Which emergency light: maintained or non-maintained?

A common question from customers buying emergency lighting is: What is the difference between maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting? New commercial or public buildings have emergency lighting installed as standard, but if you are looking to install or renew a system this issue may need clarifying.

Luckily the answer is really quite simple.

Non-maintained emergency lighting is designed to turn on in the event of a power failure. It is linked into the building’s lighting circuitry and reacts to a power failure ensuring emergency exit routes remain illuminated. This type of emergency lighting is mostly found in the workplace, such as offices and factories, where people are familiar with the escape routes.

Maintained lighting is designed to be lit continuously and will continue to work even in the event of a power failure. This allows the unit to double as a standard light fitting but still supply the necessary backup in the event of a power outage. This type of emergency lighting is suitable for public places such as theatres, shopping malls and cinemas.

Emergency exit signs can also be lit to act as an emergency light. Again they can be maintained or non-maintained, with non-maintained signs reserved for areas where occupants are familiar with the layout of the escape routes.

A full range of both types of emergency lighting is available on our website. If you are unsure which type best meets your needs then please feel free to contact our customer service team for more information about specific models.

Safelincs wins East Riding of Yorkshire tender

Despite tough competition Safelincs has won East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s tender for fire extinguishers and fire safety signs. We are sure that our excellent prices and top of the range quality helped to convince the buying team to award Safelincs the contract for 2012 to 2016. This is the second time in a row that Safelincs has been awarded the fire safety supply for this council.

We are always happy to offer councils and public bodies our very best prices for fire safety products and fire safety services. Our customers also benefit from our outstanding and award winning customer service, our extremely high shipping precision and our expert technical team.

We have also introduced a number of cost saving fire safety products, which are particularly important for councils trying to find budget savings. Our P50 service free extinguishers, for example, offer savings of up to £350 per extinguisher over a ten year period.

 

What power consumption do emergency lights have?

When comparing power consumption of emergency lighting, and more specifically comparing LED lighting with standard lighting, it is important to understand some of the terms used and what they actually mean in this context. Sometimes you will see the power consumption documented in W (Watts) and sometimes it will be stated in VA (VoltAmperes). Whilst this looks confusing, it is comforting that both terms are actually identical. Multiplying the Voltage (V) of the electrical supply with the Amperage (A), which represents the current flowing through the light, gives you VA (VoltAmperes) which represents power consumption and is actually the same as the ‘Wattage’ (W). So VA equals W; they are just different ways of saying the same thing.

For this blog we will be comparing a CS8 maintained emergency bulkhead with an X-GSA LED maintained emergency bulkhead as they are very similar units, although they have a very different power consumption (also the CS8 produces light output of  100 lumens, whilst the X-GSA produces a slightly lower 85 lumens. This difference, though, is negligible.).

The CS8 contains an 8W T5 lamp which, as the name suggests, consumes 8 Watts. The ballast (the electronics that run the unit and the trickle charge for the backup battery) consumes 12 Watts, which means the CS8 in maintained mode consumes 20W.
The X-GSA contains 12 white LEDs which together consume 0.9W. The ballast consumes 2.6W, which means the whole unit in maintained mode consumes 3.5W.
That is a difference of 16.5W, which is huge when you consider that maintained lights are lit constantly. So, a CS8 in its maintained mode is consuming over 5 times more energy every hour than the X-GSA!

It is also important to know that LED emergency lights last substantially longer than fluorescent tubes. An LED bulb will last over 5 times longer than a traditional fluorescent light.

Generally speaking LED emergency lighting is more expensive than the traditional equivalent, but when you factor in the substantially lower power consumption and the lower maintenance needs of LED lights, they are actually more cost effective in the long term.

Fire Kills’ Annual Report 2010-11 highlights Safelincs’ contribution

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s Fire Kills campaign aims to raise awareness of key fire safety messages to the general public. Safelincs has been a partner of the Fire Kills campaign for a number of years and its contributions have been highlighted in the latest annual report.

As an online fire safety products retailer, Safelincs provides an opportunity to encourage those who are safety conscious to consider the wellbeing of their friends and family. They have created a ‘reminders’ website that allows people to sign up to receive free reminders about testing and replacing smoke alarms. This website (www.safelincs.co.uk/reminders) features the Fire Kills logo and supporting fire safety messages.

Safelincs were the exclusive retailer of the new Ei Electronics ‘easichange’ replacement alarms for mains-wired smoke alarms in 2010-11. They produced a leaflet in line with the Fire Kills identity guidelines featuring fire safety messages to ensure that customers’ smoke alarms were in good working order.”

The full Fire Kills report can be read on http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/Firekillsreport201011

Replacement of old Kidde smoke alarms

As well as testing your smoke and heat alarms on a regular basis, it is important to make a note of when the units actually need to be replaced. Studies have shown that the functionality of smoke and heat alarms can start to deteriorate when they reach a lifespan of 10 years. Each smoke and heat alarm should have a “replace by date” visible on the outside of the unit and we recommend that you adhere to this guideline.

When replacing a smoke alarm it can be quite difficult to recognise a suitable replacement product. In some cases, you may find that the current alarm model has been discontinued. With battery operated alarms, as there is no wiring in place, it is much easier to replace the unit for another smoke alarm with like-for-like features. Mains powered alarms are hard wired and are most likely interconnected during installation. It is because of this that finding replacement detectors can be difficult.

Working with Kidde Safety Europe, Safelincs are able to provide a list of mains powered discontinued Kidde smoke and heat alarms, along with their suitable product equivalents.

Discontinued Alarm Replacement Alarm
123/9HI KEKF10
123i KEKF10
123/9HILL KEKF10R
223/9HI KEKF20
223/9HILL KEKF20R
1275H KEKF10
323/9HI KEKF30
323/9HILL KEKF30R

The new alarms will interlink with other, still working units of the previously installed smoke alarms. This means that there is no need to replace all of the units within a system if only some of the installed detectors have reached the end of their recommended lifespan. All new mains powered smoke and heat alarms are provided with a mounting bracket and a wiring connector. It is important to note that you need to replace the existing mounting base and re-connect the wiring to fit the new units. With any mains powered alarms, all electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Safelincs offer a smoke alarm reminder service which allows customers to be notified when their smoke and heat alarms are due to be replaced, when the batteries need to be changed and reminds customers to test their alarms on a regular basis. The service is completely free and customers can choose if they wish to be reminded by email, SMS text message or by Twitter.