Setting Signage Timers to Daylight Savings. Usually.

It’s the time of the year where nearly everybody has to conduct their businesses under the lights. It’s the time of shrinking days, seemingly endless nights, and that little bit of chill that never seems to leave the fingertips.

One can’t change the weather. Everybody has to play the same rules. In situations like these, it’s time to learn the rules by heart and discover how to optimize every advantage possible.

When it comes to outdoor signage, it’s time to make sure the lights go on at just the right time.

Daylight Saving 2014 doesn’t end until Sunday, November 2nd at 2am

Thanks to government tweaking, the economy gets to work a little longer in the afternoon daylight than it used to. The problem is, not every signage timer has been calibrated to adapt to the new settings. If you have timed lights that you haven’t tested in awhile, you could go a couple weeks with the lights on an hour before they have to be on. That expense can add up over time.

Come Spring, the same issues could mean that the lights are late in coming, mistakenly giving the appearance that your business is either closed or has folded.

The farther west one is in the time zone, the later sundown is

Sundown between cities in a time zone can be over an hour apart, depending on how far east/west one is in a time zone. For example, South Bend, IN (home of Notre Dame University) and New York City, NY are both in the Eastern Time Zone. However, since NYC is near the eastern edge of the time zone and South Bend is a couple miles from the Western edge, South Bend’s sundown is, on average, approximately 50 minutes later.

The difference can become exaggerated depending time of year and longitudinal position. For example, Miami, FL and Toronto, ONT are nearly on the same longitudinal plane. However, in the summer, Toronto’s sundown will be later than Miami. In the Winter, the tables turns significantly.

There’s a difference between sundown and when the area around your sign loses daylight

Sundown is when the area can no longer visibly see the sun. “It’s dipped down behind the horizon.” The funny thing is, Sundown is typically calculated with the assumption that all the land is flat and without obstacles. For much of the world, the land is hardly flat. For those who live in valleys in either the Rockies or Appalachian mountains cities, the sun goes out of view well before sundown. In Colorado, Oregon, and other rocky mountain states, there are areas built near ridge lines that lose visibility with the sun an hour before sundown.

Test the timer scenarios

Check and doublecheck sundown in your store areas. Make sure your signage is calibrated based on visibility, not because it was read off of a website. Keeping these steps in mind could be the difference in leaving the lights on and being left in the dark.

Contact us today to get starting on building and optimizing all aspects of our outdoor signage lighting