Exit signs are the most important part of evacuation during an emergency. Earlier these signs were made of metals and illuminated by fluorescent lights. Nowadays, LED (light-emitting diode) signs are very popular. They have strings of small, red or green LEDs arranged in circles or above and below the exit signs. They are perfect for homes and offices. They are efficient, cheap and non-polluting.
These signs usually come in two colors; red and green, and mostly use low-powered LEDs. Most signs are compatible either with 120 volt or 270 volt power. Other variations are also available in the market. There are some which can operate on both voltages. Many come with a battery back-up. Some companies offer it as an option. Battery back-up is very important; as during an emergency, there are chances of power failure. If you want emergency lighting, you can even combine an emergency lighting with an LED exit sign.
Advantages Over Other Exit Signs
LED signs are more efficient than any other signs. The CFL (compact fluorescent light) exit signs contain narrow tubular lamps which contain gases. When electricity passes through these gases, a chemical reaction takes place which produces the light. CFLs lose 80% of energy as heat. LEDs emit light in the most effective way. The tiny LEDs are illuminated because of the movement of electrons through the semi-conducting material. The small amount of heat which is produced is transferred back into a heat sink. Because of this reason, these signs do not heat up like CFLs.
The LEDs emit light only in a specific direction, while other light sources, like incandescent signs, emit light and heat in all directions. Thus, the LED uses energy more efficiently. Their light output is also constant over time. This will show up in your electricity bills. They cost around $4 annually, while the annual cost of a CFL may reach up to $11. LED signs have low-maintenance as compared to others. An incandescent lamp will last only for 2-3 months, a CFL lamp will last for 11 months, but LEDs will last for more than 10 years. They generally come with a warranty for 5 years. When they are switched off, they don't consume power like other exit signs.
They are also very eco-friendly. They emit only 72 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, whereas incandescent lamps emit up to 574 pounds of carbon dioxide. On selecting an LED exit sign, you don't have to make any compromise with the quality. They illuminate 5 times brighter than any other exit sign. The cost of replacement and energy make CFL and incandescent exit signs more costly than LEDs.
LEDs are versatile, efficient, cheap and require low maintenance. They are truly an invention at its best.