bathroom heat/light/fan unit, as mentioned above.

You must ensure the power is turned off to the unit before carrying out a visual check.

 Indicators to look out for when visually checking combination bathroom heat/light/fan units are:

  • The use of plastic lamp holders,
  • any signs of heat scorching, melting plastic, or burn marks.

Also be aware of:

  • The lights flickering abnormally,
  • any unusual smells,
  • any unusual noises which may indicate electrical arcing.

If any of these indicators present themselves, please stop using this unit immediately and contact a licenced electrical worker to have your combination bathroom heat/light/fan unit replaced.

If you are unsure or unable to determine if your combination bathroom heat/light/fan unit has plastic lamp holders, we recommend you contact a licenced electrical worker to have the units checked and replaced where required.

It appears most brands have performed voluntary safety recalls in Australia, due to the plastic lamp holder fitting failure. Owners should consult the recalls website to identify if there is a relevant recall with their combination unit or contact the supplier or manufacturer.

Images showing the results of fire damage to combination bathroom heat/light/fan Units with plastic lamp holders:

[image] a bathroom fan/light combo in a ceiling with substantial fire damage.
[image] a bathroom fan/light combo with substantial fire damage unit lying on the grass.
[image] example of a bulb with a plastic lamp holder circled in red.
An example of a plastic lamp holder.
[image] Example of a newer model with correct porcelain lamp holders circled in red.
An example of a newer model with the correct porcelain lamp holders


Energy Safety, part of WorkSafe New Zealand, is the regulator for ensuring the safe supply and use of electricity and gas in New Zealand.

Energy Safety are NOT an emergency response service. If you are reporting an immediate hazard such as the smell of gas or fallen powerlines, call 111 immediately.

Non-workplace events may be reported on our notifications(external link) page.