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How to Service Your Electric Sign Before Winter: 5 Steps

 

 

Winter can be a curse and a blessing. For some, it marks the single busiest season of the year. For others, a slow time, and a chance to catch up on things around the office.

 

But for all of us, it also means going up against the full might of our Canadian climate: plowing snow, icing walkways, and battening down the hatches at your commercial property.

 

That includes preparing your outdoor electric signage for everything nature can throw at it.

 

So, how do you go about servicing your electric sign before winter truly descends on us? Here’s what you need to know about winterizing your outdoor sign to minimize damage and save money.

 

5 Steps to Winterize an Electric Sign

These basic steps will help you protect your property from winter hazards, including:

  • Extreme cold
  • Snow, hail and ice
  • High winds
  • Poor visibility
  • Power surges
1. Have Your Outdoor Signage Cleaned Before Winter

Your sign will already be harder to spot in the reduced light of winter, so excess dirt won’t be doing it any favours! Cleaning will also help you get more bang from your lighting buck by boosting its light output.

 

Follow the steps outlined in your sign’s maintenance manual to clean off any dirt, grime, insects, cobwebs or other contaminants. Don’t assume that any old cleaner will do ‒ the material could react badly and suffer damage from certain cleaning chemicals. When in doubt, you can always call a signage professional.

 

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, and it’s much easier done in the fall than in winter!

 

2. Replace Burned Out Bulbs

Swap out your dim or flickering bulbs before the temperature falls! As winter gets closer and the days get longer, you’ll need your electric sign to shine as bright as can be.

 

Mounting a ladder to replace burnt-out lamps requires a great deal of care and caution at any time of year. Doing it in the winter, when surfaces are slippery and the cold nips your fingers, only adds to the risk of injuries and broken bulbs. 

 

3. Repaint, Reseal and Refresh

Notice a few spots where the paint has chipped or the colour has faded? The nasty weather only accelerate this kind of deterioration, adding to the expense of touching up your sign next spring.

 

Now’s the best time to deal with any chips, cracks or faded areas and apply a new coat of weatherproof seal to protect your signage from snow and ice.

 

By the way...have you noticed condensation building up inside your electric sign? Has it taken on water during the last few rainfalls? Then it’s definitely time to look at having the sign resealed, too.

 

Once winter comes, any moisture inside the sign will freeze, expand and unfreeze as the temperature swings.

 

4. Protect Your Electric Sign from Power Surges

Between fallen branches, heavy wind and road accidents, the odds of power lines arcing this winter is high. This increases the risk of a nearby power surge, which can take out your sign’s electrical components in an instant.

 

 Make sure your signage is properly grounded and equipped with surge protection.

 

5. Inspect the Structure from Top to Bottom

If recent history has taught us anything, it’s to never underestimate winter’s wrath.

 

We’ve been through a series of particularly nasty storms the past few winters in Ontario that have ripped trees from their roots and snapped huge branches like twigs. You don’t want your sign getting caught in that kind of weather if it’s in poor condition to begin with. Remember: you could be in a lot of hot water if your sign breaks loose in heavy winds and damages someone’s property.

 

Before the ground is covered with snow, have your signage inspected from top to bottom by a sign service professional. This will include checking for broken or loose fittings, replacing rusty chains and wires, and ensuring the sign is fully secured to its structure.

Have Your Sign Serviced This Fall

Your outdoor signs are a major business investment. Not only does it project your image out into the world, but it carries a hefty price, too! Having your sign serviced today can save you a lot of work next spring.

 

Sign LITE has a modern fleet of vehicles and qualified technicians standing by to service your on-site signage. Call us or contact us online to book your fall service appointment today.!

 

 

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How to Choose the Perfect Sign for Your Business

 

Signs are a key part of branding any successful business. Your sign is your first opportunity to make a good first impression on potential customers, so it only makes sense to make it your best.

 

Crafting the perfect sign for your business does require some planning to get it right:

 

Regulations

The first step in deciding on the right style of signage for your business is to learn about what the local regulations will allow.

 

Cities, townships and counties all have by-laws governing placement and installation of retail signs. It’s a good idea to become aware of any permits you need, before you start. Nothing can be more disappointing than becoming excited about a sign design, and later having to remove it!

 

Provincial or territorial laws govern size and placement of highway billboards, such as pole height and distance from the road. If your building is leased, or if you are located in a shopping plaza or mall, you will need approval from your landlord.

 

Cost

A sign is an investment. It makes sense to get the largest size and the highest quality sign you can afford. Keep in mind, it is also the least expensive but most effective form of advertising. A well-designed, well placed sign can generate huge profits, especially when part of an overall marketing strategy.

 

Additionally, your sign should be low-maintenance and last a number of years. It needs to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week telling people who and where you are.

 

Design

The design of your sign should be a reflection of your brand and convey the kind of services you provide. Your sign communicates with passing pedestrians and motorists as an invitation to come through your doors and do business with you. The type of sign you choose should make it easy for anyone to find you, dar or night.

 

You'll need to consider shape, size, structure, and materials.

 

Signs can come in many shapes and sizes, as small as a countertop sign, and as large as a highway billboard, illuminated or not. They can be crafted from different materials such as acrylic, lexan, wood, metal or glass, each with their own set of pros and cons

 

To be effective, your sign also needs to be noticeable and readable.

 

Maintenance

How you maintain your sign will reflect the image you project to your potential customers. Some signs are cirtually maintenance-free, others - such as signs made from wood may need repainting or varnishing. The visual of an illuminated sign is second to none. Keep in mind that lighted signs may need light bulbs or tubes replaced from time to time.

