Admit it: you did a double-take when you opened your hydro bill last month.
These days, who doesn’t? For many Ontario businesses, utilities are consistently near the top of operating expenses.
That’s why it’s become increasingly important to lower your energy consumption in all areas ‒ including your signage.
Should You Retrofit Your Sign With LED Lighting?
The good news is, the sign industry has stepped up to meet your energy reduction demands.
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and strip lights can drastically reduce what you spend on your indoor and outdoor commercial signage. And thanks to LED sign retrofits, you don’t have to invest in a whole new sign box or cabinet to do it.
Still, when your goal is to cut costs, you’ve really got to consider whether investing in any kind of sign upgrade ‒ even a basic retrofit ‒ is really worth the money.
Sign LITE has completed commercial sign retrofits and installations across Ontario.
Truth be told, without knowing about your business, we can’t say for certain whether an LED retrofit is right for you.
We can only share what we’ve seen firsthand in our experience as sign installation and service technicians.
Sign LITE has been servicing business owners across Southwestern Ontario for the last 40 years – since before LED signage was really even an option. We basically had front-row seats to watch LED lighting technology evolve!
Today, we routinely help businesses achieve savings of hundreds, even thousands of dollars in annual energy costs through LED lighting and sign retrofits.
Here is why, by the numbers, LED sign retrofit is well worth the investment.
1. LED Signs Operate at 80% Efficiency
All forms of lighting (including fluorescent tubes, LEDs and neon) turn some of their energy into heat instead of light. However, LED lamps are engineered to minimize energy waste as much as possible.
A sign box or cabinet retrofitted with LED lights will convert at least 80% of its energy into light, generating the same amount of light at less than 50% of the operating cost of traditional fluorescent tube lights.
At a cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of 20.8 cents (the on-peak rate for small businesses as of January 2020), the difference between fluorescent and LED lights is around 236.52 watts, meaning you could save $49 a year for every light you retrofit.
Sign LITE services outdoor and indoor commercial signage, like this brilliant sign at a food court in Ontario.
3. LED Lights Have a Lifespan of Over 25,000 Hours
Of all the light sources available for commercial signage, LED signs last longer and deliver the best long-term performance by a mile. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours, with low-end LEDs offering up to 25,000 hours and the top-rated bulbs lasting 200,000 or more. This impressive lifespan means you’ll go far longer between fixture and lamp replacements than with fluorescents!
Newer fluorescent tubes have a much longer lifespan than their predecessors, but even the high-performance products tend to need replacement after 15,000 hours’ use. Fluorescent lights also lose efficiency with age, requiring more current is required to achieve the same lighting output.
Although LEDs do lose efficiency as current and heat output increase, the drop is relatively low compared to fluorescents, so you can hold off on replacing LEDs for longer.
5. An LED Sign Retrofit Can Be Complete in Just a Few Hours
Don’t believe it? Check out this video of a technician installing an LED sign kit in under an hour. Better yet, you’ll see how it compares to a fluorescent sign installation!
Many existing fluorescent sign cabinets use T12 lamps, which lends itself to a fast, one-to-one LED retrofit. Signs comprised of individual channel letters can also be populated with LEDs. No two signs are exactly alike, but there’s always a solution ‒ and often, it can be said and done in an afternoon.
Another job well done. Canada's most trusted brands trust Sign LITE for sign service and installation!
Learn More About LED Sign Retrofits
Reducing operating costs requires some tough business decisions, but this is one decision that won’t keep you up at night! Switching to LED sign lights is easy, and it can save you hundreds or even thousands in sign repairs and maintenance costs.
Sign LITE has a modern fleet of vehicles and equipment ready to service your commercial sign in Southwestern Ontario. Our certified technicians are capable and qualified to retrofit your signage quickly and effectively.
Illuminated signs are fixtures of our modern city landscapes. It’s hard to imagine life without them! But few among us really stop to think about what it costs to keep those beacons alight 365 days a year.
Granted, sign lighting usually isn’t the biggest drain on your monthly expenses. Thanks to solid-state lighting, the overall energy footprint of electric signs is fairly insignificant.
Still, every illuminated sign you install at your locations does add to your overhead. We can help you keep those costs as low as possible ‒ without compromising on the beauty and effectiveness of your signage.
Here are several ways to reduce what you spend on operating your electric signs!
