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Emergency Lighting Blog

News and Information for Public Egress, Building Safety and Government Compliance

Monthly Archives: March 2016


Emergency Light Installation: What You Should Do Before

 

Emergency Light Installation

So you just received your new emergency light or lights. What do you do now? Install it of course. To install your unit, read the directions and consider the following for your emergency light’s longevity and your safety.

 

Electricity is Dangerous          

For you do it yourselfers out there, the consequences of installing emergency lights can be great. Shocks, burns, fatal electrocution and falls due to contact with electricity are all realistic dangers. If you are unsure that you can do it on your own, get the help of an electrician. It is important to remember that the light is connected to main power lines.

 

Disconnect Power

Keep disconnected or disconnect from power source while working on your emergency lights. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of people who accidently neglect this detail.

 

Charge Battery

A backup battery comes with most emergency. The main source of power comes from your electrical supply, while the battery powers the unit in case of fire or power outage.  To avoid the unnecessary work of recharging your battery in the near future, it’s best to make fully charge batteries before installation. Usually this takes a day.

 

Out of Reach

Your emergency lights must be reliable. LED lights typically last up to 10 years before major maintenance, but even these reliable lights suffer if damaged. The best way to prevent damage is to install your emergency lights high up, out of the reach of people and machines.

 

Avoid Heat

Don’t mount emergency lights near heat. Although the copper wiring used to conduct electricity withstands extreme temperatures, the plastic coating surrounding the copper cannot. Most new plastic coating can withstand temperatures of 190 degrees. Yet it is easy to reach those temperatures as heat is already coming from the wires contained within the plastic.

Electrical wiring has been known to degrade even in warm attics. Without the protection of the plastic coating, the wire can malfunction and become a fire hazard.

 

Be Flexible

To make installation easier, use flexible conduit instead of rigid conduit. Rigid conduit is hard to work with in tight spaces, and emergency lights are typically fastened tightly to the ceiling or wall. Before choosing the type of conduit, consult the manual or instructions included with your emergency lights. Typically, they will recommend flexible conduit, but this is not always the case.

 

Consult Your Manual

Installing your unit incorrectly creates unnecessary headaches in the future. By following the instructions carefully, you save yourself time in the long run.

 

To find quality and affordable emergency lights for your next installation check out our store. With our vast supply, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.

The 3 Types of Ballast You Should Know

Ballasts

Ballasts. At first glance they may seem straightforward, but there are a lot to the devices that control and start the flow of electricity to the light. In fact, they come in three varieties. Each have a unique set of benefits.

Magnetic Ballasts

First of all, we should let you know they are becoming less common. At one time, they were the most popular of ballasts, but recent events caused their usage to wane. The reason why? A number of the fluorescent lamps used in magnetic ballasts have been phased out. Recent legislation from the Department of Energy has prevented the production a number of the new products. Still, a number of consumers hold onto the oldest type of ballast.

The magnetic ballast may be derided for its inefficient power usage, but they offer a number of benefits. Magnetic ballasts are heartier, more able to withstand temperature extremes than its younger cousins: electrical and digital ballasts. For this reason, magnetic ballasts will continue to be in use for some time.

Electrical Ballasts

Introduced in 1981, electrical ballasts improved upon magnetic ballasts in one key area: energy efficiency.  The improvement is nothing to scoff at, as the Electric Power Research Institute believes lighting uses 20-25% of all electric power.  What effect does this have on your electric bill? A big one. Lighting accounts for approximately 40% of the average lighting bill. Electrical ballasts save energy by restricting the flow of power. They typically reduce power usage by  2-6 watts  over magnetic ballasts.

Apart from the savings on your electrical bill, electrical ballasts eliminate the annoyances of magnetic ballasts. You may have noticed a humming coming from a magnetic ballast. With electrical ballasts there is no humming.  When the light is turned on, electrical ballasts also reduce instances of flickering light. Last of all, they are lightweight and easier to install than other ballasts.

Digital Ballasts

Digital ballasts are the newest craze to hit the world of ballasts, and they have plenty of fanfare. Like electrical ballasts, they restrict power, only digital ballasts do it better. A microprocessor is included with each digital processor. Programmed to restrict power usage, the microprocessor monitors the lighting effectively. It is able to reduce power by operating on a high frequency. In fact, the light is much like a strobe light, only the flashes are so quick that it is unnoticeable. Magnetic ballasts will cycle at 50 times/second, while the digital ballasts cycle at 28, 860 times/second.

Using digital ballasts also prolongs the life of the fluorescent lamp. Over a year, digital ballasts will lose about 20 to 25% of their brightness. Other ballasts lose twice as much during that time. With the digital ballast the loss of luminescence is less noticeable, as the processors within ballasts make adjustments to compensate.

Last of all digital ballasts offer a number of safety features. Some include fans to keep the fluorescent lamp from overheating and suffering damage. The ballasts will also sense when something is wrong like a power short and automatically shut off until the situation is resolved.

With all these features it isn’t surprising that a number of industries have warmed up to digital ballasts. Industries like greenhouses and growers favor digital ballasts because they provide a reliable and steady stream of light that keeps electric costs low.

To find the best ballast for you, check out our store. With our supply of ballasts, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.