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Maintaining your Emergency Lighting System: How do you Avoid the System Failing?

Mark Titmas •

The chapter of the British Standard BS5266 covers the servicing and testing requirements for your central battery emergency lighting system. It states that emergency lighting must be inspected and tested regularly, maintained in line with manufacturer’s guidance and that the results of these checks any repairs or remedial work is carried out within a suitable timeframe and are recorded. Regular servicing and testing of your emergency lighting systems are also legally required under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

We talked in our previous emergency lighting blog post, that failure to comply with the British Standards and specifically the guidance set out in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order could result in a prosecution for a non-compliant system. Therefore, routine preventive maintenance is essential in keeping your emergency lighting central battery system in optimum condition. It’s just as important as having your car serviced and MOT tested once a year.

The benefits of routine preventive maintenance

Preventive routine maintenance on your inverter and batteries will reduce the risk of the system failing the compulsory annual autonomy test. 6 monthly service visits will enable any potential problems to be picked up and resolved in a controlled and cost effective way. Fixing upon failure is often more expensive and can result in the system being left offline which is an immediate failure of compliance.

The key components that require maintenance

The fans and the inverter need to be checked annually and replaced when required. In addition, the batteries should be regularly checked and tested. The most common type of battery used is the VRLA (valve regulated lead acid battery) and depending on the battery type, will have a manufacturer's service life of between 5 and 10 years at a constant 20 deg C. Vertiv’s Battery Service Engineers advise annual battery impedance testing to be carried out as part of any preventive maintenance routines. Impedance testing provides a detailed record of the condition of each individual battery within a battery string. Any failing batteries within the string can be then identified and replaced on a preventive basis, either individually or completely depending on the number of failures and overall battery age. Providing the battery is within the normal service life and the number of failures is less than 10% of the battery string, it is possible to replace certain batteries within a string to keep it in optimum condition.


Emergency lighting is critical to life safety, therefore, routine preventive maintenance is a necessary requirement. It also provides peace of mind knowing that your emergency lighting system is fully operational and reliable.

For complete piece of mind, contact us and arrange an inspection of your emergency lighting system. For further information about our Emergency Lighting Maintenance Services take a look at our latest guide.

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