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Emergency Light Servicing: Battery Testing and Replacement

Oct. 24, 2022

Building codes require buildings to have emergency lighting in place. When the power goes out, emergency lights illuminate the way to an exit. Most buildings don’t have their own backup generator, so battery-operated emergency lights are installed. Batteries have a limited service life, so testing and replacing them will help make sure your emergency lights come on when they are needed.


Emergency Light Servicing: Battery Testing and Replacement

Service Life of Batteries and the Need for Testing

Typically, a sealed lead acid battery has a service life of 2–3 years and a nickel cadmium battery could last up to 5-6 years. The service life is related to type of battery, ambient temperature, and other factors. There is no reliable way to tell how long a specific battery will last without testing it.

Emergency Light Servicing: Battery Testing and Replacement

Battery Testing Requirements

To help ensure their reliability, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and the International Fire Code require battery-operated emergency lights to be tested as follows:

● Monthly functional test for 30 seconds

● Annual load test for 90-minutes.

Testing is conducted by a technician trained on the testing procedures.


Training for Performing the Load Test

Emergency lights have a test button for the 30-second test that shows the lamps work and the battery is connected. Pushing that button isn’t a valid test for battery’s capability. The 90-minute load-test assures that the battery provides power to the unit and will provide emergency illumination for the minimum 90 minute duration required by code.


Technicians that attend the Emergency Lighting Training Class, receive the required training that provides the necessary knowledge to perform the 90 minute test and determine when batteries need replacement. Technicians that successfully complete the program receive a certificate.

Emergency Light Servicing: Battery Testing and Replacement


Example Calculation of Revenue

By testing and replacing batteries in exit signs and emergency lights, you’ll not only be improving the safety in every building that you visit, but you’ll be improving your bottom line.

Here’s an example using the 6V/4 Ah batteries (P/N PRB64) at a price of $30 and selling 4 batteries per day: 4 batteries per day x $30 per battery x 5 days per week x 50 weeks per year = $30,000 per year.

This is an example of how to determine sales.

So take a moment and plug in the price your company charges for an emergency lighting battery and the number of batteries that you’ll likely sell.


Maximize Your Revenue

Since exit signs and emergency lights are the most neglected safety equipment in buildings, there are improvement opportunities in almost every building. Emergency lights are easy to service and you’ll not only increase profits, but you’ll be improving safety for building occupants.

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