Tritium Exit Sign Guide

We've created the Tritium Exit Sign Guide—a detailed compilation of an unwavering commitment to safety. This tritium exit sign guide aims to provide comprehensive insights into tritium exit signs without unnecessary complexity, offering practical information for a straightforward understanding of safety measures.

Tritium Exit Sign Guide

Table of Contents


What is Tritium?

Tritium is like the cool, glow-in-the-dark sibling of hydrogen. It's a form of hydrogen, but with an extra dose of excitement—it's radioactive! Now, don't let the "radioactive" part scare you off. In the case of Tritium, it's a low-key kind of radioactivity that's useful.

This special hydrogen isotope is commonly used in things like self-luminous exit signs, giving them a constant soft glow without needing to be plugged in or rely on batteries. So, think of Tritium as the secret behind those signs that always know how to find the spotlight, even in the dark.

What is a Tritium Exit Sign?

Red Tritium Exit Sign

Because Tritium is low-level radioactive, exit signs glow in the dark without any power source—no plugs or batteries. It's the reason those signs always shine, even when the lights go out.

Utility and Usage:

Where are Tritium Exit Signs Used?

Tritium Exit Signs are most commonly used in commercial buildings and factories, ensuring a clear exit path. They're like safety superheroes, providing a constant guiding light when needed.

Why Use Tritium Exit Signs?

Tritium exit signs offer a unique and invaluable solution for emergency egress situations due to their reliance on radioactive tritium gas, which undergoes beta decay to produce visible light. The main advantage of these lights is their ability to provide continuous illumination without external power sources.

This self-sufficiency ensures functionality during power outages or emergencies when conventional electrical systems might fail. Tritium exit signs are not reliant on batteries or electricity, making them a reliable and low-maintenance option for ensuring a consistently illuminated path to safety.

This independence from external power sources enhances their effectiveness in critical situations, contributing to overall safety and peace of mind in various settings.

When You Shouldn't Use Tritium Exit Signs

Tritium exit signs contain a small amount of radioactive tritium gas, which emits low-energy beta particles to produce the visible light in the signs. While these signs are generally considered safe for use in various applications, there are situations where their use may not be appropriate or may be restricted. Here are some instances when you shouldn't use tritium exit signs:

  • Regulatory Restrictions:
    • Check local, national, and international regulations regarding the use of tritium exit signs. Some jurisdictions may have specific rules or restrictions on the use of radioactive materials, including tritium.
  • Proximity to Sensitive Areas:
    • Avoid using tritium exit signs in areas where there is a high sensitivity to radiation exposure. For example, in healthcare facilities, laboratories, or other locations where sensitive equipment or experiments are conducted, alternative exit sign options may be preferred.
  • Environmental Concerns:
    • Tritium is a radioactive material, and its use raises environmental considerations. In locations where there is a risk of environmental contamination or where the disposal of radioactive materials is challenging, alternative exit signs without radioactive components may be more suitable.
  • Security Concerns:
    • Avoid using tritium exit signs in areas where there are security concerns or where the presence of radioactive materials may pose a security risk. Some facilities, such as government buildings or high-security areas, may have specific guidelines against the use of certain radioactive materials.
  • Disposal Challenges:
    • Tritium exit signs have a finite lifespan, and their disposal requires proper handling due to the radioactive content. If there are challenges or restrictions associated with the proper disposal of tritium-containing materials in a particular area, alternative non-radioactive exit signs may be a better choice.
  • Alternative Technology:
    • Consider using alternative exit sign technologies, such as photoluminescent signs or LED signs, which do not rely on radioactive materials. These alternatives may be more acceptable in certain applications or environments.

Design and Customization

Colors and Sizes Available

Green Tritium Exit Sign
Black Tritium Exit Sign
Red Tritium Exit Sign
The thermoplastic frames in Tritium exit signs are usually black or white. Face color options often include red, green, and black.

Tritium exit signs are usually 12.83" wide and 8.35" tall, but various size options are sometimes available. Remember that the availability of specific colors and sizes may vary among manufacturers, so it's advisable to check with suppliers for their specific product offerings.

Amount of Radiation

Tritium exit signs emit radiation, as Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. However, the radiation emitted by Tritium is relatively low-energy beta radiation, which consists of electrons. This type of radiation is generally considered low risk to human health, particularly because materials like glass or plastic can stop beta particles.

The amount of radiation emitted by tritium exit signs varies and is regulated and designed to be within safe limits set by authorities such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the United States.

Tritium emergency exit signs are designed to provide illumination while minimizing health risks. Proper installation and disposal procedures must be followed for safe use and handling.

Single-Sided vs. Double-Sided

The difference between double-sided and single-sided tritium exit signs lies in the number of faces or surfaces that emit light due to the tritium gas and phosphor coating.

