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Exit signs and emergency lighting systems are used as a vital source of light that comes on automatically during power outages. They are mandatory in commercial, residential, government (i.e. police stations, fire stations etc.) buildings that require light at all times even during a power outage. For this reason, having efficient and long-lasting exit and emergency light batteries is imperative for a proper emergency evacuation plan. Providing back up batteries for exit signs and emergency lighting is necessary for building code compliance and keeping building occupants’ safe. Buildings that do not feature a back-up generator that keeps the exit and emergency lighting systems functional during a power outage are required to have exit signs with battery back-up, all of which use efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide brilliant red or green illuminations.
LED Exit Signs
LED exit signs have become the standard of efficiency for electrical exit sign applications. Consuming less than five watts of electricity, they are an affordable alternative to conventional exit signs with light bulbs. Their long lifespan and low energy use minimizes maintenance costs and improves building safety. Nickel cadmium (NiCd) and sealed lead acid (SLA) emergency lighting batteries are rechargeable, operated with relatively low voltage of around 6 to 12 volts, and can give up to 90 minutes or more of back up illuminating energy.
Two Common Battery Types: Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
Proper testing will extend the life of batteries serving emergency lighting or exit signs. However, there are many factors that affect battery life such as extreme temperatures that makes it impossible to set an iron clad rule on how long a specific battery should last. The two most commonly used battery types for emergency lighting are sealed lead acid and nickel cadmium. While the equipment manufacturer would be the best source for information on battery life, a maintenance-free sealed lead acid battery has a life expectancy of 5 to 7 years as long as it is maintained at an optimal temperature range. A maintenance-free nickel cadmium battery has an estimated service life of 10 to 15 years.
Dual Powered Exit Signs
Today most exit signs are dual powered. Two of the bulbs are on at all times, using AC power. The second set of bulbs (DC bulbs) is powered by the internal back-up battery. The exit sign battery or emergency light battery kicks into action if the AC power fails for any reason. These batteries are located in exit signs for emergency back-up purposes only; they are not powerful enough or large enough to keep an exit sign on for an extended period of time. Exit signs which have a back up battery have a small switch or a small test button on the side or on the front of the exit sign. The test button will check the effectiveness of your back up battery by lighting up the DC bulbs. If after pushing this test button the DC bulbs do not activate, then your unit is not functioning properly and you will need to replace your exit sign battery or emergency light battery. The emergency back up battery is typically located in a compartment right above the word ‘Exit’.
If you find that your exit sign is not lit or only halfway lit when connected to the normal AC power supply, you may need to replace your bulbs. You can access these bulbs through removal of the faceplate of your exit sign. You will see the AC bulbs which are the long screw-in types as well as the DC bulbs which are smaller and powered by the back up battery.
When ordering exit sign and emergency lighting batteries for your current exit sign(s), it is important to know what the type, voltage (v) and amperage (Ah) are for the battery that you are replacing. You will want to find a manufacturer that offers a full line of sealed lead acid and nickel cadmium replacement exit sign and emergency lighting replacement batteries. For more questions or to find the best emergency lighting nickel cadmium NiCd or sealed lead acid SLA batteries in your area, visit ZeusBatteryProducts.com or call 877-469-4255.