Everyone loves a bargain but it is crucial that the product you buy complies with minimum safety standards. Sodium discharge lamps in particular present a certain risk potential. Any electrical appliance can cause a fire, but sodium lamps consume a lot of power and high currents (amperage) flow through them.
For this reason they must comply with a number of standards. For instance, a European Union directive stipulates that high pressure sodium lamps must be equipped with a thermal fuse. The thermal fuse switches the device off automatically if it overheats. Once the device has cooled down again, it switches back on again.
Unfortunately, many suppliers in our market buy lamp ballasts that are not equipped with these fuses. In the Netherlands, for instance, there is a very low awareness of the potential danger this poses. Consumers cannot tell from looking at a lamp whether it is equipped with a thermal fuse or not and tend to choose a product without a thermal fuse, as these are usually between 5 and 10 Euros cheaper.
The consequences can be very serious. A fire that starts in the ballast often spreads through the wiring and can cause fires that destroy entire houses or blocks of flats.
In legal terms, liability for this kind of damage lies with the vendor who sold the product. However, it is the consumer who suffers the true damage and the heartbreak of losing their possessions and property.
We strongly recommend that you buy lamp ballasts only from reputable producers of branded products.
So far, we have been able to ascertain that Philips and GIB Lighting use thermal fuses. Should other manufacturers like to be listed here, we request that they contact us and send us a device for examination.
For further information, please check:
EU Directives EN 60598-1 and EN 62035 Annex C