LED Sign Retrofits and Conversions. What a Bright Move! 

With the ease and simplicity of LED retrofits and conversions, more businesses are opting for this bright idea for their signs. If you have older, fluorescent T12-style lamps in your sign, you can reap many benefits by retrofitting them to LEDs. But what exactly does this mean, and why should you consider it for your business? Let’s break it down in a simple and straightforward way. 

LED Retrofits involve upgrading existing signs by replacing older lighting technologies (like neon or fluorescent lights) with energy-efficient LED lights.  

LED Conversions typically mean switching out the entire lighting system of a sign to LED, often involving a more extensive overhaul than a retrofit. 

Converting existing signage to LEDs offers numerous advantages. Three key benefits are: 

  1. Energy Savings – LED lights are highly energy-efficient, consuming up to 80% less electricity than traditional lighting options like neon or fluorescent bulbs. This substantial reduction in energy use translates directly into lower utility bills, providing significant cost savings over time. 
  1. Longevity and Durability – LEDs have a much longer lifespan compared to traditional lighting options. While incandescent bulbs might last around 1,000 hours and fluorescent lights about 10,000 hours, LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours (about 5 and a half years) or more. This means less frequent replacements and reduced maintenance costs. 
  1. Enhanced Visibility and Versatile Design Options —LED lights provide brighter and more uniform illumination than traditional lighting. This enhances the visibility of your signage, making it more noticeable to potential customers. LEDs also offer greater flexibility in design. They can produce a wide range of colors without the use of filters and can be dimmed or programmed for various lighting effects. 

How Does the Retrofit or Conversion Process Work? 

The process of retrofitting or converting your sign to LED typically involves the following steps: 

  • A professional will evaluate your existing sign and determine the best approach for retrofitting or converting it to LED. 
  • The next step is designing the new lighting system. This might involve creating a custom solution that fits your existing sign structure. 
  • Technicians will install the LED lights, ensuring they are securely in place and properly wired. This step is crucial for safety and longevity. 
  • Finally, the new LED system is thoroughly tested to ensure everything is working correctly and efficiently. 

Before making the switch to LEDs, there are a few things to consider. First is the cost. While the initial cost of LEDs can be higher than traditional lighting, the long-term savings on energy and maintenance often justify the investment. Your sign vendor will be able to help provide a quote based on the right LEDs for your project. This may involve customizing the LEDs to fit your existing sign structure. 

The process is not as complicated as you might think, and it is common to complete a retrofit in under one day with little to no disruption to your business. Many fluorescent signs use a T12 lamp that is easily swappable with LED light sticks. In short, the lamps inside your signs are usually compatible with LED retrofitting. The same is true for channel letters. Of course, no two signs are alike; however, the retrofit process is pretty straightforward. Utilizing existing lamp sockets and installing stick-style LED lighting significantly reduces the labor time when converting your sign to LEDs. 

Something else you might want to consider while retrofitting is a face replacement. What condition are your sign faces in? If they are cracked, worn, peeling, or faded, it would be wise to have them replaced at the same time. Even new LEDs won’t make old faces look good. 

In Summary 

Converting to LED signage offers substantial benefits, including significant energy savings, extended lifespan and durability, and enhanced visibility and design versatility. These advantages not only lower operational costs but also improve the overall effectiveness and appeal of your business signage, making it a smart investment for any business looking to modernize its advertising and branding efforts. 

If you have questions about converting your signs to LED, talk to your sign company. They can provide you with LED lighting options and pricing to help you make an informed decision.