Garage of Evil!!

Emergency lights and how to get the most out of them... (and other electrical info)

If you are in a location that has severe fire marshal requirements that include emergency exit signs and lights, and you have a year round building you never break down. I have some helpful tips to get the most out of your battery backup systems so you aren't replacing them every year in handfuls and holding up your inspection approval.

Exit signs and e-lights have a general life expectancy of 5 years. But that is predetermined on them being installed and having constant power to them for that entire life cycle. Having them on a general circuit that i either shut off every night or shut off for an entire off season will drop that life to ___! yup.... no clue life cycle... could be fine for a year... could be fine for two... could be fine before you scheduled your inspection and be dead when they tell you to kill the power. and at $200 or so a pop.. replacing out these annually will cut onto your upgrade money and mean you can't get that new full body naked woman prop that actors climb out of... and trust me.. you want that prop.. its bad ass!

so how do we handle this?

If you are just beginning to build your haunt you are in the best position to protect your emergency lighting. (as well as make your nightly shut down easier than walking an entire haunt killing lights as you go.)

Use one or two breakers for JUST YOUR EMERGENCY LIGHTING!!!! mark those, and NEVER shut them off... EVER!!!

Use separate breakers for your scene lighting and whatnot.. so you can just walk to the breaker box at the end of the show/season and kill the power saving fixture life and your electric bill. but not disrupting your emergency lighting and burning out your batteries.

You should also have your audio on a separate breaker or two... or three... depending on how much power you are pumping through the haunt. Some areas will require a ground fault trip breaker on that to kill audio in the case of an emergency so alarm system audio can be heard alone warning of danger and how to exit safely.

Starting off by segregating your power needs to individual breakers will make long term haunting so much easier and less stressful.. and save you money and time in replacing things. NOT doing this will result in equipment needing to be replaced far sooner than advertised. ...and some things can become very costly.

Try to keep foggers off heavily used circuits... they can draw a great amount of amps and one fog trigger could kill half your haunt when it trips a breaker running close to its limit already. Upgrade to 30 amp breakers whenever possible. but be aware of wire thickness (hire a real licensed electrician or you may melt your wires and burn down your attraction because you read what you wanted here and did the rest ignoring cautions.)

If you already have a haunt and its already wired up... take steps to get your E-Lights on their own circuit season by season as you go until they are free from the general breakers that control the attraction. The money you spend on upgrading to an emergency exclusive circuit will save you years and years of endless emergency light and sign replacements prematurely. and it will free up those circuits for additional fixtures of props... win win!

remember.. a happy fire marshal is one who doesn't see a burned out exit sign or dead E-light... and they sign off on the season... making a happy haunt owner... and isn't is more enjoyable to scare your eager customers when you are happy?

Derek

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