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        How To Maintain An Emergency Exit Light & Sign

        by Andrew Aranovitch  ■  Updated: March 10, 2022
        How To Maintain An Emergency Exit Light image

        Table of Contents


        Emergency exit lights are required in most commercial buildings and workplaces to ensure the safety of all staff and customers during a fire or power outage emergency.
        This post will discuss typical methods to test and maintain an emergency exit light.

        Test the light before you begin to maintain the emergency exit light. 

        Sparky Direct Pro Tip: There is a push-button test switch on each emergency or exit light fitting (near the LED indicator) - push this button in, and the loss of power will put the emergency light into emergency mode

        how to press test button on exit and emergency light

        As per Australian and New Zealand Standards AS/NZS2293, every six months, all exits and emergency lights must be tested to ensure they will run for 90 minutes on battery in the event of a power loss. The duration test results, any defects/non-conformances, and maintenance history must be recorded in a logbook.

        There are three ways of testing the exit and emergency light fittings, and it depends on how the original fittings were or are to be installed in the building.

        • Manual Testing – The power going to the dedicated circuit will need to be switched off in the switchboard for a minimum of 90 minutes. The technician will then complete a site walkthrough to ensure all lights remain illuminated. 
          The power can be turned off manually via the circuit breaker or an emergency test switch. This test switch has a built-in timer that will interrupt the power for the testing time and then automatically switch back on after the testing time frame is complete. In commercial buildings, this is the preferred test method.
        • Automatic Self Test Systems – Fittings are automatically tested every six months. A walkthrough is completed within seven days to check the status of the LED indicators on each fitting. Each fitting will display a pass/fail result on the LED status indicator.
        • Computerised Automatic programmed testing systems – Fittings automatically test every six months or as required. A report can then be produced to show the status of each fitting, usually used on major commercial projects, to save many hours of manual inspections.

        Clean the exit or emergency light 

        Clean the emergency light fittings every six months with a clean cloth and a mild cleaning agent. Remove cobwebs, spiders and other insects that may like making a home in these illuminated boxes.

        Inspect the exit and emergency light 

        Inspect the emergency light fittings for damage or wear and tear. If the emergency light fittings are damaged or worn, replace them.

        What if the exit light or emergency fitting fails the 6 monthly test?

        If the emergency light fitting or exit sign is damaged and does not last the 90-minute test, you may need to replace it. This could mean replacing the battery and light tube or LED strip, or it could be quicker and more cost-efficient to replace the damaged fitting with a completely new fitting. 

        A client must factor in the time taken to replace the parts, the ability to source spare parts, the labour costs to exchange the part compared to replacing the complete fitting.


        Do emergency and exit lights need to be on a dedicated circuit? 

        Yes, since 2006, Australian Standards have required that the circuit for new or modified Exit and Emergency Lighting systems be separate from the general lighting.

        Do emergency lights have to be hardwired?

        Yes, the emergency and exit light fittings must be hardwired to their own designated circuit.

        Does emergency lighting have to be wired in the fire-rated cable?

        No, standard electrical insulated cable is sufficient for most small commercial applications. Please check with your local authority and electrician before choosing the cable type for the installation.

        Conclusion on how to maintain an emergency exit light:

        This article concludes that emergency exit lights should be kept in optimal working conditions at all times. This includes checking the lightbulbs, cleaning the lens, and checking the wiring. If any of these are not working or have failed, the emergency exit light should be replaced.

        An emergency exit light is a critical piece of safety equipment. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that the light is working correctly and will be there when you need it most.

        Learn more about Exit & Emergency Exit Signs in our updated blog post.