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Why do neon signs stop working?

Why Do Neon Signs Stop Working?


Why do neon signs stop working? For more than a century, neon signs have been a well-liked and effective method for advertising businesses and adding a touch of visual flair to storefronts. Neon signs, however, are susceptible to wear and tear and eventually becoming inoperable, just like any other electrical device. In this piece, we will discuss the factors that lead to the malfunctioning of neon signs, as well as the steps that may be taken to avoid such an occurrence.

Why do neon signs stop working?

How do neon signs work?

Let’s first have a grasp on how neon signs function before moving on to the topic of why they stop working. Glass tubes are used in the construction of neon signs, and these tubes are filled with a gas mixture that includes neon. After that, the tube is sealed, and electrodes are fastened to each end of the tube. Ionising the neon atoms and so causing them to generate light is accomplished by passing an electrical current through the gas in question. This is what produces the brilliant and colourful glow that is characteristic of neon signs. Neon signs are known for having this shine.

Reasons why neon signs stop working

Gas leakage

Leakage of gas is one of the most typical causes for neon signs to stop functioning properly. The seals that prevent the gas from escaping the tube can deteriorate and develop cracks over time, allowing the gas to escape. When there is not enough gas in the tube, the electrodes are unable to ionise enough neon atoms to produce the amount of brightness that is desired. Because of this, the neon sign may appear dull or may even stop working entirely.

neon signs stop working

Electrode damage

Ionising the gas in a neon sign requires the production of an electrical current, which can only be accomplished by using the electrodes. Nevertheless, with time, heat and normal wear and tear can cause them to deteriorate and get damaged. In the event that the electrodes are broken, they are unable to generate the essential electrical current, which results in the neon sign becoming inoperable. For Illuminated sign refurbishment see here.

Transformer issues

In a neon sign, it is the job of the transformer to change the voltage coming into the sign into the voltage that is necessary to ionise the gas contained within the tube. If the transformer is broken or otherwise malfunctioning, it could not be able to supply the appropriate voltage, which would result in the neon sign becoming inoperable.

Broken glass tube

The glass tube that is used to retain the gas mixture in a neon sign is fragile, and it is possible to damage it if it is handled improperly or if it is subjected to sudden fluctuations in temperature. In the event that the neon sign’s glass tube breaks, the enclosed gas will be released, rendering the sign inoperable.


Neon signs, much like any other type of electrical instrument, have a finite lifespan. The components that make up a neon sign can deteriorate with time, which can result in a reduction in the sign’s brightness or even its entire failure. The amount of time a neon sign is able to remain lit depends on a number of factors including how often it is used, how well it is maintained, and the conditions in which it is kept.

Preventing neon sign failure

Even though some of the things that can cause neon signs to stop operating are outside of our control, there are still things that you can do to increase the amount of time that your neon sign will remain in good working order.

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance can assist in the detection and correction of any problems before they result in the failure of the neon sign. This can include things like evaluating the electrodes and the transformer, looking for evidence of gas leaking, and cleaning the glass tube.

Proper handling

A neon sign’s glass tube and electrodes are more susceptible to breakage if the sign is not handled with the utmost care. This includes preventing sudden shifts in temperature and shielding the neon sign from any kind of harm that could be caused by the outside world.

Upgrading components

Improving a neon sign’s lifespan and performance can be accomplished by upgrading some components, such as the transformer or the electrodes. This is something that might be very helpful for older neon signs that might be getting close to the end of their useful lives.


In conclusion, neon signs may stop functioning owing to a wide range of circumstances, including gas leaks, damaged electrodes, problems with the transformer, shattered glass tubes, and simply the passing of time. Even while we can’t change some of these elements, upgrading neon sign components, doing routine maintenance, and properly handling the signs are all things that can help extend their lifespan and improve their performance. Businesses and people will be able to continue to benefit from the eye-catching and enduring attractiveness of neon signs for many years to come if they follow the guidelines outlined below.

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