Do you offer a bespoke service?
Yes, please get in touch to discuss your requirements. If you're unsure of exactly what you want but have a vague idea, I can work with you to come up with the final design and offer guidance on all aspects, or you might know exactly what you want. Email me at email@example.com or call on 07799 737 317 to have a chat.
How much does it cost?
Bespoke pieces start from £600 and vary depending on the typeface, size, style and mounting choices. This cost is based on you having a good idea of what you're after, and includes an initial mock-up and two changes if necessary. Further changes will be charged for, but I try to be fair and keep the cost as low as possible.
How long do neons last?
How long is a piece of string? It's impossible to give an exact life-span as it greatly depends on how often the light is on. Unlike an incandescent bulb, which has a filament that can burn out, neon lights have no filament, and have a typical life span 8-15 years.
Other factors have an influence on a neons life-span, such as storms / lightning and the environment it's in. The transformers are guaranteed for a year. Unfortunately most neon colours can not be 're-gassed' if the glass is broken, and it will need to be replaced.
Do I have to have my neon on a panel?
No, they can be mounted directly to a wall. In London we can arrange installation for an extra cost. It's also possible to mount it yourself and instructions can be provided, though this is not for the faint-hearted! Please note that not having the panel does raise a few issues. For example, the electronic transformers have a limited cable length for the section between the light and the transformer itself (not the power cable length), and if the transformer is not mounted behind a panel it needs to sit on the floor below the neon, so depending on how high the neon is to be hung, a different (larger, heavier and slightly more expensive) transformer may need to be used. You could also choose to have your neon on a panel that's not much bigger than the neon, giving the illusion that it's directly mounted to the wall, but avoiding the issues direct mounting raises.
Are the gasses in Neon dangerous?
The most common gases used in Neons are neon and argon which are inert gasses and pose no personal or environmental threat by themselves. Argon/Mercury filled tubing contains a small amount of mercury, which poses no danger as long as the tubing is in tact. Approved disposal methods must be followed for disposal of argon/mercury filled tubing. Check with your local council for instructions on proper disposal of tubing containing mercury.
The gases in a neon tube are all inert and completely non-toxic. When mercury is used in a tube, its toxicity is equal to that of a mercury thermometer. There is not enough mercury to represent a health hazard if transiently exposed. However, any mercury droplets released from a broken tube should be cleaned up and disposed of.
Does Neon get hot and can I get burned?
No. The lit Neon tubing is cool to the touch and doesn't give off heat. The transformers give off some heat but this is minimal and safe.
Even in the worst scenario, a direct shock from the high voltage end of a neon transformer is usually only an unpleasant experience and not a serious threat as the transformers are designed with maximum current output limitations. Obviously it's best avoided, and any repairs should be performed by an experienced neon technician.
It is not uncommon to experience a faint buzz or crackle when touching a tube or sculpture. This is normal and harmless. If a sculpture or tube "bites" or is otherwise particularly unpleasant - unplug the piece and speak to your electrician. The plug/cord demands the usual care and precautions of any electrical device.
Even though neon lights operate at a higher voltage, the transformer does all the work, which keeps electricity costs low.
Snaking or Beading:
Sometimes the light in a tube moves in a corkscrew or worm-like pattern. This is called 'snaking' or 'beading', and is a normal but transient sign of a new tube. It stops within days or weeks especially when turned on and off a few times.
Before cleaning your neon make sure it's unplugged and cool to the touch. Clean with a soft cloth such as a t-shirt dampened with water. Paper towels are too abrasive and may scratch the finish. For grime buildup (smoke/grease etc.), a glass cleaner can be used. Do not apply solvents of any type as they will damage the finish. Frequent dusting is recommended using a soft clean paint brush or feather duster.