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When it comes to the installation and mounting of emergency lighting and exit signs, the steps are simple and easy to follow for anyone with experience hanging everyday objects on the wall and some basic tool knowledge. Instructions are included with most every exit sign or emergency light(s) that ExitExpo sells. Additionally, they are also available online at under the “Downloads” section on the product page. If you have any other questions, please call our customer service number - 844-394-8247.  

If you only have a couple of emergency lights and/or exit signs to install, and the location(s) you need to install units is already wired, you should have no problem installing what you need. If the wall that you need to install exit signs or emergency lighting on does not currently have wiring, or you need to install multiple units, you should consider hiring an installation professional or electrician, or consider installing a Self-Luminous exit sign that does not require electricity for illumination.


A contractor, maintenance professional, skilled handyman or any electrician can usually handle emergency lighting or exit sign installation that you have deemed to be out of your comfort zone. When it comes to hiring a pro, the best one for the job is someone that you have hired previously and were satisfied with their work. If you do not have someone that you normally work with, recommendations from trusted friends or colleagues, online sources like,, and, or your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce can help you find the someone that is right for your job. Always remember to check references and if you decide to hire an electrician make sure they are licensed in your state and are also bonded and insured.

Before you start on Emergency Light installation, it is important to have a plan. The balance between adhering to the law, which requires emergency lighting anywhere employees are present, and cost efficiency is an important one, but meeting the standards set forth by OSHA should always be the priority. Facility managers are not only responsible for the cost effectiveness of their facilities, but they are also responsible for safety of their employees and must adhere to all government regulations. See our article titled CONSIDERATIONS WHEN INSTALLING EMERGENCY LIGHTING AND EXIT SIGNS for more information.


It is important to familiarize yourself with the electrical layout of your facility. If the area you are considering mounting emergency lighting does not provide ready access to the buildings wiring, you will need to consult with an electrician and have them run the wiring that you need. Most emergency lighting units will need to be fully or partially mounted before connecting the wiring. Before installing, remove all parts, familiarize yourself with them and go over the instructions.Typically, you will either mount a bracket to the wall with screws (which the unit will then be attached to), or you will mount the entire unit to the wall, before connecting the wiring. The wiring will supply either 120v or 277v AC electrical power to the emergency lighting unit. If the unit you are installing uses battery backup, this electrical connection will allow the batteries to remain charged until needed, in the case of an electrical outage. If the unit you are installing does not have backup batteries, the electrical current supplied to it will need to be from the buildings emergency power supply system (EPSS) which is typically powered by generator. 

Please note: ALWAYS CONSULT WITH AN ELECTRICIAN PRIOR TO INSTALLING ANY EMERGENCY LIGHTS OR EXIT SIGNS, IF THERE ARE ANY SAFETY PROCEDURES YOU ARE UNFAMILLIAR WITH. In order to detect the loss of power, emergency lights will need to be connected to a building or residences electrical wiring. When a breaker is tripped, or an outage occurs, a signal is sent that instructs the backup power to illuminate the unit and the path to an exit, for at least 90 minutes.

ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT THE BREAKER YOUR EMERGENCY LIGHTS OR EXIT SIGN WILL BE CONNECTED TO, IS TRIPPED AND THE POWER IS OFF, BEFORE EXPOSING ANY WIRES AND STARTING INSTALL. Make sure that the batteries used to power the light(s) or exit sign in case of an outage, have been installed and are working properly, before disabling the power and starting the install. Emergency light systems typically use sealed lead-acid batteries, while exit signs most likely use the smaller, nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries. When you have turned the power off, consult the instructions included with your emergency lights or exit sign from ExitExpo.All emergency lights and exit signs include basic installation instructions. More detailed instructions can be found online, at, by looking up the product code and clicking on the “Downloads” section.

