How to troubleshoot an emergency exit sign

Written by michael davidson
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How to troubleshoot an emergency exit sign
Troubleshooting emergency exit signs can be done quickly (exit image by Joseph Pierce from

Emergency exit signs are important safety features of any building. Fires can fill a hallway with smoke, and emergency exit signs help people locate a safe way out. Keeping emergency exit signs in working order is a high priority; the signs require troubleshooting as soon as anything starts to go wrong with them. Exit signs are simple devices that you can normally be examine and repair quickly and easily.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check the power source if the light is out. If the sign runs on a battery, install a new one to see if the light comes back on. Check the wires to make sure they are hooked up properly.

  2. 2

    If the light is blinking on and off, check the bulbs in the light and tighten them as needed. Many exit lights have two bulbs and if one goes out, the other may start flickering. Replacing them could correct the problem.

  3. 3

    Replace the face of the sign if the plastic front is cracked. A new one can normally be slid into position depending on the make of the sign. If the frame is broken or warped, the sign will likely need replacement.

Tips and warnings

  • Never throw away the pieces of an exit sign in regular trash. There is mercury in the bulbs, and if the bulbs are broken, the sign must be disposed of in a manner that complies with state law.

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