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What is the Difference Between Maintained and Non Maintained Emergency Lighting?

  • by chris basford
What is the Difference Between Maintained and Non Maintained Emergency Lighting?

Installing emergency lighting in your home, commercial space or office premises is essential for safety and reducing hazardous situations in the event of power cuts or other emergencies. If there is an emergency, people need to be able to evacuate a building quickly and efficiently with the help of emergency lighting. In this blog, we will discuss the two options, maintained and non maintained emergency light systems, and see what the differences and benefits are between these two lighting choices.

What are Emergency Lights?

Before we look into maintained and non maintained lights, let's look into what emergency lighting actually is. Emergency lights are essential in every building to ensure a safe response to fire or other disasters. They act as a backup lighting source for the lights in your building, so if there is a power cut alongside a fire or disaster, emergency lights will still be available to enable safe evacuation from the building. Emergency lights can be used in both homes and businesses and if you are installing emergency lighting in a public building, you must adhere to the British standards and regulations for emergency lighting.

What are Maintained Lights?

Maintained emergency lights stay on at all times. In normal situations, they are operated via the main power source of a building but in the event of an emergency, they will usually switch to a backup battery without any disruption to the lighting source. As maintained lights always stay on, they are a good option for public buildings as they can easily guide people towards fire exits, fire exit routes or emergency evacuation areas.

What are Non Maintained Lights?

Unlike maintained lights, non maintained emergency lights only come on during a power cut or if there is an emergency situation. They will turn on instantly so there should be no disruption in lighting or any waiting in the dark for the lights to kick in. Non maintained lights are a backup to the usual lights in your building and they are widely used in offices, public spaces, warehouses and factories to safely guide the occupants away from danger. These lights can look like the usual green fire escape signs or they can have a more subtle design that can be used in a home environment. They should be wired to the standard light circuit so they will respond promptly in the case of power failures or emergencies.

How Do Non Maintained Lights Work?

Non maintained lights contain several components which help them to stay illuminated in the case of emergencies:

  • Test Button - All non maintained lights should have a test button so that an electrician can replicate a power cut and test the operating capabilities of the light.
  • Battery - There should also be an emergency light battery where the energy is stored to power the light in the event of power failures.
  • Housing - All non maintained lights should have an appropriate housing that is constructed from materials suitable for the environment in which it will be used.
  • Charging Indicator - There should be a red LED light which indicates when the light is being charged.
  • Emergency Light Symbol - A non maintained light should also have a symbol which shows this is an emergency light. This is usually made up of code.

What is the Best Option - Maintained or Non Maintained Emergency Lighting?

When comparing maintained and non maintained emergency lighting, it is best to look at where you want the lights to be situated. Non maintained lights are a good option if they are placed in an area where people are familiar with their surroundings such as a house or small business premises. As they are not constantly in operation, people will know where to exit and these lights can help them on their way. However, maintained lights are the best option for bigger offices, factories, shops and warehouses where people might not be familiar with their environment. They are always on so in case of emergency, building occupants will always know where to look for an emergency exit or evacuation route.

The amount of power these lights use is also a factor. Since maintained lights are always on, they will use more energy than non maintained lights which only come on when needed. So if energy efficiency and environmental sustainability is a concern for your home or business, non maintained lights may be a better choice. Most businesses opt for a mixture of the two types of lights for the best results.

What You Need to Consider Before Installing Maintained and Non Maintained Emergency Light Systems

Before installing any kind of emergency lighting, you need to carefully consider the planning and design of the system, the position of the lights, whether the lights are going to be temporary or permanent and organise the testing and maintenance of the lights. With these things in place, your emergency lighting should meet the correct safety guidelines and adhere to the regulations. The British Standard code for emergency lighting systems is BS 5266-1 and within this are clear guidelines on installing emergency lights and how these lights must be tested and maintained.

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