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Burnt Out Exit Lights: What to Do & How to Replace

Posted on: March 18, 2016

As a business owner or building manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure your emergency lighting system is fully functional at all times. This responsibility isn’t just for the sake of your staff and customers; it’s also necessary to ensure you remain in compliance with OSHA and LIFE SAFETY codes to avoid costly fines.

Installing emergency lights and exits signs is obviously a vital first step, but what if your exit lights burn out? What do you do then? Follow this guide to get you back in compliance as quickly as possible.

Find Out Why the Sign Isn’t Lit

Your first thought might be that the exit sign light bulb has burned out. Actually, determining the problem isn’t this simple. You have three components you need to check:

  • Main bulbs: Every exit sign in your building should remain illuminated 24/7/365. If you have a maintained emergency light system, your exit sign has one or more main bulbs that glow at all times, switching from the main power to battery power in an emergency. This is the component you need to check first.
  • Low-voltage bulb: In a sustained emergency light system, a secondary, low-voltage bulb is powered by a battery and only functions when the power goes out. If this bulb is burned out, the exit sign will fail to glow in an emergency.
  • Reserve battery: Defective batteries may still maintain enough power to illuminate a low-voltage bulb for a few seconds after the power goes out. In this case, nothing is wrong with the bulb, but the battery needs some attention.

Replace the Necessary Component

Once you know what’s wrong with your exit sign, you can replace the defective component. Remove the front panel of the exit sign and locate the bulbs or battery, whichever is giving you trouble. Remove the damaged part and swap it out with a compatible replacement. If you have trouble removing the front panel, locating the damaged component or ordering a replacement part, call in a professional for additional help.

Replace the Entire Exit Sign

If you have an older exit sign that runs on incandescent bulbs, you may be tired of the frequent need to replace burned out bulbs. LED exit signs last for decades without burning out, making this a convenient upgrade. Plus, LEDs consume less energy than incandescent bulbs, saving you money over the lifetime of the exit sign.

Replacing an exit sign is a fairly straightforward, do-it-yourself job if you have a bit of experience with electrical work. If you lack the experience or don’t have the time, leave the job to an emergency lighting technician.

Call a Professional for Help Making Replacements

Whether you need a bulb or battery replaced, or a whole new exit sign installed, Confires has you covered. We have over 30 years of experience providing emergency lighting and fire protection services to our customers in New Jersey, Delaware, and Philadelphia.

Please contact us for all your emergency lighting needs, including testing, repairs and replacements.

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