When you look at commercial signage, you find that many of them look the same. They're crafted from the same materials, they use much of the same lighting, and they all kind of run together. I decided that there had to be a better way to market a business. That's when I started looking into how to do custom signs made from things like hand-crafted metal, reclaimed wood, and similar types of materials. I created this site to share my signage and marketing tips that I've learned in the hopes that other business owners will see how easy it is to step outside the box.
Neon signs are a work of art. It takes a neon artist to create the special glass tubing, shape the tubing just right, and then carefully fill the tubing with the special inert gases that help the sign light up. So, what happens when these signs break, or they stop lighting up? How does the artist fix that? Here is how, as well as the reasons why you cannot do this yourself.
Broken Glass Tubing
In the case of broken glass tubing, the artist has to remove the broken tube and fashion a new one. There is no way to effectively repair a glass tube and still have it function properly after it has been refilled with gas. Additionally, hand-blown glass tubing could be repaired, but the area where the tubing was destroyed will be quite obvious, if the artist can even manage to get the inert gas to ignite. This is why you will never see a broken neon sign tube repaired; they are always replaced.
The Tubing Is Fine, but It Does Not Light Up
More often than not, you will see neon lights that blink, or sign parts that simply stop lighting up and go dark. The problem here is that the light has burned up all of the inert gas that was inside the tube. There is no gas left for the electricity to burn, so the light goes out. The good news is that the artist can refill the tubes with the gas that was previously inside, and then the light will work again. However, the gas must be of the same type used previously to light that tube. Using a different inert gas than the original inside the same tube could cause an unpleasant accident.
As for the gases used, neon is just one type of gas. Most people do not realize that neon only creates the color orange when ignited. To get the other colors of "neon" in a neon sign, an artist uses other types of inert gas.
Blue comes from electrically charged mercury, light blue is a mix of argon and mercury gases, colored phosphors combined with argon and/or mercury product greens, blues and yellows, other whites and yellows require helium, bluish-white is the result of burning xenon gas, and, not surprisingly, burning krypton gas results in greenish white light. As you can see, an artist has to be selective and careful in fashioning the light. If he/she runs out of one type of gas, he/she has to order more to refill a glass tube in the sign.
Glass Tubing Seems to Be Loose
The glass tubes on your neon sign are tightly secured to a background/board. This ensures that the electricity traveling into the tubes and causing the necessary discharge to light up the tubes will happen as expected. When these tubes become loose, (and they often do over time), their electrical connection is not as tight as it needs to be for the tubes to get the electrical charge they need.
Thankfully, this is an easy enough repair for the artist. He or she only has to tighten up the metal ends on the tubes and make sure the wiring is still attached. Then your neon light should light up again with no further issues.
Why You Cannot DIY a Neon Sign Repair
Given both the scientific and artistic technical difficulty needed to produce a neon sign, you cannot expect to DIY this repair on your own. It could result in electric shock, combustion from inserting two different incompatible gases in the same tube, or broken glass that has to be replaced completely rather than repaired. If your neon sign is having problems, it is in your best interests to take it back to the company or artist that created it when the sign needs repair. For additional information on neon sign repair, contact a company like Coast Graphics & Signs.Share