How to Care for Neon Signs

How to Care for Neon Signs

The beauty and brilliance of a neon sign is hard to match. Whether lighting up the Las Vegas Strip or your hometown diner, brightly glowing neon signs have been a part of American culture for over 100 years. By following the tips for proper care below, you will be able to keep your signs shining like new. 

Keep your Sign in Safe Area

First things first - although fairly resilient, neon signs are made of glass tubing.  Like any glass, neon tubing has a tendency to break if it gets whacked by something. Display your sign in a place that minimize contact with people or other objects. They operate best above 50 degrees Fahrenheit but can be stored down to -60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Colder temperatures will affect the brightness of your neon sign.

Can I Leave My Neon Sign Powered on All of the Time?

Vintage neon signs will last longer if you leave them plugged in and powered on. Repeated on and off cycles can ultimately wear out the sign’s transformer. However, this is usually not an issue with the transformers in new neon signs. For most newly produced neon signs, if left alone on a wall and used intermittently, they can easily last 20 to 30 years with no recharge. If left on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, their life expectancy is 40,000 hours or about 4.5 years. They are best when left alone, that is why it was the lighting of choice in Las Vegas for over 75 years. Follow manufacturer instructions. Nevertheless, however long you keep you neon sign turned on, don’t worry about energy usage – unlike the filaments used in incandescent bulbs that waste the majority of their energy producing heat instead of light, neon is very efficient and the average sign just costs pennies a day to power.

 Keep it Clean

We recommend powering off and unplugging your sign when it is time to clean it. To clean, first carefully brush the surface of the glass tubing with a soft bristled brush to remove any surface dust and dirt (a paint brush can work well for this). Follow up with a light vacuuming of the sign to pick up any remaining particles.  If this doesn’t completely do the job, gently wipe the tubing with a wet soft cloth (water alone will usually be enough). However, for signs that have been in a smokey environment like a bar or near a kitchen in a restaurant, water might not be enough to clean the layers of nicotine and grease that have probably covered the neon tubes.  If that’s the case, we recommend cleaning the tubing with either a mixture of water and dish soap or water and white vinegar (avoid products containing ammonia).

So that’s it!  By following these simple steps you will be able to enjoy your neon sign for many years to come.

Thanks for reading! Grease Monkey Garage was founded by car guys, for car guys.  Whether you are in the market for retro neon signs, vintage neon signs, retro metal signs, retro car signs, vintage car signs, vintage metal signs, garage art or other garage decor or man cave decor, we've got you covered!

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