May 15, 2022

How to Properly Light a Flagpole

Lighting Analysis Example by manufacturer RAB Lighting
Lighting Analysis Example by manufacturer RAB Lighting

Flag Day, celebrated every year on June 14, commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777. It was on that day that the U.S. approved the design for its first national flag. That flag now inspires communities throughout the country to show support for America and its service members.

Flag Day is also a great time to remember flag etiquette and the U.S. Flag Code. The code outlines rules and regulations for flying an American flag. If you’re flying a U.S. flag, it’s important to show it off properly. And, you won’t be doing it justice if you purchase an inexpensive, outdated light fixture for illumination.

Proper lighting will not only beautify the flag, but also help showcase your facility in a classic, respectable way. Here is more information on the best ways to light a flagpole and how to avoid some of the most common mistakes.

Flag Lighting Rules and Guidelines

American flags must have “proper illumination.” This generally means a light is specifically placed to illuminate the flag, or the flag should have a light source sufficient to illuminate it so it’s recognizable as such.

While the Flag Code states its universal custom to only display a flag from sunrise to sunset, this isn’t always possible for commercial properties. If the flag is displayed 24 hours per day, it must be properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

How to Light a Flagpole

Lighting your flag depends on the size of the flag and fixture selection so for specific guidelines check with the fixture manufacturer as instructions can vary.

Generally speaking, light fixtures must be mounted in the ground, not on the flagpole itself. Inground fixtures should be set back from the pole 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the flag. Floodlights may be set back from the pole 1/2 to 1 full pole length. Light fixtures should be aimed at the ball at the top of the pole. For optimum lighting, three fixtures should be used to illuminate a larger, pole-mounted flag. This ensures the shadow of the pole will not obscure the flag. Three lights also ensure proper illumination regardless of wind strength and direction, accounting for the flag flowing in different ways.

A low field-to-beam ratio can allow for there to be a hard beam, making the light more focused. Another thing to keep in mind is solar lights are typically not reliable enough or bright enough to properly illuminate a flag. Using standard fixtures can ensure the flag is properly lit at all times.

Flag Light Fixture Options

Lighting the flag with respect and reverence involves using the best-quality lighting products available. Set yourself up for success with the proper products to light the flagpole appropriately.

  • Manufacturer RAB offers a 78-watt LED spotlight which is not only powerful, but it can also illuminate the flagpole properly due to its high lumen output and concentrated narrow beam distribution. In fact, this spotlight can illuminate objects up to 80 feet away should your property need to light a flag that is far away.
  • The HS LED 26 NA spotlight by RAB is perfect for flag lighting, with spot lighting for over 40 feet away, a 100,000-hour life, and availability in four colors.

Contact Us

Displaying the flag is an honor that should be planned and properly executed. Commercial managers can show their patriotism and support for their local communities and country at-large by taking the time to light the American flag appropriately. Bay Lighting can help you determine what you need to light a flagpole at your facility, as well as where the spotlights need to be placed to allow for proper illumination. Contact Bay Lighting today at 301-858-9494 or fill out our online contact form and a representative will reach out to you as soon as possible.

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