The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Emergency Lights Today!

Emergency lights serve as a critical safety feature in buildings, guiding occupants to safety during power outages, fires, or other emergencies. The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Emergency Lights. Learn step-by-step fixes for common issues, ensuring your lights work when needed.

Emergency Light
Emergency Light

Their role in illuminating exit paths and ensuring that evacuation procedures can be carried out smoothly cannot be overstated.

In compliance with safety regulations, maintaining these systems in optimal working condition is not just a matter of legal requirement but a fundamental aspect of ensuring the well-being and security of all building occupants.

However, like any critical system, emergency lights are prone to a range of common issues that can compromise their functionality at crucial moments.

Recognizing the importance of these systems and the challenges that come with maintaining them, this guide has been crafted as a comprehensive resource aimed at empowering you with the knowledge and skills needed to address the most common emergency light issues.

From troubleshooting non-operational lights to replacing batteries and fixing wiring problems, this guide covers essential repair and maintenance tips.

Whether you’re a facility manager, a maintenance professional, or simply someone looking to ensure the safety of your environment, “The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Emergency Lights Today!” is designed to provide you with practical solutions for keeping your emergency lighting system reliable and compliant.

Understanding Emergency Lighting Systems

Emergency lighting systems are designed to automatically activate in the event of a power failure, providing illumination that enables safe evacuation from a building. These systems are crucial during emergencies, such as fires or natural disasters, when main power sources are compromised.

Understanding how these systems work and the key components involved is essential for effective maintenance and troubleshooting.

How Emergency Lighting Works

Emergency lights are connected to the building’s electrical supply but are equipped with batteries or backup power sources that are charged during normal operation.

When a power outage occurs, sensors within the system detect the loss of power, triggering the emergency lights to switch to their backup power source, thereby ensuring continuous illumination. This transition is seamless, with no perceptible delay, allowing occupants to safely navigate exit paths.

Key Components and Their Functions

  1. Power Source: The primary power source is the building’s electrical system, with batteries serving as the backup. Some systems may also be connected to a generator for extended power outages.
  2. Batteries: These are the heart of the emergency lighting system, providing power during an outage. They must be regularly tested and replaced to ensure reliability.
  3. Light Fixtures: These include the actual lamps or LEDs that provide illumination. They are strategically placed along exit routes, near exits, and in areas requiring special attention, like stairwells.
  4. Control Unit: This component monitors the power supply and automatically switches the system to emergency mode during a power failure. It may also facilitate testing and maintenance functions.
  5. Test Switch: Many systems include a manual test switch that allows for routine functionality checks without disrupting the main power supply.
  6. Charging Circuit: This circuit maintains the charge of the backup batteries while the main power is on, ensuring they are always ready for use.

By familiarizing yourself with these components and their roles within the emergency lighting system, you can better understand how to maintain and repair the system, ensuring it functions correctly when needed most.

Common Issues and DIY Fixes

Maintaining emergency lighting systems is crucial for safety, but it can be daunting when problems arise.

Here’s a guide to diagnosing and fixing common issues, ensuring your emergency lights function reliably in critical situations.

1. Battery Problems

Diagnosing: Check if the emergency lights stay on for the required duration during tests. Dim lights or lights that fail to stay on indicate battery issues. Use a multimeter to test the battery’s voltage.


  • Turn off the power to the unit.
  • Open the casing and locate the battery.
  • Disconnect the old battery, noting the polarity.
  • Connect the new battery, ensuring correct polarity.
  • Test the light to confirm it’s working.

2. Light Source Issues

Diagnosing: If the emergency light doesn’t illuminate, the bulb or LED might be the issue.


  • Ensure the power is off.
  • Open the light fixture.
  • Remove the old bulb or LED module.
  • Replace it with a new one, matching the specifications.
  • Test the light to ensure it’s operational.

3. Electrical and Wiring Troubles

Diagnosing: Look for signs of wear, loose connections, or corrosion in the wiring.


  • Disconnect power to the unit.
  • Inspect all wiring connections; tighten any loose connections.
  • Replace corroded wires or connectors.
  • After repairs, test the unit to ensure proper function.

4. Charging Circuit Failures

Diagnosing: If batteries don’t charge, the charging circuit may be at fault. Check for damaged components or loose connections.


  • Disconnect power.
  • Inspect the charging circuit for visible damage or loose wires.
  • Replace damaged components or secure connections.
  • Test the system to ensure batteries charge correctly.

5. Test Button and Indicator Light Malfunctions

Diagnosing: Non-responsive test buttons or indicator lights that don’t accurately reflect the system’s status can indicate malfunctions.


  • Ensure the unit is powered.
  • Check the test button and indicator lights for physical damage.
  • Clean contacts and connections.
  • If the issue persists, replace the faulty components.
  • Test the button and lights after repairs.

6. Emergency Exit Sign Repairs

Diagnosing: Common issues include dim or non-illuminated signs, indicating bulb, battery, or wiring problems.


  • For bulb issues, replace the bulb following the steps for light source issues.
  • If battery-related, follow the battery replacement procedure.
  • Check and repair any wiring issues as described above.
  • Ensure the sign is clean and visible.
Emergency Exit Sign
Emergency Exit Sign

By following these steps, you can address the most common emergency light issues. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to problems help ensure your emergency lighting system remains a reliable safety feature.

Remember, safety first: if you’re unsure about any repair, it’s wise to consult a professional.

Tools and Materials Needed for Repairs 

For effective DIY emergency light repairs, having the right tools and materials on hand is essential. Equally important is adhering to safety precautions to prevent accidents.


