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Selection, Placement, Installation - FAQs

"Safety doesn’t happen by accident." – Author Unknown

Find the answers to many common question about Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs. If you're still stuck, Call or Live Chat with our Customer Service Experts.


Top Asked Questions

How often should I test my Emergency Lights and Exit Signs?

You are required by law to test your exit and emergency lighting regularly. According to NFPA 101 Life Safety Codes, Emergency Lighting Units should be tested monthly for 30 seconds, and annually for 90 minutes. In addition to ensuring that the units function correctly, these also contribute to the maintenance of the battery. Please visit our "Maintenance Resource Guide" for more information on how to test and maintain your Emergency and Exit Signs.

Are there “Battery-Powered” Exit Signs?

There is no such thing as a “Battery-Powered” Exit Sign that meets the codes set out in NFPA 101. Battery Backup Exit Signs contain an internal battery that provides power to the Exit Sign when the electricity goes out. These Battery Backup Exit Signs have to be hard-wired to your building's electricity in order for the battery to work on Emergency Mode. We have a variety of Battery Backup Exit Signs which will illuminate the Exit Sign for around 90 minutes in the event of power failure.

Do batteries recharge after power returns to an Exit/Emergency light?

Yes. Once the electricity has returned to the building, the depleted battery will automatically begin recharging. Unfortunately, these batteries don't last forever. Rechargeable batteries will lose their ability to fully recharge after some time. It may be necessary to purchase a new replacement battery to keep your Exit Sign or Emergency Light in compliance with Code Requirements for 90 minute battery operation.

How do I install Exit Signs and Emergency Lights?

DISCLAIMER: The Exit Light Company recommends a Licensed Electrician install Egress Lighting. Do not attempt unless you are qualified. Neglecting this disclaimer may void the product warranty and cause serious injury or death. The Exit Light Company will not be held responsible for injury or death due to faulty installation.

"Exit Sign Installation Guide"

How do I test Emergency Lights and Exit Signs?

For non self-testing units, look for a small "Push to Test" button that cuts power to the unit, sending it into emergency mode. For your required monthly test, push and hold this button for thirty seconds to test the bulbs and battery. If the light or sign illuminates when holding the test button and maintains a consistent brightness for the full thirty seconds, your unit has passed the test. If the lights dim or don't turn on, you will need to contact an electrician to troubleshoot.


Questions about Emergency Lighting


Do I need Emergency Lighting?

The law requires adequate and reliable illumination for all exits and paths of egress. A number of established codes from OSHA, NFPA and others govern the installation, inspection and testing of exit egress lights. Additionally, some individual jurisdictions have their own unique codes. Consult with your cities' Fire Marshall or Inspector to confirm the correct configuration and requirements of Exit Lighting.

How long does an Emergency Light stay on for?

When the electricity goes out and the Emergency Mode begins, an emergency light must operate for a minimum of 90 minutes according to NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.

What is the difference between damp and wet location emergency lighting?

A damp location is an exterior or interior location that is normally or periodically exposed to condensation of moisture or humidity near electrical equipment. A wet location is defined as an area in which water or other liquids can drip, splash or otherwise come into direct contact with electrical equipment.

Can I wire an emergency light/exit sign to a cord and plug so that it can be plugged into a wall outlet?

Modification of any exit or emergency lights sold by The Exit Light Co., Inc. done by anyone other than The Exit Light Co., Inc. voids the warranty provided for said product. Code allows for a cord to be added but limits it’s length to less than 36”. We can add a cord to many products, just ask.



Questions about Exit Signs

What color Exit Sign do I need?

In the United States, Exit Signs can have either red or green lettering, but in most cases red is the safer bet. Many states and cities have enacted their own building codes specifying the color sign required. For example, in New York & Chicago, Exit Signs must have red letters. Many states allow either Red or Green lettering Exit Signs, but have a recommended color. Consult your cities' Fire Marshall or inspector to help determine the right exit sign for you.

Do exit signs have to be lit?

NFPA specifies the requirements for illumination of exit signs. This set of codes requires that all exit signs should be suitably illuminated via a reliable source of light. They must also put out at least an average of 1 foot-candle and never less than .1 foot-candle. In case of power outage, they must remain lit for a minimum of 90 minutes.

What is the letter height requirement for exit signs?

NFPA 7.10.6.1.1 states that Exit Sign lettering should be no less than 6" tall, although certain jurisdictions like New York City require the lettering height to be 8" tall.

How high can an exit sign be mounted?

According to NFPA 101 Life Safety Code: The bottom of new egress markings shall be located at a vertical distance of not more than 6ft 8 in. (2030 mm) above the top edge of the egress opening intended for designation by that marking. - 7.10.1.9

What are the requirements for an Emergency Exit?

The code is pretty specific in requirements which can be viewed at our NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Page.

How do Power Free Exit Signs work?

Power-free or “wireless” Exit Signs do not need to be hard-wired to a building’s electricity. Instead they receive their illumination from other energy sources. Photoluminescent Exit Signs, for example, are illuminated via the action of photoluminescence. Energy in the form of light is absorbed by the special coating and stored in much the same way as a “glow-in-the-dark” toy. This stored energy is then re-emitted as light, making the light "glow". Visit our "Photoluminescent Exit Signs Resource Guide" for more information.

Tritium Exit Signs use tubes filled with tritium gas that stay illuminated for either 10 or 20 years, depending on the model chosen. These require no maintenance, power, or charging but still emit enough light to meet code. Tritium is used in many applications such as watch dials and optical sights. Visit our "Tritium Exit Sign Resource Guide" for more information.

Why is so much information required to purchase a Tritium Exit Sign?

Self-luminous Tritium Exit Signs are required by law to be registered with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Before an order can be processed for shipment, there is necessary information that needs to be collected on the End User (where the tritium exit signs will actually be installed). Learn more about Tritium Signs and their requirements at our "Tritium Exit Sign Resource Guide".




Can buying a new Exit Sign or Emergency Light save money on my energy bill?

Possibly. If you have an older unit, newer technologies (LED vs incandescent) usually require less watt consumption, helping to keep your energy bill lower. You may want to consider Power-Free Exit Signs like Tritium or Photoluminescent, or replacing the old lamps in your Emergency Light Fixture with LED lamps. For more Energy Saving Tips, visit our "Energy Saving Tips Resource Guide".

How do I know your products will work in the case of an emergency?

By law, all our Exit Signs and Emergency Lighting have been tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). This certifies the product has been tested to meet or exceed all necessary standards set out by code. Learn more about these Certifications in our "NRTL Certifications Resource Guide"

What are the different types of Emergency lighting?

One common feature of all exit signs and emergency lights is that they require some method of illumination. These illumination types include low energy consumption LED, Incandescent, Halogen and more. When browsing our emergency light fixtures, look for the "Info Icon" which will display what method of Illumination that unit uses. To learn more about the different types of Illumination, visit our "Types of Illumination Resource Guide".

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