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Sign of the Times: Keeping Your Signs Illuminated Throughout the Year

Sign of the Times: Keeping Your Signs Illuminated Throughout the Year

We've all seen them lurking during nightfall, on the side of the road. It’s the embarrassing display of a poorly lit sign. Sure, there are some building and pylon signs that do not require illumination to advertise, but often times properly lit signs are essential for attracting potential customers, especially when it’s dark outside. Dim or dark signs can result in questionable advertising, loss in business revenue and overall costly energy inefficiency. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your sign.

Update Photocells and Mechanical Timers to Astronomic Timers Proper on/off cycles are needed to maintain sign efficiency. Many business owners use photocells to control signs. This light controlled resistor operates off solar energy to produce a control signal that acts as a switch for the sign to turn on or off. This is not the most dependable source of control for your sign as it is easy for lights to go off, and according to master electrician at Texas Electrical, Phil Davis, the photocells only work correctly in the dark and will inherently break down. Since photocells often have issues, repairs can become rather costly.

Though mechanical timers are very popular for controlling signs, they too have their own disadvantages. According to Davis, mechanical time clocks are affected by power outages and time change complications such as daylight savings time. Problems like these can delay your sign from lighting by up to four or five hours, missing peak evening activity when you really want to be seen.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the suggested source of controlling your signage, astronomic time clocks. Astronomic time clocks feature a built in computer that’s programmed for your longitude and latitude. What’s really wonderful about these devices is that they automatically adjust to seasonal changes and daylight savings time, allowing you to only set the timer once. Astronomic timers also have built in backup batteries for power outages.  You can basically forget about ever having to adjust it again. These clocks provide complete control, giving you the option to modify them anytime you need.

Retrofit your sign from Neon to LED

Neon has long been a source of lighting for signage. Whether trying to entice customers with a lit pylon sign or with large standard channel letters on the front of a building, neon signs were the way to go. Neon lights create vibrant colors by discharging gas enclosed in bent glass tubing. While there is certainly an art to creating a neon sign, conservation can often outweigh the benefits. The glass tubing frequently breaks, making for expensive maintenance. Furthermore, traditional neon signs use more energy than LED signs and don’t have nearly as many options for display changes as LED signs, particularly on electronic message boards.

Still not sure LED is the best option for your sign? You’re actually not alone. There is a major debate on the subject. However, LED is considered more price- efficient with an 80% savings pay back in about 2 years. It requires little to no maintenance and unlike neon technology, LEDs do not contain mercury. But even with all its pluses, some still believe neon just looks better. LEDs can have a more industrial, technical look, while neon appears more whimsical and inviting. The verdict is equally split on brightness. According to Dale Vick, Vice President of Texas Electrical: “In my opinion if you are going for the ‘exposed neon look’ then it does look better; however, if you are using channel letters with a face, LED looks better. It’s more luminous.”

So, whether it’s upgrading a timer or retrofitting to LED, sign visibility plays a major role in business advertisement. Your sign helps capture the attention of a potential client. Just think of it as lucrative lumens. If we missed something, or you’d like to tell us all about your sign lighting issues, feel free to comment below. As always, drop us a little line on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest.

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