According to U.S. Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 6(a): “It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset … However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”
But lighting the flag alone is not enough; you also need to illuminate the pole to provide a visual path that starts at the ground, reaches into the sky, and ends at the glorious flag.
- How bright? You want your flagpole and flag to be the brightest objects in your illuminated landscape. The dark red and blue colors of the flag require very bright lights because they absorb a lot of light. Select integrated or lamp-ready LED fixtures with brightness levels of at least 7 watts or 300 lumens (35-watt incandescent equivalent).
- How narrow or wide? Since the flag could wave in any direction, you want your beam spread to include any possible position of the flag. See below for more details.
- What type? Directional lights must be used since they are available in the narrow beam spreads required for lighting a flag. Of directional lights, both spotlights and in-grade (well-type) lights may be used. If you are forced to install the lights in turf, then an in-grade fixture is the best choice.
- How many? You need at least two (ideally three) lights to illuminate a flag. This ensures that the shadow of the pole will not obscure the flag.
- Located where? Since you need to illuminate both the flag and the pole, at least one of the lights needs to project light onto the pole as close to the ground as possible – this fixture needs to be within about 1 foot of the pole, or mounted on the pole itself. (See note below on Pole Mounting.) If more than one fixture is used, then the others can be mounted at the most convenient locations at any distance from the pole. (Only one fixture is needed to illuminate the pole – it is nearly always white and needs much less light than the flag itself.)
- More on beam spread: Find the narrowest possible beam spread to focus as much light as possible on the flag. The beam needs to be wide enough to fully illuminate the flag regardless of its position around the pole. If, for example, you have a 6-foot wide flag, the beam spread must encompass a circle with a radius of 6 feet with the pole at the center. This beam spread can be attained with one or more fixtures. With multiple fixtures, be sure to aim them precisely so their beams overlap. See the below chart to calculate optimal beam angles based on pole height and flag width.
- Note on Pole Mounting: Mounting the fixtures on the pole is often the best choice. Use the VOLT® Flag Pole Mount to attach any VOLT fixture to the pole.
For Other Pole Heights & Flag Sizes
The chart below shows the beam angles required for various pole heights and flag sizes. Instructions are located beneath the chart. For very tall poles, consider the Infiniti G4 60 LED Spotlight (Brass). This is an extremely bright fixture with interchangeable optics – including 12º & 24º – both likely beam spreads needed for your flag. (Use aluminum spotlight models when using the VOLT Flag Pole Mount.)