Installing LED lighting is a great way to save money and keep the lighting for your sign looking great for a longer time. But adding the wrong lighting or trying to rig up a new fixture yourself can result in changes to how the sign looks, as well as bringing in added problems with ice, snow, and other environmental factors. Retrofitting the sign is best left to a specialist because of the factors that go into keeping your sign looking the same as before.
Ensure the Colors of the Sign Still Look the Same
LEDs now come in many warmths and colors, so you can upgrade your sign to the new lighting while ensuring the overall look of the sign remains the same. However, it can be tempting to simply add a generic white light that ends up making the sign look washed out instead of bright or that gives the sign a bluish cast (common if you're using a "cool" white LED, which often has a clean but bluish tint). Look at the warmth and lumens to determine the best type. The warmer the light, the lower the Kelvin or K number will be; these warmer lights are more similar to incandescent lighting in appearance. The lumens describe how bright the light is. Also, be sure that the bulbs don't create a spotlight effect if you don't want one.
Add Extra Protection Against Ice and Snow
If you're upgrading your sign lighting from a different type of light to LEDs (as opposed to upgrading from older LEDs to newer bulbs), you'll notice a reduction in energy use because LED bulbs don't release as much heat. But that also means that any snow and ice that end up on your sign in winter (and remember that even more southerly areas can still get the occasional deep freeze) aren't going to melt as much as they did when you used warmer incandescents or halogen. You'll have to add extra shielding against ice and snow so that the lights and parts of the sign aren't obscured when the weather turns freezing.
Ensure the New Fixtures Are Meant for Outdoor Use
Your outdoor signs are going to face whatever the environment wants to throw at them, and you have to be sure that the fixtures you use for the LED lights are meant for outdoor use. If you have a retrofitting company install the fixtures, the company reps will show you different options for the fixtures and ensure that they are well shielded from the elements. This protection can vary by area; for example, if you're in the Plains or the South, protection from hail is important.
The easiest way to get this done is to have a retrofitter take a look at the sign and the environment in which people usually see it (metro area with lots of competing lights, suburban area that's fairly dark, and so on). Once the new fixtures and bulbs are in place, you and the sign should be set for a while.
For more information, reach out to a signage company such as Cardinal Sign Corporation.