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How Long Do Neon Signs Last?

by Laura BrambleUpdated September 26, 2017

Neon signs are bits of Americana that capture the retro feel of the 1930s through the 1950s. Many signs from that era are so iconic that they are still in place. But for those out there who are looking for a basic neon sign, there is a shelf life.

Considerations

The life of neon signs is limited by two things: how long the transformer lasts and how long the tube’s color coatings and gas last.

Transformer Life

The typical transformer lasts for between eight and 15 years, depending on how much usage a sign gets. Some signs that are kept indoors, away from heat, can last longer.

Function

Blinking signs tend to last for a shorter period, as do ones that are exposed to the outdoors and experience surges or inconsistent electrical supply.

Tube Life

The luminous tubes in the signs usually last for 8 to 15 years as well, though in the right environment, a tube has the ability to last for decades. Coatings last for around 7 to 10 years, depending on the amount of usage and the brightness of the sign.

Repair

Tubing can be repaired or recoated, fresh gas can be added and transformers can be replaced, so your sign has the potential to last for a long time if you choose to spend the money to fix it.

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