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Importance of Light Poles & How to Maintain Them

Posted on: February 20, 2018

Light poles play an important role in the safety and security of everything from residential streets and housing developments to parking lots, restaurants, shopping centers, and industrial facilities. With the effects of winds, vibration, and corrosion in a typical outdoor environment, frequent inspections and maintenance are essential to ensure that a light pole is safe and structurally sound.

Why Light Poles Are Important to Businesses

Light poles make it easier to navigate dark roads, walkways, and parking lots, helping to avoid accidents and injuries. They also discourage crimes like vandalism and theft, and they provide the extra safety and security that businesses require to attract customers after dark. When given the choice between a bright, well-lit business or one with insufficient lighting and burned-out or flickering bulbs, most customers will choose the brightly-lit business simply because it feels safer and shows that the owners have pride in their business.

Proper Light Pole Maintenance

Over many years, winds, vibration, metal fatigue, and corrosion can affect the structural integrity of a light pole, increasing the chances that it will topple over during inclement weather or from an accidental impact. The constant flexing can also damage wires, causing electrical hazards, plus normal wear and age can cause bulbs, photosensors, or timers to fail. To avoid injuries, property damage, and operational failures, routine inspections and maintenance are critical. This typically includes:

  • Inspecting the light pole base – The base is the most critical part of a light pole. Winds and vibrations can cause welds between the base plate and the pole to fail. The welds should be inspected for cracks, flaking, or other damage and repaired as necessary.
  • Checking for corrosion damage – The entire pole should be checked for rust and corrosion, which can deteriorate the metal, making it prone to cracks or breaks. If corrosion is found, a hammer and punch can be used to determine its extent, with any denting, flaking, or deformation indicating serious damage. Ultrasonic equipment can be used for a more thorough inspection, if available. Any corrosion should be repaired by removing the affected sections and welding in new panels, or by replacing the entire pole.
  • Inspecting fasteners – Bolts, nuts, and screws can work loose over time. Each fastener should be checked for tightness, and nut covers should be replaced, if equipped, to prevent tampering.
  • Inspecting arms and fixtures – Arms, brackets, light fixtures, and other attachments should be checked for looseness, missing fasteners, and metal fatigue. Any problems should be repaired.
  • Checking Covers – Hand hole and base covers should be inspected and replaced if missing or damaged.
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  • Electrical system The light pole should be tested for stray current, defective grounds, shorts, or other electrical problems to avoid shock hazards and injuries.
  • Replacing bulbs – Bulbs and ballasts should be checked for proper operation, replacing any that are burned out or damaged.
  • Testing control systems – Photosensors, timers, and other controls should be tested for proper operation and repaired or replaced, if necessary.

Although a basic visual inspection can be done yourself periodically, light poles should also be inspected by a professional on a regular schedule.

Light Pole Maintenance in Southern MD & Northern VA

At John Goudie Electric, we can ensure the light poles and parking lot lights at your facility are safe, secure, and structurally sound. We feature advanced diagnostic equipment and bucket trucks to provide complete inspection and maintenance services, as well as licensed electricians to correct any electrical problems we find. We serve commercial facilities throughout Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia, providing comprehensive electrical services that range from light pole maintenance and repairs to electrical service upgrades and complete build outs.

To schedule an appointment at your Maryland or Virginia business, contact us at (301) 710-5968 today!