Facts on Flagpole Lights

Under the United States code, Article 4, Section 6, the American flag cannot be displayed during the hours of darkness unless it is illuminated with lighting. While there are no guidelines on how a flag should be illuminated, the American Legion interprets it as light placed that specifically illuminates the flag or having area light bright enough to sufficiently illuminate the flag so that it is recognizable by the casual observer. If you prefer to display your flag 24/7, there are a variety of flagpole lights equipped with photo sensors that will automatically illuminate from dusk to dawn.


Types of Flagpole Lighting

The most common type of flagpole lighting is fixtures installed at ground level at the base of the flagpole. These fixtures are designed to be fixed in place and shine a light or lights on the flag during times of darkness. The best results are obtained from placing three lights around a single pole about one-third to one-half the length of the flag from the pole. The brightness of the lighting depends on personal preference.


Uplighters can be used if you prefer not to install fixtures at the base of the flagpole. These types of fixtures attach to the pole itself and focus on the flag rather than the entire flagpole.


Floodlights are used to make the flagpole and nearby landscaping a focus point. One floodlight is generally adequate to light the entire flagpole and the immediate surroundings.  You can also obtain spotlights that focus on the flag and illuminate very little of the surroundings so that you can spotlight the flag but also dimly show the landscaping around the flagpole.


Well lights are commonly hidden by burying them in the ground. Because of the positioning, there is a limited adjustment range and you will generally need at least two fixtures to properly illuminate the flagpole.


Types of Bulbs used in Flagpole Lighting

Most flagpole lighting kits are equipped with halogen bulbs. These types of bulbs are an advanced type of incandescent bulbs. The glass is stronger to contain the higher pressure halogen gas that is used. Halogen bulbs have been an industry standard for work lights and vehicle headlights for many years because of its ability to give brighter illumination than incandescent bulbs. 


LED lighting fixtures are the most energy efficient and eco-friendly lights available. In addition to energy savings, this type of light has a long life. Generally, LED lights burn up to 100,000 hours before needing to be replaced. Many flagpole lighting kits give you the option of choosing LED rather than halogen.


Both halogen and LED bulbs are available in different voltages. The lower the voltage, the less energy that is used when burning the light. High voltage lights have a brighter output, but generally cost more to burn and generally must be installed by an electrician because of the danger of working with high voltages.


Solar powered flagpole lights use the sun to power the lights. The sun's energy is stored during the day and can provide up to eight hours of illumination in flagpole lighting during the night. The advantage of solar lighting is that, once the system is installed, there are no further costs except normal maintenance.


The type of flagpole lights that you need will generally depend on the height of your flagpole and the brightness of its surroundings as well as your preferences on how you would like your flag displayed. Contact us for more information on flagpole lighting and the particular type that will suit your needs.


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