Ask an Expert
Discuss My Needs
Discuss My Needs
Ask an Expert
Keyes Life Safety

Our Life Safety educational resource hub is full of healthcare knowledge to help you be better informed of the changing world around you. 

Rather than sit back and act on decisions made by others, we are leading the charge as it relates to identifying best practices for Life Safety Code® and compliance. We have real people that give our clients real information that can be put into practice.

Interested in reading our experts' take on Life Safety? Then subscribe to our free blog below! We discuss readers' questions, share interesting observations from the field, and more.

Light Fixture Inside HVAC Unit

by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Sep 25, 2020 1:00:46 AM

Q: So, I have an odd question for you regarding lighting within an air handling unit that is not sprinkled within a building that is sprinkled. Recently our HVAC department upgraded an air handler and in doing so replaced the old sealed glass blub lighting within the unit with 4-foot LED lights that are weatherproof but have a plastic outer cover. Is this allowed under the code? My gut is telling me no, because why else would the old lighting have been sealed and have a glass cover.

A: You have good reason to be concerned. According to section of NFPA 90A-2012, the standard referenced by the 2012 Life Safety Code for HVAC air handlers, light diffusers, other than those made of metal or glass, used in air-handling light fixtures shall be listed and marked “Fixture Light Diffusers for Air-Handling Fixtures.”

Also, section allows recessed lighting fixtures including cable ties and other discrete products in the ceiling cavity of a plenum where they are listed as having a maximum peak optical density of 0.5 or less, an average optical density of 0.15 or less, and a peak heat release rate of 100 kW or less when tested in accordance with ANSI/UL 2043, Standard for Safety Fire Test for Heat and Visible Smoke Release for Discrete Products and Their Accessories Installed in Air-Handling Spaces.

So, unless that LED light fixture meets ANSI/UL 2034, or is listed and marked “Fixture Light Diffusers for Air-Handling Fixtures” it would not be permitted inside the air handler. Good catch on your part.


Real people. Real solutions.

We help you be better informed of the changing world around you.  Our life safety blog answers your real world questions! 



Subscribe to Updates

We care and want to help.

We want to help coach, guide, and navigate you through all things Life Safety.