A Comparison of Tritium Exit Light Signs with LED and Photoluminescent Exit Signs

Three choices have arisen as the most popular methods for making a building compliant with local safety regulations: Tritium, LED, and photoluminescent. Each option has specific benefits; however, only one offers the convenience of a lower cost, safe visual resource. LED-based products use a semi-conductor form of technology in combination with an electrical source to provide a consistently lit identifier. A battery or generator based backup source is necessary for this type of signing to ensure availability in the instance of extreme emergency conditions where main power fails. The purchase price of LED identifiers can range from twenty to one-hundred dollars with yearly operational expenses averaging one dollar per sign. While this cost seems irrelevant, it adds up as a large count is implemented throughout a structure and the expense is increased due to backup power requirements. These identifiers have the shortest duration of life, lose output at a faster rate, and commonly experience uneven levels of illumination.

Self-Luminous Products Eliminate Energy Requirements

Tritium exit light signs were the first alternative to using electrically powered identifiers for building safety code compliance. They use a combination of a radioactive hydrogen isotope with phosphor coated glass tubes to generate a beta decay reaction for self-illumination. While far less expensive to operate, Tritium-based signing has a substantial risk for environmental harm as numerous tubes are disposed of into landfills or handled incorrectly. The signing option is more expensive to purchase and extremely costly to dispose since the radioactive gas residing in the tubes has special handling requirements to prevent environmental harm. A single identifier can cost as much as five hundred dollars and has a max usage life of twenty years. These products typically have to be replaced long before the stated timeframe. Maintenance costs are minimal as long as the tubes do not break; however, the average price for disposal of one sign is two-hundred dollars. These products are also strictly regulated by the government in regards to care and disposal.

Photoluminescent Exit Signs Are Win-Win Compliance Product

Reports show Tritium exit light signs as a safe option and this has caused them to be a consistently implemented compliance item in countless buildings throughout the globe; however, any item containing radioactive materials is never truly harmless. Tube breakages cause the gas to escape into the atmosphere, mix with other molecules, and enter the water or soil. While fairly harmless on its own, Tritium does generate higher cancer risks if allowed to remain in the body for an extended period of time and is harmful to the environment in large doses. Photoluminescent exit signs are comparable in cost during initial purchase and provide the same zero-energy benefits as Tritium-based signing. Installation, maintenance, and disposal costs are minimal since these identifiers do not contain toxic materials. Glow-in-the-dark signing is completely recyclable meaning will never sit in a landfill. An ability to eliminate energy needs and upkeep expenses makes photoluminescent products the most ideal choice for remaining code compliant. Owners not only save a significant amount of money, but are also able to protect the environment when photoluminescent technology is chosen over the alternatives.

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