How to Prepare Your Outdoor Signage for the Weather

Outdoor signage maintenance is essential if you want to protect your installation. Some displays aren’t built to be moved inside during severe weather, so you’ll need to not only know how to pick the right equipment, but protect it once it’s installed. Weatherizing is not something everyone has to worry about but if you’ve installed outdoor, year-round digital signage screens, you need to be prepared. The following is some pertinent information on how to gauge and prep your outdoor signage for the weather.

Installation 101

Only use signs that are prepared for the climate in your region. Choosing hardware that fits the purpose will help you minimize the risks of display failure in the event of extreme weather. An outdoor sign should typically be able to handle not only direct exposure to sunlight, but dust, humidity, condensation, extreme heat and cold, rain, wind and snow.

Ruggedized displays began as military applications but are quickly becoming popular as more complex screens are being moved outside. These types of displays and servers operate at a much broader temperature range than most devices—usually between -40°F and 140°F+. They’re also specifically designed to resist water and particulate ingress (dust and sand).

Displays that are built for the outdoors are often manufactured with heat dissipating “fins” molded into the chassis and CPU-intensive software applications with special built-in cooling technologies. Choosing hardware that can operate in a wide temperature range, under varying conditions, will ensure your equipment lasts throughout the seasons—regardless of its outdoor placement.

The Damage is Done

Even if you throw a cover over your signage in the winter, there is a lot of damage that can be done if you do not install and prepare properly. Here are some examples of what weather can do to your outdoor digital displays if you haven’t adequately prepared:

  • Staining from salt or weather chemicals
  • Over-exposure from the sun
  • Electric shortage or malfunction
  • Humidity and moisture issues
  • Power outages and blown outlets
  • Water leakage inside the display
  • Extreme temperature damage

There are a variety of ways in which you could fail to protect your outdoor digital signage. The first step is understanding your installation and how things can go wrong. The next step is knowing the methods for reducing risk.  

Preventative Maintenance

Salting near your outdoor signage is a bad idea. Over time, salt permanently stains and can damage furniture, equipment and walkways, and your signage is no different. If you need to rid ice from areas near your outdoor signage, consider sand as an organic alternative.

Additionally, removing any yard debris like leaves or over-hanging branches will help keep your equipment safe during winter weather. Rake any leaves and growth from around the sign as to prevent discoloration or staining of the equipment. Do not leave debris rotting on or near your equipment.

Lastly, it’s important to monitor your systems throughout the season. This kind of ongoing attention will see to it that your systems will be running in top shape.

Future Costs

A high functioning outdoor heating and cooling system will ensure reliability in extreme conditions. In order for this to work, the outdoor digital signage needs an enclosure.

The best way to protect your outdoor digital signage is to house it in a canopy, awning or other protective structure. Building a simple foundation for your outdoor signage may incur an additional cost but it will extend the life of your hardware in the long run. Interactive touchscreen displays are especially susceptible to poor weather, so take extra care in protecting them.  

If you choose to install outdoor digital signage in your establishment, planning is crucial. Keeping the technology clear of chemicals, moisture and precipitation is the first step to protecting your investment. Additionally, choosing the proper equipment for your climate is essential to success.

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