  • Single-sided tritium exit sign:
    • This type only has tritium illumination on one side, providing visibility and guidance from one direction.
  • Double-sided tritium exit sign:
    • This version features tritium illumination on both sides to ensure visibility from different angles
The decision to choose between single-sided and double-sided tritium exit signs is based on the specific requirements of the location where the signage will be installed. Single-sided exit signs are ideal for smaller spaces where the exit path is visible from one side. On the other hand, double-sided exit signs are more suitable for larger rooms or areas where visibility from both sides is necessary for effective guidance towards the exits.

Arrows and Customization Options

Importance of Arrows:

Directional Guidance: In times of emergency, every second counts. That's why it's crucial to have clear and effective guidance towards the nearest exit. Arrows are a tried-and-true method for directing individuals towards safety quickly and efficiently.

Universal Understanding: Arrows are universally recognized symbols that overcome language barriers.

Customization: Custom emergency lights can be customized to fit specific needs, improving visibility in various environments.

Longevity and Installation

How Long Do Tritium Exit Signs Last?

Tritium exit signs have a lifespan primarily determined by the half-life of Tritium, approximately 12 years, but can last anywhere from 10-20 years. Factors affecting their longevity include the initial tritium quantity, usage patterns, environmental conditions, material quality, regulatory compliance, and maintenance practices.

It is absolutely imperative that safety guidelines are strictly followed, and regular monitoring is carried out to ensure the tritium exit signs are functioning at their optimal level and have a prolonged effective lifespan.

Installation Guide

Here are step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Gather Materials

Ensure you have the tritium exit sign, mounting hardware, and any tools needed for installation.

Step 2: Choose Location

Select a location that complies with local regulations and provides clear visibility. Avoid obstructions and ensure the sign is easily seen from various angles.

Step 3: Mark Mounting Points

Mark the location of the mounting holes on the wall or ceiling, ensuring alignment with those on the exit sign's back.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Carefully drill holes at the marked locations. Use appropriate anchors or screws based on the wall or ceiling material.

Step 5: Secure Mounting Hardware

Attach the mounting hardware securely to the drilled holes. Double-check that it's stable and can support the weight of the exit sign.

Step 6: Install Tritium Exit Sign

Align the holes on the back of the exit sign with the mounted hardware. Secure the sign in place by attaching it to the mounting brackets or screws.

Step 7: Test Illumination

Once installed, allow the tritium exit sign some time to activate. Test its illumination in low-light conditions to ensure it's functioning correctly.

Step 8: Compliance Check

Verify that the installation complies with local building codes and regulations. Make any necessary adjustments if needed.

Step 9: Maintenance

Regularly inspect the exit sign for any damage or signs of wear. Follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and replace the sign if it shows significant deterioration.

Always prioritize safety during installation. If you need clarification, consult a professional or the manufacturer.

Environmental Considerations

Recycling Tritium Exit Signs

To responsibly recycle tritium exit signs:

Contact Manufacturer: Contact the manufacturer for guidance on proper disposal procedures and recycling options.

Follow Regulations: Adhere to local regulations for radioactive waste disposal. Consult with relevant authorities to ensure compliance.

Return to Manufacturer: Some manufacturers offer take-back programs. Returning the expired tritium exit signs to their disposal program is the best way to ensure that your signs are recycled safely as they are made with radioactive materials.

Please bear in mind that the prices for disposal may differ based on the manufacturer, retailer, and any relevant regulations. Proper recycling is crucial to mitigate potential environmental impacts. When not recycled responsibly, tritium exit signs may contribute to radioactive waste, posing risks to ecosystems and public health.

Proper recycling ensures Tritium's safe containment and disposal, preventing its release into the environment. This not only safeguards natural ecosystems but also aligns with sustainable practices. Adhering to recycling guidelines and utilizing authorized disposal services minimizes the environmental footprint, promoting a safer and healthier planet.

Cost and Affordability

Pricing Information

The most common Tritium exit signs, with their self-illuminating properties, are priced at over $200. Typically, they land somewhere closer to the $300 range, but there are good deals you can find depending on the Tritium exit sign seller.

Remember, these are just estimates, and prices can vary based on the manufacturer, retailer, and applicable regulations. Maintenance and disposal costs should also be considered over the sign's life. Always check local regulations regarding using and disposing of tritium exit signs, as they involve radioactive materials.


Our Tritium Exit Sign Guide is designed to help you understand Tritium exit signs better. It covers everything from the glow-in-the-dark appeal of Tritium to practical aspects such as installation, customization, and environmental responsibility. We hope this guide provides a comprehensive understanding of self-luminous exit signs and helps illuminate the path to safety.