Life of a Self Luminous Exit Sign

As you browse through our informative articles and the different products we carry, it's easy to get confused when it comes to the actual life expectancy of a self luminescent exit sign. Usually you see a bullet point or quote like this one:

You will not have to buy a new exit sign for the next 10-20 years!


So you might wonder: how do I know if my sign will last ten or twenty years? It all depends on the exact model that you buy. Typically, the more expensive units last longer. Just keep in mind that electronic signs have a lifespan of only 5-7 years, meaning even our cheapest self powered exit sign lasts longer than electric models.

Available Lifespans of SL Exit Signs

Tritium decays at a defined rate which allows our manufacturers to measure how much of the gas to inject into each sign. More tritium equals longer shelf life.

Lifespans are available in:

  • 10 year
  • 20 year

See Our 10 Year Self Luminous Exit Signs

The required luminosity is set by NFPA and UL guidelines. Each sign is labeled with a manufacturing date and rated lifespan.

Installing a Self Luminous Exit Sign

When you take your self powered exit sign out of the box, you will not have to flip a switch or shake the sign to get it started. It will already be glowing./p>

All you have to do is decide whether to surface mount the device or place it in a provided aluminum bracket for ceiling or wall mounting configurations.

After that you will not have to do anything for the next 10, 15 or 20 years! There is no required maintenance with these fixtures, save for a few unscheduled dust-offs and visual inspections you'll want to do now and again.

After Installation

This is by far the easiest part of the process…you'll literally forget these cost-saving self luminous fixtures are even installed, since they will require no maintenance.


This may be the hardest part of owning a self powered exit sign. Since tritium has radioactive isotopes, they must be properly disposed of by authorized agencies. Currently there are only two authorized companies that accept tritium in the entire North American Continent! This is due to the mass-closure of a number of agencies that did not meet the EPA's new rules regarding nuclear waste disposal.

Find Out More About Our Tritium Disposal Service

Your maintenance person should keep detailed logs of when life-saving equipment was installed (i.e. exit signs and emergency lights). When you reach a month before your SL sign is set to expire, it's a good idea to order a replacement sign.

We are also a certified tritium disposal broker. Call Self Luminous Exit Signs Co. so we can get your paperwork started. These disposal agencies are severely back-ordered, so if you wait until the sign has expired to get your tritium recycled, you will be waiting several weeks while you risk a non-compliance violation.

Call us today at 800-379-1129 or email the production staff.

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