Neon Maintenance Considerations and Cautions!
i) Neon and Water: Neon can be sensitive to heavy rains and high moisture resulting in high voltage arcing and transformer burn out. There are more neon service calls after a few days of rain or a round of heavy thunder storms. Repairs can be costly, especially if access is limited, or hard to get to possibly high up, creating the need for special lift equipment each time there is a repair.
iv) Neon Transformers: There are three main parts to the neon channel letter -the neon unit, wiring/GTO and the neon transformers. Being the most expensive component, most service trucks have a variety of 120 volt transformers on the truck, possibly one or two 347 volt transformers so they can replace a transformer on site. Some neon signs have rarer transformers that are not on the truck. Neon signs that are 347 volt or use HPF (high power factor transformers) that improve white neon illumination in cold weather are harder to get transformers. This will add to your service call cost if not on the truck as added travel is needed to drive to the supplier or come back in a few days once the transformer is in-stock.
v) Neon Service: Having the original drawings of your sign, schematic with voltage and size of transformers at your finger tips can save you money. Advising the service company of your special needs - i.e. 347 volt power transformers and/or HPF (high power factors) transformers, they can bring transformers from their shop stock just in case, saving you added travel costs and reducing your neon down time.
Couple of other service cost notes: Try to deal with a sign company which does their own neon in house. This will save you travel costs to and from the neon wholesaler, added mark up on neon and result in shorter turn around on service calls. The closer the sign company is to your store can lower your repair bill(s).
With 2 men and truck at over $ 125 per hour, a store
one hour away will add extra travel time. To travel out to the store and
back to the shop will be at least 2 hours or $ 250. With neon signs, one
can double this travel cost component to least a minimum of $ 500 as it
is not uncommon to have a neon unit out or transformer is out of stock.