Neon vs. LEDs
Before LEDs came into the signage world, neon was the go-to for illuminated signs. Many businesses still have neon tube signs to give their storefront a vintage look but there are many reasons why a lot of business owners are contacting sign companies like us to convert their internally illuminated signs to LEDs.
According to The Sign Studio, neon signs can use up to 9,000 to 15,000 volts while LEDs only use 12 volts. Not only does this mean that they are less of a fire hazard, you will also be saving money on your electric bill. This is a great benefit for businesses that are open after sunset and require their outdoor signage to be illuminated for several hours a day. Although the initial cost of LEDs are more than neon, you will definitely save money in the long run due to the energy efficiency.
LEDs are generally easier to take care of. Especially in the sign industry where we are delivering the signs to our customers and installing them, a fragile neon tube is more of a hazard than LEDs. Neon can also illuminate unevenly if the gas inside leaks, which can definitely happen over time. Replacing a burnt out LED is much easier than getting a new neon tube.
Rather than illuminating 360 degrees, LEDs illuminate in a specific direction which is great for channel letters. When we make a front-lit channel letter, only the face is translucent and the rest of the channel letter is made from aluminum. For reverse-lit channel letters, only the back of the channel letter is clear so the wall can be illuminated to create a halo effect around each letter. We paint the inside of the channel letter high-reflective white to help intensify the illumination of the LEDs. In either case, we only need illumination to be facing a specific direction. The directional illumination is more efficient in this case because we are only using energy where is needs to be used.
To perform the conversion we first removed the channel letter faces. Channel letter faces are specifically made to be removed easily in case any maintenance is necessary inside of the channel letters. We removed the neon and installed and wired new red LEDs to match their company color.
Check out our website to see other LED conversion jobs we’ve done. We also handle other channel letter restoration like LED repairs and creating new faces and trim caps for existing channel letter signs.