Neon Sign Repair – How to Fix a Broken Neon Sign

Neon sign repair process

When it comes to neon sign repair, a few things must be considered. These include the type of sign, its size, the extent of damage, and the tools needed for repair. This article will go over all of these topics to help understand what it takes to maintain or fix neon sign problems, whether by yourself or with the help of a professional.

How do Neon Signs Work?

Before we can delve into how to repair neon signs, let’s first understand how they work: Neon signs are typically glass tubes that have been filled with an inert or noble gas such as neon (or mixture of gases), and supplied with electrodes at each end.

When electricity passes through the electrodes, it excites the gas, which then emits light. Today, neon sign makers also use LED bulbs to make neon signs. Although not as bright as the traditional neon tubes, LED bulbs are much more efficient. They’re also less demanding to maintain.

Whether glass or LED based, neon signs can still suffer from wear and tear, and eventually need repair. Before neon sign repair can begin, the type of damage needs to be identified. So what are the types of problems that you may encounter when your specific sign goes bad?

Vintage neon sign repair (electrode wires)

Neon Sign Problems

Neon sign problems involve damage to the different parts that make up the sign. This can be cracked or broken glass that leaks gas, loose wires or connections, corroded contacts, worn out backing, a burnt-out transformer or even faulty power supply. Here is how to know if you’re having neon sign problems:

Neon Light Flickering

A neon sign may flicker due to a defective transformer or a broken tube that has leaked gas. In such cases, the sign may eventually go out completely leaving with nothing but a dark and empty void. A neon sign flickering could also be a loose wire connection that can be fixed by tightening the connections.

If you have a new neon light flickering, the reason is most likely that the gases inside have not been equalized yet. This flickering will usually go away after a few days as the gases settle. If it does not stop, you may need to check the power source and make sure that it is providing enough voltage for the sign to run properly.

Neon Sign Turns on Then Off

If a neon sign turns on then off, the problem may be a faulty power supply connection or even a loose wire connection due to wear and tear. It could also be that the transformer is not working properly, mostly as a result of an electrical short. In other words, power is not flowing to the neon sign as it should.

Neon Sign Half Lit

You have the neon sign half lit, which is usually due to leaking gas over time. In a working sign, an electrical current passes through pieces of sealed glass tubes, exciting the gas and causing it to glow. If one part of the sign is cracked and leaking, it will not light up. It could also be a power problem in that part of the sign.

Neon Sign Flickers But Won’t Turn On

If the neon sign flickers but won’t turn on, then this could be a result of transformer fault. It shows the tube is not receiving enough voltage to keep it lit, maybe due to a short. You could also be having a leaked tube. The cost for replacing a burnt-out transformer can vary depending on its type and size: we’ll see more about that in the “cost section.

Can Neon Signs be Fixed?

Yes, you can easily fix neon signs. However, the extent of repair needed will depend on the type and size of sign, as well as the amount of damage. If only a small part is damaged or worn out, then it can usually be easily repaired.

Neon sign repair entails replacing a broken glass tube, refilling leaked tubes, cleaning the contacts, or rewiring the connections. If using a glass-based sign, that may also require a replacement of the step-up transformer that these signs use.

It’s good to note that neon sign repair parts are readily available today. These include neon transformers, glass tubing, and other components to help fix the signs. Learn more about these and how to go about fixing a broken sign below.

Neon glass tube repair

Neon Sign Repair

Let’s now see how to fix neon signs. The first step in the neon sign troubleshooting process is identifying the cause of the problem. This can be done by visual inspection, or with the help of a voltage meter.

Note: Neon sign repair is a delicate and dangerous process that requires specialized tools and expertise, especially if working with older glass signs. To ensure safety, it’s best to hire a professional with experience in this type of work.

Generally though, your neon sign repair task will usually involve either a broken tube or a broken transformer.

Neon Glass Tube Repair

Can a broken neon tube be repaired? The short answer is yes. This is actually the most common repair task when it comes to neon signs. As we saw earlier, these tubes can break or crack and allow air in, which often results in a flickering sign or one that won’t turn on.

Neon tube repair involves replacing the broken or cracked tube with a new one. This can be done fairly easily as long as you have access to the necessary tools and supplies. Watch this video to see how to fix a neon sign with a broken tube.

Neon Transformer Repair

Neon transformer repair requires removing the faulty part and replacing it with a new one. This can be done by disassembling the sign, unplugging the old transformer, and then installing and connecting a new one.

Again, this should only be done by someone with experience in neon sign repair. However, if you’re a knowledgeable DIY-er, you may want to watch this short video: it shows how to replace a neon sign transformer in a just a few steps.

Neon Sign Repair Cost

The cost of neon sign repair will depend on the type and size of sign, as well as the amount of damage. Generally, a small neon sign can be fixed for around $50-$75, while larger signs can cost up to $250 or more.

It’s important to know that with any repairs, there is always the possibility of additional costs for parts or labor depending on your location. So one neon sign repair shop will charge more than another for the same type of repair.

Overall, neon sign repair can be a tricky process, so it’s always best to hire a professional with experience in this kind of work to get the job done correctly and safely.


Over time or due to unforeseen circumstances, a neon sign may develop issues that require looking into. Neon sign repair typically fixes a broken tube or transformer by replacing it, a loose wire connection by tightening it, or corrosion on contacts by cleaning them. With proper care and maintenance, your neon sign can stay lit for years to come.

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