Nearly a century ago, the flag code (the U.S. government’s guide to displaying Old Glory) was amended to account for people who wanted to display the flag at night. In the past, the flag was only intended for display from sunrise to sunset, but the new code specified that people could display it at all times as long as the appropriate flagpole lighting was in place.
That’s the trick, though, finding the right lighting for the job. Fortunately, there are fixtures and lamps that make flagpole lighting easy.
How are Flags Properly Displayed with Lighting?
The typical residential flagpole is about 20 feet high, though some homeowners prefer a 25-foot pole if they’re living in a two-story home. This extended height poses a challenge to lighting installers, especially because the flag is mounted at the top of the pole. This means downlighting cannot be installed at the top to illuminate the flag. Instead, well-positioned uplights are required. In nearly every case, you’ll need two lights to allow for complete flag coverage, as this prevents pole shadows from interfering with the display.
There are three primary considerations when lighting a flag, including:
- Lighting angle – The taller the flagpole, the wider the beam angle. For shorter, 15-foot poles, a tight beam angle is ideal (20 degree spread or less). For 20 and 25-foot poles, a wider beam spread is necessary. This could be anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees, depending on the fixture you’re working with.
- Lighting intensity – The taller the flagpole, the brighter the fixture. A lot of lumens are lost from fixture to flag, which is why you’ll need high-output fixtures for proper display. For a 15-foot pole, fixtures that output around 2,000 lumens may be sufficient. You’ll need to crank the lumen count higher for 20-foot poles (about 7,500 lumens) and 25-foot poles (anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 lumens).
- Color rendering – Color rendering refers to a lamp’s ability to accurately present colors. A light’s color rendering capabilities are measured on the color rendering index (CRI). High CRI lamps are recommended for flag lighting, as this will ensure the best look.
Flagpole Lighting Requires a Ring Mount for Proper Operation
A special mount is needed for flagpole lighting. With standard lighting poles, the fixtures are mounted to the top of the pole, but this clearly isn’t an option with flagpoles. Instead, lighting installers will use a ring mount that attaches to the pole and provides a spot for lamp placement.
Our flagpole mounting ring is available in 12V and 120V varieties, depending on whether you’re using line or low voltage fixtures. It’s constructed from aluminum or brass and can fit flagpoles that are 5” in diameter. Brass mounting rings are available in an acid rust finish or no finish at all. Aluminum rings are available with a black or bronze textured powder coat, which protects the fixtures from corrosion.
Flagpole mounts are extremely easy to install and require only a screwdriver to place.
Our Landscape Lights are an Ideal Fit for Flag Lighting Applications
Once the mount is placed, the lights are ready for installation. In this instance, the best option for flag lighting is a set of directional fixtures. Bullet fixtures are one such option.
Why directional fixtures? Bullet and spot fixtures produce a tighter beam spread that is ideal for targeting objects further away from the light. In this way, directional fixtures act like a stage spotlight – they frame the target with a sharp beam of illumination.
We provide a wide variety of LED bullet and spot fixtures ideal for flagpole lighting applications.
What are the Advantages of Using LED Lighting for Flagpoles?
LED lighting is preferred over other legacy lighting technologies because it comes with a few added advantages. They include:
- Better energy efficiency – LED lighting is the most efficient lighting available, so if you prefer displaying your flag through the night, you can do so without spiking your utility bills.
- Minimal maintenance – LED lighting is maintenance-efficient because once it’s installed, it requires almost zero maintenance to continue functioning optimally. On average, an LED flagpole light will provide upwards of 50,000 hours of quality performance before replacement is required. That’s several years’ worth of immaculate lighting.
- Excellent lighting quality – It depends on the lamp, of course, but well-made LED lighting can emit thousands of lumens with superior clarity.
LED lighting is the first choice for flagpole lighting (and many other modern lighting applications), but should you go with solar-powered lighting or wired landscape lighting?
We recommend sticking with wired over solar lighting for a few reasons, including:
- Wired lighting is brighter than solar lighting – Wired lighting is brighter and more consistent than solar lighting. Solar lighting output is greatly affected by the sun’s availability, so it’s more difficult to get the same quality look night after night with solar.
- Solar lighting can be affected by weather or nearby obstructions – Clouds are a big problem for solar lighting and will affect how long or how bright the fixtures emit. Weather isn’t the only issue, though. Solar lighting installed near walls or landscaping may also be affected by shadows, so precise placement is needed.
- Solar lighting must be replaced more often – Solar lighting comes with additional components, including the solar panels and batteries for power storage. More components mean more potential failure points, and that means more frequent replacement.
With LED Flagpole Lighting, Your Flag Will Look its Best, Day or Night
Flags are a beacon, and when properly lit, they can be a beacon in the night. To create that effect, though, you’ll need the right fixtures and lamps. Fixtures and lamps like our pole mount and directional LED lighting. With them, you can proudly display the Stars and Stripes (or any other flag), day or night.