There are two key differences between maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting and the decision of which type to install should be based on the type and use of the building.
What is a maintained emergency light?
A maintained emergency light provides both standard/normal lighting and emergency lighting. The maintained emergency light can be operated just like a normal light by means of a switch or sensor, but regardless of whether it is switched on or not its emergency function will be constantly in operation, so that in the event of a power failure to the light it will automatically illuminate for 3 hours to aid with emergency evacuation of the building.
These type of emergency lights are typically used in buildings where people congregate, like cinemas, theatres, and leisure centres. There are now LED versions available, that help cut down on running costs and energy consumption.
What is a non-maintained emergency light?
A non-maintained emergency light only provides emergency lighting and does not provide standard lighting. The non-maintained emergency light is not operated by a normal light switch or sensor and can not be used as a normal light. If the power supply to the light fails, then the light will automatically illuminate for 3 hours to help building users safely evacuate the premises.
These type of emergency lights can be used in a wide variety of settings and usually come in the form of rectangular bulkhead type fittings.
How often should non-maintained and maintained emergency lighting be checked?
In accordance with the regulation BS EN 50172 / BS 5266-8, all emergency lighting must be checked monthly. This includes both non-maintained emergency lighting and maintained emergency lighting. The monthly test is a short test to make sure that each luminaire illuminates when its power supply is isolated.
The annual emergency lighting periodic inspection is a more thorough test of the system, comprising a full 3 hour duration test to verify whether the system works for the required time. Other aspects are checked on the annual test such as the location and type of the emergency lighting installed.
How can I install non-maintained emergency lighting?
We would not recommend wiring non-maintained or maintained emergency lighting yourself. The installation of emergency lighting needs to be done by a trained professional, especially because emergency lighting is subject to rigorous monthly and annual checks, and if the system is faulty this could lead to consequences.
At Hexo we can design and install your emergency lighting system, and then carry out either just annual, or monthly and annual tests as you require.