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#69481 - 09/10/06 08:39 AM Exit signs
aldav53 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 547
Loc: Chandler, AZ USA
I believe exit signs need their own separate circuit in a commercial building?
Any other conditions?
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#69482 - 09/10/06 09:13 AM Re: Exit signs
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Exit signs need to be supplied by the local lighting circuit unless the area fits the exception of 700.12(E).

If you can and decide to use the exception then they must be on a dedicated circuit with breaker lock.
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#69483 - 09/11/06 10:51 PM Re: Exit signs
aldav53 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 547
Loc: Chandler, AZ USA
I do not see anything about having an exit sign on a separate circuit in the art 700 area in the NEC. Am I correct on this?
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#69484 - 09/12/06 06:37 AM Re: Exit signs
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
There once was a practice that exit and emergency lighting not only had their own circuit- the circuit originated at the service entrance, before the panel. They wanted to ensure that no one ever turned it off!

That practice has gone away, mainly because of the economy of battery back-up units. You'll stikk encounter it though.

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#69485 - 09/12/06 02:02 PM Re: Exit signs
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
In this area and I imagine most Exit signs are required to be illuminated.

To that end they are either suppled from an emergency generator circuit and will likely be tied into the local emergency lighting circuit.

Or

They have battery back up either self contained or remote.

Once an exit sign is backed up with a battery it becomes "Unit Equipment" and the rules of 700.12(E) apply.

700.12(E) is long but requires unit equipment to be supplied by the local lighting circuit.

part of 700.12(E)
 Quote:
The branch circuit feeding the unit equipment shall be the same branch circuit as that serving the normal lighting in the area and connected ahead of any local switches.


If you read all the way to the end of 700.12(E) you will see this exception that sometimes allows a dedicated circuit to supply unit equipment.

 Quote:
Exception: In a separate and uninterrupted area supplied by a minimum of three normal lighting circuits, a separate branch circuit for unit equipment shall be permitted if it originates from the same panelboard as that of the normal lighting circuits and is provided with a lock-on feature.
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#69486 - 09/12/06 04:33 PM Re: Exit signs
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Bob,
We have been down this road before and I still don't agree that the exit light has to be on the general lighting circuit. It is my opinion that the general illumination in the area of the exit light is provided by the exit light itself and can be on any unswitched circuit. I'm also not convinced that an exit light meets the definition of unit equipment at shown in 700.12(F).
Don
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#69487 - 09/12/06 04:38 PM Re: Exit signs
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Don I don't recall this coming up before.

What part of the definition do you disagree with?

The self contained Exit signs I install seem to meet the definition.

Bob
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Construction & Maintenance Electrician
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#69488 - 09/12/06 05:09 PM Re: Exit signs
Ryan_J Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1355
Loc: West Jordan, Utah, USA
I also have never seen this argument, and have always viewed it the same way as Bob. Could you elaborate Don?
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#69489 - 09/12/06 06:17 PM Re: Exit signs
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
They say "confession is good for the soul."

If I am doing a new installation, I will put the emergency lights and exit signs on a lighting circuit. It seems to make sense to have the light go "on" when power fails to the lighting circuit.
Of course, if they control the lights by flipping breakers, this idea won't work.

In that case, or in a retrofit where circuits are a mess, I tie the exit signs and bugeyes into and convenient unswitched circuit. This, at least, ensures lighting in the event of a PoCo failure.

The only joker in this deck is that we have at least one Fire Inspector who can't be bothered to use the 'test' buttons; rather, he wants to flip breakers. I mark the assorted breakers with red tape just for him!

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#69490 - 09/12/06 07:21 PM Re: Exit signs
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Two things...the definition of unit equiment covers emergency lights very cleary, but doesn't really cover illuminated signs. Second there is no safety reason to have the exit lights on the area lighting circuit...it doesn't change anything...the exits lights do their job either way.
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