 

For energy consumption, consider an LED retrofit. LED light offer superior illumination with lower operating costs. Contact us today for a FREE estimate.

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3 Things All Buyers Look for in Commercial Property

What’s the number one thing buyers look for in commercial real estate?

 

Many would say the answer is location. There’s no denying that a property’s location is foremost in the minds of commercial buyers.

 

However, there’s more to location than a property’s address. Prospects will also ask questions like:

  • What is the cost of utilities and upkeep?
  • Does it look attractive and welcoming (and if not, what will it cost to bring it up to par)?
  • Is the property safe and secure?
  • Are there major repairs, renovations or replacements on the horizon?
  • Is the space accessible to our clients and customers?

Things buyers look for

 

With that in mind, here are a few key areas of improvement to focus on when it comes to preparing a commercial property for sale.

 

1. Exterior Condition of the Building(s)

When people visit the same location every day, they tend to turn a blind eye to its minor imperfections – things like graffiti, chipped paint, or a burned-out light.

 

It’s an effect called habituation. We stop noticing things we see or hear many times.

 

However, people who see the property for the very first time are bound to notice its flaws, especially those who are scrutinizing it as a prospective buyer. Even minor faults could raise questions about the costs of restoration.

 

Is it feasible to remove that graffiti, or will we have to paint over it?

 

What will it cost to strip and restore that rusted railing?

 

If the owner hasn’t bothered to replace a light, what does it say about their care for the rest of the property?

 

As a seller or manager preparing a commercial property for sale, you should endeavour to view the condition of the property with fresh eyes. Think of the impression it makes on someone seeing it for the first time.

 

Making a small investment in exterior repairs and restoration can go a long way when it comes to winning over buyers.

 

2. Cost of Upkeep

Energy expenses can be substantial here in Southwestern Ontario, even for small businesses.

 

Prospective commercial property buyers pay close attention to the efficiency and overall condition of any appliances, lighting, and other building systems that come with it. It counts as a strike against the property when the equipment is outdated or inefficient.

 

On the other hand, energy-efficient appliances and lighting can be a strong selling point.

Upgrading a property’s heating, cooling, and lighting systems can significantly increase its value and reduce risk in the eyes of a buyer.

 

Luckily, there are many rebates and programs in Ontario designed to help businesses become more efficient. For example, the Retrofit Program can provide funding for LED lighting retrofits and control systems.

 

3. Parking

It is clear why parking amenities are so important to commercial buyers.

 

Although alternative transportation is gaining in popularity, most of us still get around in our own vehicles. Outside the City of Toronto, over 80% of the population of Ontario commutes by car or truck.

 

It’s not enough simply to have adequate space for customers, clients and employees to park; the parking space must also be safe. Not only is a poorly-lit parking lot uninviting, but it could easily become a liability issue for the property owner.

 

That’s one of the last things you want prospective buyers to contemplate when they see your property.

 

Having a clean, brightly-lit parking area is a big point in favour of any commercial property.

 

Need Help Preparing Commercial Property for Sale?

SignLITE supports property owners and property managers on commercial restoration projects across Southwestern Ontario. Our services include professional graffiti removal, commercial sign repairs and restoration, LED lighting, other outdoor commercial and industrial lighting, and interior and exterior media blasting.

 

Contact us to get your commercial property in shape in sell.

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How Businesses Can Benefit from an LED Sign Retrofit

A hundred years ago, neon lighting was the cutting edge of sign illumination. That began to change in the 1960s when fluorescent bulbs presented as a safer and more efficient option. Now, businesses in Canada and abroad are increasingly abandoning fluorescent bulbs in favour of LED sign retrofits.

 

LED sign retrofit

 

Here’s how businesses can benefit from an LED sign retrofit.

 

A Brief History of Sign Illumination

 

The history of neon lighting begins long before its heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s. The technology originates from the lab of two German physicists in the 1850s, who discovered how neon gas emitted a bright red glow on contact with an electric charge. Mixing other gases produced a wide range of colours.

 

The intensity of the light made in unsuitable for ambient or task lighting, but perfect for creating eye-catching signage on storefronts and roadside displays. A French inventor named Georges Claude sold his first neon sign in 1912, and the rest is history; neon quickly became the standard in sign illumination.

 

Towards the latter half of the century, the appeal of neon lighting began to fade, and a new lighting technology took the spotlight. Fluorescent bulbs were safer and more energy-efficient than neon lighting. Many businesses replaced neon signage with plastic sign cabinets illuminated by fluorescent bulbs.

 

Until recently, fluorescent bulbs were the number one choice in outdoor commercial lighting. That changed with the proliferation of light-emitting diodes or LED lighting. LED sign retrofits are more affordable than ever, and the ongoing benefits of LED lighting make them the smartest choice for the bottom line.

 

Benefits of LED Lighting in Commercial Signage

 

LED lighting is one of the most energy-efficient lighting options available for commercial signage today. It lasts 25 times longer and uses 75% less energy than fluorescent bulbs, which dramatically reduces ongoing maintenance and operating costs. A high-quality LED bulb can last 25,000 hours or more, which translates to three straight years of 24/7 use!

 

Switching from Fluorescent to LEDs with an LED Sign Retrofit

 

In many cases, it is possible to replace HO fluorescent lamps in sign cabinets with energy-efficient LEDs. An LED sign retrofit gives you the benefits of LED lighting without the expense of replacing your existing signage altogether.

 

There are many systems available for retrofitting single and double-sided sign cabinets on-site. However, making the switch from fluorescent to LED lighting is not as simple as buying a retrofit kit. If your sign is due for a re-lamp, Sign LITE can help you find the solution that works for you.

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Danny Sullivan
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October 17, 2019
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