Neon signs are iconic, and you can find them scattered all around California and the rest of the country. In fact, the state is home to the oldest constantly running neon light in the world, a neon light that was found at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles.
They’re a popular choice for bars and restaurants because they look classy and give off a fun vibe that fits with food, drinks, and entertainment. But how do neon signs hold up in cold weather? This is a question that many business owners ask themselves when looking for ways to increase their business.
If you are wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will discuss everything from how neon signs react to different temperatures to what materials are used in making them. So read on and find out more about what you need to know about neon signs and cold weather.
Neon Signs & Cold Weather
To understand how a neon sign will react in cold temperatures, you first have to understand what’s happening inside the tube of the sign when it gets too chilly outside. In short, two things that can happen: Either the gas inside of the glass tube can cool off and turn into a liquid, or it can crystallize on the inner walls. When you see your neon sign begin to flicker as if it is having trouble working properly, then this means that that gas has turned into a liquid inside its glass tube. Flickering neon doesn’t necessarily mean a broken sign; it simply means the sign needs to be re-pressurized most of the time.
Different Types of Neon Signs
Below are the types of neon signs you are most likely to see in the United States:
- Pure neon: These are glass signs that use only neon gas as the source of their light. They emit red photons, which results in very vivid and bright red neon lights. Pure neon signs are less susceptible to cold weather.
- Neon/argon blend: This type of sign is similar to pure neon signs, but they contain a small amount of argon with the neon to create different colors. Argon reacts strongly to cold weather, and the ratio of it to neon will determine how the brightness and performance of a neon sign are affected in the winter. They also dim and flicker more than other neon signs in cold weather.
- Neon/helium blend: These signs have helium added to lower their operating temperature range. They emit a very bright blue color which is visible from great distances at night, especially if they are backlit. Also, both helium and argon blended neon signs in blue, green, yellow and white colors are more prone to discoloration in cold weather temperatures.
Do Southern California Winters Get Cold Enough to Affect a Neon Sign?
As mentioned, argon gas is especially susceptible to cold weather. Its atoms can become affected at temperatures 45˚F and under. This causes the gas molecules to move more slowly and may cause your neon sign to appear slightly dimmer. As such, if you live in Southern California, you may wonder if it gets cold enough here to affect a custom neon sign.
Winter weather temperatures in Southern California get down to around 60˚F in the day and with cooler lows ranging around 40-50˚F at night. This means it’s not uncommon for some neon signage to experience a slight dimming at night. Especially those filled with argon.
What Can You Do for Your Neon Signs?
Placing your neon signage on the inside of the store’s windows vs. outside will typically cut down on the negative effects cold weather can have on your glass neon sign. It will keep the tube a bit warmer and also protect it from being hit by debris. Additionally, you can place your sign in front of an air vent to help increase airflow around the tubes; this will prevent moisture buildup inside them when they are not on.
LED Neon Signs
If you are looking for neon signage that will perform better than traditional ones in cold weather, consider opting for an LED version instead. LED illuminated signs emit the same halo glow you see with glass neon, but they run on electricity instead of gas. Also, having LED signs instead of neon ones means that there is no need for warming up and the light will not experience any dimming in cold weather conditions.
Contact Dave’s Signs for Your Custom Sign Needs
If you notice that the lights from your neon sign seem dimmer than usual or if they start flickering for no reason, you should turn the sign-off and give us a call as soon as possible. We will be happy to come out and take a look at your neon sign and let you know what we would recommend that you do.
Neon signage attracts attention like no other type of signage, and Dave’s Signs is a leader in the industry for creating this popular type of handmade signage. If you need to have your custom neon sign replaced or repaired, our experts are available to assist with any questions or concerns that you may have about maintaining your signage throughout the year. Our goal is to ensure our customers have great signage at all times of the day.
Whether your business is looking for something warm or cool-colored, glass neon or LED neon, we have what you are looking for at great prices. Simply call us at (805) 641-1387 or fill out our online form to get a fast and free estimate.