Some Neon FAQs
This is not exhaustive, but is hopefully useful.
NEON ITSELF - some key points
The neon lights themselves are all hand blown and bent in the UK, in my handwriting. Some are bent and blown by me (though I do not weld on the electrodes nor fill the tubes with gas myself), some are bent and blown for me by one of the few master glass blowers in the South East. One day (soon), I aim to bend all the pieces myself (and indeed, for most of my newer pieces, the bending is all mine), though for now, please understand some are bent by my hand, other letter that I still can’t do myself yet (or couldn’t at the time I designed the piece) by an expert with 30+ years experience. There are very few people in the UK who can blow and bend their own glass and the skill achieved by the guys who have done some of my glass is amazing and should be recognised. Having spent many thousands and many, many hours learning glass bending myself, I am still years off being as good as them, though I am pleased to be one of the very few artists in the UK who can bend their own glass.
Most neon lights contain either neon gas or they contain argon gas and a drop of mercury. Some of the glass tubes are clear, some are coloured tubes and some are coated inside with a phosphor powder. It is these combinations, and the use of the different gases, that gives the various colours.
Although the neons can just be hung straight onto the wall (via 2-3 hooks or screws) and plugged in, I recommend you use a qualified electrician who is used to handling neon, to prevent any risk of it being broken and ensure it is properly installed. Hooking them onto a wall/resting them on screws combined with being plugged into a readily accessible socket means they are classed as portable.
If you wish to operate your neon from a light switch and have a wall socket hidden behind the frame (the frames are hollow) into which you want to plug the piece, you can do this though will need an electrician to run the connection through the wall to a readily available switch you can access to turn the light on and off and ensure this connection is compliant with relevant regulations - there is not an on-off switch on the outside of the artwork piece itself so usually the way of switching it on or off is via plugging or unplugging the piece at the wall socket.
My pieces have a one year warranty against mechanical failure (i.e. transformer ceasing to work, significant light colour loss). That does not cover any damage made to the piece within that year (such as but not limited to breakage or a problem resulting from incorrect installation), nor any issue after 12 months post purchase.
The neons are made from glass (these are “real neon” not LED fake neon - LEDs are not neon lights). As such, they are fragile and must be handled with care. If you break they glass, you are responsible for the costs of any replacement if you want it replaced. I may be able to do the replacement, or can recommend a neon sign maker who may be able to do the work. Please note, sometimes glass colour availability over time would mean the exact same colour would not be available.
Neon light is very energy efficient - more so than fluoroscent lamps, for example. They also generally give off a brighter (and in my opinion, far nicer) light than LEDs.
They do not get very hot - when correctly made and installed they run warm. The electrodes on either end do run hot and should not be touched. They are also covered with a silicone cover which must not be removed.
In terms of how long the neon should last - it can last decades! It all depends how much you have it on. Typically, if you have it on 24 hours per day, you could expect it to last 8-15 years (provided you don’t break the glass) or longer, though the transformer may need replacing before that (buyers will need to replace the transformer at their own expense, unless it becomes faulty in the first 12 months post purchase. Please note, a good transformer is usually around £80-120 at the moment) . So, if you have your neon on only a few hours per day, it should last many years (again, provided you don’t hang it somewhere it gets exposed to too much heat, to moisture, to things likely to knock it!).
Keep them away from children and pets, and places they could be easily banged. This is to prevent them being broken, or curious hands trying to remove the electrode covers etc. They run off a very high voltage (albeit low current).
Avoid areas of high moisture.
My neon signs are designed for indoor use only. Do not use them outside.
Do not place them closely above radiators or sources of heat. This ruins the transformer and also damages the background print.
If anything goes wrong with your sign - please do not attempt to fix it yourself. Contact me or a qualified electrician, to take a look (if beyond the 12 month period I may recommend a sign company to take a look).
If there is anything you’re not sure about, please feel free to contact me via the contact page.