One of the most important tasks of lighting in a modern building is to help
people find their way out of a building when there is a fire or an emergency.
That's where exits along with emergency illumination become a critical
working item. They must simply be working at all times, not so building
owners won't get cited for faulty equipment, but for helping people escape.
There are many types of exit sign light bulbs on the market because so many sign
companies have used various product in the past. There are several general
categories of sign bulbs which include incandescent, fluorescent, self luminous
and LED sources. For most people that are constructing a new building, the
LED or light emitting diode exit is what is being specified most often in new
spaces. The reason is that they have an extremely long life where the LED
lamps will last for 10 to 20 years and the correct amount of illumination that
meets code. They've also come down in price a lot as well.
For most older facilities that have not retrofitted to LED technology, there
are still the incandescent variety which includes the
15T6 and the
which have a tubular shape. They were used for many decades as the lamp of
choice in exit signs but much of that changed once more efficient light sources
came about. They are tubular in shape and hence the designation with the
letter T. They have a long filament inside which does make them vulnerable
to things like vibration which is another reason people have been switching from
those to fluorescent or LED sources. We still have them available though
and there are many people that still use them. For those of you who may
have these, you may want to consider going to a LED retrofit or to a fluorescent
source and in some cases, if the sign is just really old, you may want to
consider changing those out. Another light source that was mentioned as
one of the exit sign light bulbs used today are the Dulux or PL lamps that are a
fluorescent light and operates on a ballast, but it too has largely been
replaced by LED light source. As with all fluorescent bulbs, they rely on
ballasts inside of the fixtures or units to make them work. The ballast is
important because it is specific for each type of lamp. You can't change
from one type of fluorescent to another without changing the ballast in most
One of the other types of exit sign light bulbs that was mentioned is something
called self-luminous and it's really wrong to call it a light bulb anyway.
It's a tritium based isotope which is enclosed in a tubular element. It
really isn't a light bulb at all and it's an integral part of the exit, in
other words, it's never replaced like a bulb. It generally last for at
least 25 years and is used a lot in places where there is no electrical line as
these do not have any electrical connection because of the radioactive isotope
which glows. So self-luminous are great for areas where you can't get an
electrical circuit to an area or some other kind of egress that is difficult to
put an exit sign in.
Remember that there are many types of exit sign light bulbs, we describe some
the types used in commercial buildings here. We have a
large inventory of light bulbs for nearly every type of light fixture in
the field. If you need help identifying a bulb, our customer
service representatives can help you determine what you have.