Call a sign lighting professional for help fine-tuning signs at your location. Not only could it reduce your hydro bill, but it’ll ensure your sign gets noticed for the right reasons!
2. Get an Energy-Saving LED Retrofit
The promise of brighter, more efficient LEDs has encouraged their use in all sorts of outdoor lighting applications, including parking lot lighting and backlit signs.
In fact, sign manufacturers have been leaders in championing the adoption of LEDs! By the time LED lamps became widely available in the mid-2000s, we’d already been using solid-state lighting for over a decade.
Today, LED lighting is often the single most energy-efficient options available for commercial signage by far. LED bulbs last 25 longer and use 75% less energy than fluorescent bulbs.
Not ready to replace your signage outright? We can retrofit your single or double-sided sign cabinets on-site. Call us to get an LED sign retrofit quotation!
3. Install Illuminated Sign Controls
Chances are, you’ve got some type of automated control system for your exterior lighting already, like an on/off timer based on the time of day. But what about your illuminated signage?
You wouldn’t wait until something goes catastrophically wrong to get your car serviced, would you? Don’t let it happen to your illuminated signage either! Preventative maintenance is crucial.
Treat your signage as an investment, The more you keep up with scheduled service, the longer your sign is likely to last ‒ and the less likely it is incur unexpected repair costs. Proactive maintenance could save you a lot of money over the course of its lifetime.
As an added bonus, Sign LITE provides our customers with our innovative Night Watch program at no extra cost! This involves a regular, after dark inspection of your location and a next day report of any locations that need attention. It’s the easiest way to identify quick repairs before unnecessary (and often costly) problems develop!
This is one of the simplest and fastest ways to cut your costs down a notch, Obviously, a sign that’s covered in dirt, grime and cobwebs doesn’t shine nearly as bright as it should!
By some estimates, cleaning up your outdoor lighting (including illuminated signage) van make them 20-30% brighter at no additional cost whatsoever.
Always follow the steps outlined in your sign’s maintenance manual when it comes to cleaning. Be careful, as the surface could suffer damage from certain cleaning chemicals. When in doubt, just contact a sign lighting service professional!
Your sign is the first impression of your business. A well-functioning, energy-efficient sign is money in the bank! To learn more about keeping your sign at its best, contact the service professionals at Sign LITE today.
On the other hand...there are times where it makes more sense to retire an old sign that’s showing its age.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re torn between sign repair and replacement. And if you’re still undecided, you can always reach out to a certified technician for a qualified opinion on your specific case!
There’s no denying it: clients and customers tend to judge a book by its cover. Your primary signage is one of the first things people notice about your business. When a sign falls into neglect, people might assume you’re going through hard times or worse, that you’ve gone out of business. A few dents and scratches may not make a difference, but a long-dead lightbulb or rust definitely will!
Having your sign serviced should do the trick, but if the signage is too far gone, it is well worth investing in a replacement. Your business depends on it!
Your Sign vs. Your Image
Of course your signage should reflect your current colours, logo and message. Minor changes to your brand might not necessitate a new sign, so long as it’s still recognizable. But when you’re already debating between repair and replacement, a change of branding is a big point in favour of the latter!
Concerned about an old, electric sign affecting your hydro bill? You could start saving yourself a lot of money on utilities by having it retrofitted. There are numerous retrofit options available for various kinds of electric signs, and it’ll likely cost less than having the whole thing replaced outright.
Some types of electric signage are just too outdated to service or repair efficiently, especially if the necessary parts are no longer available. A decades-old sign could very well cost more to repair than it would to replace. However, there may be retrofit options available that will bring it up to speed with modern technology while preserving the vintage look.
As times change, so do sign bylaws. If you know there are some more restrictive rules coming down the line, you might consider foregoing your annual service and replacing your signage to align with the new bylaws now. The opposite might also be true: maybe a change in bylaws has unlocked the opportunity to upgrade to bigger signage.
Need Sign Service or Replacement?
Whether you’re looking to have a sign repaired or have your heart set on replacement, it’s always worth speaking to a certified technician for a qualified opinion! We’ve been helping Southwestern Ontario businesses with illuminated and non-illuminated signs for over 40 years. Get in touch to learn more about our sign repair, retrofit and new sign manufacturing services.
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.!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.