Make sure all instructions are followed, and the 2 to 3 connections that need to be made with most installs, are made properly. Incorrect connections can cause the circuit board and transformer to burn out, leaving the unit inoperable.It is important to first identify the electrical voltage where the emergency lights or exit sign will be installed. This will be either 120v or 277v. Once this information is ascertained, take a look at the wires you will be working with. They should appear as follows;

Red - Hot 277v wire (only seen with 277v systems)
Black – Hot 120v wire (only seen with 120v systems)
White – Common wire (seen with both 277 and 120v)
Green – Ground (not always included)

YOU WILL NEVER CONNECT BOTH THE RED AND BLACK WIRES, ONLY ONE OF THEM WILL BE USED, ALONG WITH THE WHITE WIRE, AND CONNECTED TO THE LIVE WIRE IN THE FACILITY WHERE THE INSTALL IS OCCURING. Connect either the red (277V) or black (120V) wire, depending on the voltage, along with the white common wire, to the buildings electrical. If your unit comes with a green ground wire, connect that to an appropriate ground.
Turn the power back on and check that the unit has power. Provided that everything is connected properly, let the backup batteries charge for a full 24 hours before testing. This will ensure that they are charged to full capacity and are able to take a full charge, going forward. 
BE SURE TO CONSULT OSHA REQUIREMENTS FOR EXIT SIGN PLACEMENT AS WELL AS LOCAL MUNICIPAL CODES. CITIES SUCH AS NEW YORK AND CHICAGO HAVE SPECIFIC CODES DETAILING EXIT SIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR DIFFERENT BUILDING TYPES IN THOSE MUNICIPALITIES. As with emergency light installation, first determine if the area you plan to install the exit sign has wiring readily available. If not, consult an electrician and have them install the necessary wiring. Or, consider one of ExitExpo’s  Self-Luminous, Tritium exit signs that do not require any power source or other light to charge it, are available in a number of housing colors and finishes and provide 10 - 20 years of bright, maintenance-free, exit illumination. These, as well as other exit sign designs that do not require electrical power, are discussed in below. Finally, determine if the exit sign will be hooked up to both building power and a backup generator, or just building power. If a unit has backup batteries, it will typically need to be connected only to the building power. 

Powered and Self-Luminous exit signs make up most of the exit signs we see in operation today. Both have their unique features that make them the best option in certain situations. Powered exit signs are typically the most economical choice available and come in nearly every finish and color that exit signs come in. Self-Illuminating exit signs typically cost a bit more, but they do not require power or backup batteries to be illuminated, are always “on” and provide many years of excellent, maintenance-free exit sign illumination.


Exit signs, depending on their designs, can mount in a couple of different ways; some designs use a light, that is attached to either the ceiling or the wall, to illuminate the exit sign that will hang down or protrude out from the light/wall. These are referred to as “edge lit” exit signs and are a great option for your facility, providing a sleek and modern look with excellent visibility. has you covered with a wide variety of edge lit exit signs. Red or green lettering, single or double faced, we have the sign to suit your needs! Other exit signs will attach directly to the wall (typically to studs), either flush as a single sided exit sign, or protruding out from the wall, as seen with double sided exit signs. Other types of powered exit signs are those for use specifically indoors, outside specific exit signs that are wet location rated or designed to be vandal resistant and withstand all types of abuse from both nature and humans alike. There are even exit signs designed for use in clean rooms or explosion proof exit signs that meet the stringent regulations required for use in highly flammable work areas. Thermoplastic, steel and brushed aluminum are the most common materials used in exit signs. Additionally, there are emergency lighting/exit sign combos that are available for all of the above mentioned applications, in all of the aforementioned colors, materials and finishes. If humans set foot there, you can bet ExitExpo has a sign that meets the requirements for that exit!

Tritium and Photoluminescent are the two most common types of non-powered, or self-luminous exit signs. The primary different between the two, is that Tritium exit signs require no light source or power while photoluminescent signs require a certain level of ambient light each day to fully "charge" thier luminescent signage. Tritium exit signs contain a completly safe and fully-sealed radioactive isotope, Tritium, which as it decays provides sufficient glow to light a single or double sided exit sign. Tritium exit signs are available in a number of housing colors and finishs, both red or green lettering as well as 10-year and 20-year options. Photoluminescent exit signs are available in a wide varity of colors, finishes and "viewable distances". For instance, photoluminescent exit signs are typically available in 50 foot, 75 foot, and 100 foot types. This referrs to the distance from which the signs meet minimum brightness standard as set forth by OSHA. Visit to order your photoluminescent or Tritium exit signs today and save.

You’ve heard the not-so-old-adage, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball”? Well, if you can install an emergency light, you can install an exit sign! Many of the same steps used in installing an emergency light, are used when installing exit signs. Therefore, please refer to the above steps on installing emergency lighting, for instructions on how to install exit signs or emergency exit light combo units. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact We are there to help you find the right exit sign or emergency lighting unit for your job, at the best prices out there!