Tips for Installing Exterior Pole-Mounted Lighting Systems

Installing a pole-mounted light or luminaire is a complex process that takes harsh ambient conditions—including temperature, corrosive chemicals, dirt and even physical abuse—into account. Read on to get to know the basics about pole lighting installation.

Start with preparation

The first step of luminaire installation involves architects, civil engineers or landscape architects. Before making any decisions regarding exterior lighting, it’s important to secure proper clearance and approvals from all involved parties. If you’re working on a new construction project, make sure final grading and appropriate site landscaping is finished prior to installation.

Choose fixtures carefully

When choosing an exterior luminaire, watertightness is key. Check all sealing needs and related electrical components and replace any defective items. Try to avoid products that use steel components, since they’re prone to corrosion, but always follow the fixture manufacturer’s instructions. As you select a fixture, review local codes to make sure the fixture you select can handle the typical wind conditions of your area.

Prepare the foundation

Install all electrical work during form preparations for pole foundations. Make sure there’s plenty of conduit and extensions, and that all conduits conform to manufacturer’s recommendations. Install anchor bolts in the concrete and allow for proper curing. It’s best to use the fittings provided by the manufacturer, although bolts with a plated or galvanized finish provide enhanced protection against corrosion. When the pole is in place and you’re ready to pour the concrete around the pole, keep the bolts in plumb orientation.

Install the pole

Proper mounting is of utmost importance during pole lighting installation. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions, including their bolt pattern, since orientation can be critical to securing the mounting plate. Use leveling nuts, flat washers and lock washers to hold the pole in place. Finally, add a non-shrinking or expanding concrete grout between the pole base and the concrete foundation. It’s best to put a small drain hole through the grout to the pole interior to provide for proper drainage.

Wire the connections

The next step of pole lighting installation involves wire connectors. Make sure your connectors have below-grade rating, which keeps them safe from moisture. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the label to determine maximum size and number of conductors required.

Add the lamps

Once the pole is installed and electricity is connected, add the actual lighting fixtures as the final step of the process. Generally, you should select an E-type lamp for an enclosed fixture, an S-type lamp for an open one and an O-type lamp with protective glass if you’re looking for additional protection from damage. Make adjustments as necessary to ensure the light is distributed and aimed at the right spot, and be sure to follow all ordinances that restrict light pollution from nearby properties.

Pole lighting installation is not a do-it-yourself job—it requires the knowledge and expertise of professional electricians who know exactly what they’re doing. With a large and expensive fixture like a luminaire, you can’t afford a shoddy job. Contact Walsh Electric today to learn more about the process of pole lighting installation.