I'm trying to install WiFi expanders in our mostly brick building. The barrier is a lack of outlets where we need them. There are literally no outlets in locations were the WiFi expanders could also connect to the main WiFi router. The easy solution would be to tap the junction box from the exit sign and place an outlet 12-18 inches to the side. Picture of what I'd like to do attached. Is this allowed? (In New York State if it matters)

Edit to add info:

  1. The building is a church built in the 1950s.
  2. The Exit sign source conduit comes from one of the hallway fluorescent light fixtures.
  3. The Exit sign is an LED, always on light with battery backup in case of AC failure.
  4. Behind the exit light it's just a standard steel junction box

exit sign outlet

  • Does this exit sign have its own battery pack for backup power? Sep 15, 2019 at 20:59
  • This sounds like a bodge... most exit signs are controlled with a supply during an emergency situation to stay working for 2 hours or so (depends on location) but if you add routers to the load you may get much less time - an unsafe idea.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 15, 2019 at 21:37
  • I thought emergency lights had to be on a dedicated circuit,
    – JACK
    Sep 15, 2019 at 21:51
  • 2
    @JACK -- the rules depend on whether this is unit equipment (with a built-in battery) or not -- unit equipment is generally required to not be on a dedicated circuit, while setups that use an external emergency power source will be on a dedicated circuit Sep 15, 2019 at 23:49
  • 1
    @dandavis we had ours all powered from a dedicated ups... but we did have a special site and we used the copper sheathed cable with the mineral type insulation - real bitch when someone damaged it...
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 16, 2019 at 5:06

3 Answers 3


I don't know whether it's ok or not from a code perspective, but I wouldn't do it.

If I were you I would install access points and power them with POE. You'll get much better and more reliable wifi. It will be a little more expensive especially if you already own the extenders, but would definitely be cheaper if you have to run new circuits.


Note that in some areas (in New Zealand, for example), your emergency lighting and signage needs to be regularly tested. Typically by disconnecting the power to those circuits for e.g. 2 hours.

Do you want your networking to fall over every few months when the tests happen?

This looks like conduit; you may be able to pull more wires for another circuit. Or slap some more conduit up.


Trying to edit I deleted oops,, It depends on the occupancy. Some require dedicated circuits but if the router could be classified as part of the critical equipment it would be allowed even in a hospital. Emergency lighting cannot have thermal overloads that many lights do have but the router may be able to be added, for example I worked in a hospital as a “engineer” but was a state certified electrician. This was the early days of routers and repeaters but even then they were allow on our e power, most of these devices were close to doors that allowed the signals to reach other buildings. Back then only ICU it was a NONO because the possible case of a ventilation machine doing a double inflate could pop a lung or cause an air bubble to be forced into the blood stream. This was back in analog cell phone days and today they are digital with much lower power requirements but I would check if in a hospital you don’t want to fail a jaco? or joint commission inspection it has been close to 20 years so I might have the initials wrong but this is the organization that rates hospitals.

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