Here’s a comprehensive list to guide you:

Essential Tools and Materials:

  • Multimeter: For testing batteries, electrical connections, and LED drivers.
  • Screwdrivers (Flathead and Phillips): For opening light fixtures and tightening connections.
  • Wire Strippers and Pliers: Useful for handling wires during repairs or replacements.
  • Replacement Batteries: Ensure you have the correct type and size for your emergency lights.
  • Replacement Bulbs/LEDs: Keep a stock of the specific bulbs or LEDs used in your fixtures.
  • Electrical Tape and Wire Connectors: For insulating and securing electrical connections.
  • Contact Cleaner: To clean and maintain electrical contacts, improving connectivity.
  • Safety Glasses: To protect your eyes from debris or electrical sparks.
  • Insulated Gloves: To reduce the risk of electrical shock when handling live components.
  • Ladder: For safely reaching lights installed at height. Ensure it’s stable and appropriate for your weight.

Safety Equipment and Precautions:

  • Turn Off Power: Always disconnect power before starting any repair work to avoid electrical shock.
  • Use Insulated Tools: Ensure that the tools you use have insulated handles to provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Safety glasses and insulated gloves are non-negotiable for protecting against potential hazards.
  • Work in a Well-Lit Area: Good visibility is crucial for safety and precision in repairs.
  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions: Adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines can prevent damage to your emergency lighting system and ensure repairs are done correctly.

By preparing with these tools and materials and following safety precautions, you can tackle most emergency light repairs confidently and safely.

Testing Your Emergency Lights

Regular testing of emergency lights is crucial to ensure they function correctly during an emergency, providing safe passage for building occupants.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively test your emergency lights for functionality and compliance:

1. Monthly Function Test:

  • Briefly activate each emergency light using its test switch, simulating a power failure. This should be done for at least 30 seconds to ensure the lights turn on and remain illuminated.
  • Observe and note any lights that do not activate, appear dim, or exhibit any malfunction.

2. Annual Duration Test:

  • Once a year, conduct a more comprehensive test by cutting off power to the emergency lights for the full required duration, typically 90 minutes, to mimic an extended power outage.
  • Ensure all emergency lights stay illuminated for the entire duration, adequately providing light to exit paths and critical areas.

3. Visual Inspection:

  • During each test, perform a visual inspection to check for any physical damage, obstructions, or issues that could affect performance.

4. Record Keeping:

  • Document the results of each test, including the date, any failures or issues identified, and corrective actions taken. This record is essential for compliance with safety regulations and standards.

The importance of regular testing and maintenance cannot be overstated. It not only ensures compliance with safety regulations but also guarantees that emergency lighting systems are reliable and effective when needed most, safeguarding the well-being of all building occupants.

When to Call a Professional

While DIY maintenance can address many emergency light issues, certain situations necessitate professional expertise. Knowing when to call in a professional is key to ensuring the safety and reliability of your emergency lighting system.

Situations Requiring Professional Services:

  • Complex Electrical Problems: If troubleshooting reveals issues beyond simple fixes, such as internal wiring problems or faults within the electrical circuitry, it’s time to seek professional help.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring your emergency lighting system meets all legal and safety standards can be complex. Professionals stay updated on these regulations and can ensure your system is compliant.
  • System Upgrades: Installing new emergency lighting systems or upgrading existing ones to incorporate advanced technology often requires specialized knowledge for proper integration and functionality.
  • Recurring Issues: If a problem persists despite your best efforts, it may indicate a deeper, underlying issue. Professionals can diagnose and resolve such problems more effectively.

Benefits of Professional Servicing:

  • Expertise: Professionals bring a level of expertise and experience that can quickly identify and resolve complex issues.
  • Safety: Working with electrical systems poses risks. Professionals are trained to handle these safely, reducing the risk of injury or further damage to the system.
  • Warranty Preservation: DIY repairs can sometimes void warranties. Professional servicing ensures that any repairs are done without affecting warranty coverage.

In these scenarios, leveraging professional services not only ensures that repairs are done correctly but also helps maintain the integrity and compliance of your emergency lighting system.

Maintaining Your Emergency Lighting System

Ongoing maintenance is crucial for ensuring your emergency lighting system remains reliable and compliant.

Here are some tips and strategies for effective maintenance:

  • Regular Inspections: Conduct monthly visual inspections to check for any physical damage or obstructions that could impair functionality.
  • Test Regularly: Perform monthly functional tests and annual full-duration tests to ensure the lights operate correctly during an emergency.
  • Keep Records: Document all maintenance activities, including tests, repairs, and replacements. This helps with compliance and troubleshooting future issues.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with changes in safety regulations and standards to ensure your system remains compliant.
Emergency Light Inspection
Emergency Light Inspection

Creating a maintenance schedule that outlines all necessary activities and their frequency can help streamline this process. Assign responsibilities to ensure tasks are completed on time and consider using maintenance software to track and remind you of upcoming maintenance activities.


Maintaining and repairing emergency lights is essential for the safety of any building’s occupants. By taking proactive steps to address common issues and perform regular maintenance, you can ensure your emergency lighting system is always ready to guide people to safety in an emergency.

Call to Action

Have you encountered challenges or discovered effective solutions in maintaining your emergency lighting? Share your experiences and tips to help others navigate emergency light repairs more effectively.

For more guides and insights into maintaining safe and compliant emergency lighting systems, consider subscribing to stay informed and prepared.

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top

Get a Quick Quote!