Light Pole Basics
Benefits of AluminumAluminum will always be the best value when purchase price, maintenance, and pole life are considered.
Aluminum will last longer than steel, fiberglass or wood poles. Aluminum light poles have been in use for over 50 years, and many of the original installations are still in service.
Galvanized steel will vary by the quality of galvanizing. Even the best quality may start to show rust after 5-7 years. Appearance will be the initial objection, but structural deterioration will occur in the years that follow.
Bare steel is not acceptable. Painted steel may begin rusting around the base and in areas that are scratched in the first year of use. Many painted steel poles will rust through and become structurally dangerous in less than ten (10) years.
Fiberglass may "chalk" affecting the appearance of the installation. Fiberglass poles also often split. Lawn mowers and weed eaters can cause significant damage, including pole failure. Overall life expectancy is unknown. Fiberglass does not have the proven longevity of aluminum.
Aluminum weighs less than steel. Aluminum's light weight offers easy installation. Steel poles often weigh 50% more than a comparable Aluminum pole and installation can be more expensive.
Aluminum breakaway designs, installed under poles that are lighter than steel, offer greater breakaway safety. Steel poles require an aluminum breakaway transformer base or a special slip base ot meet breakaway safety requirements. Slip bases require critical torque of each bolt. Quality of original installation as well as changes in temperature, weather, wind, and many other factors affect the performance of slip bases. Fiberglass has a limited number of breakaway designs.
Aluminum is 100% recyclable. Scrap value can be significant. Steel has limited, if any, scrap value. There is no recycle value in fiberglass. Most landfills will not accept fiberglass poles.
Aluminum has over 40 years of successful embedding applications. Steel should not be embedded. Embedding is often the only way fiberglass can be installed without attaching an aluminum casting or other special fabrication.
Light Pole DictionaryANCHOR BASE — Base plate used to anchor poles to ground.
ANNODIZING — An electro-chemical process that produces a very strong oxide coating on the surface of the pole. This coating is very resistant to scratches and corrosion. It is available in a number of colors.
ANTI-GRAFFITI — A coating that is applied to the finished pole, that allows easy removal of painted graffiti. Most solvents can be used to remove graffiti paint without harming the anti-graffiti paint.
BUTT DIAMETER — Diameter at base of pole.
DAVIT ARM — A radiused (single member) luminaire arm that attaches to the vertical top of the pole. This type of arm gives the pole and arm the appearance of being a single member.
E.P.A. — Effective Projected Area (EPA) of a luminarie is its actual projected area times its coefficient of drag. Most luminarie manufacturers list EPA ratings of their fixtures in their catalog. The EPA of luminaire arms such as a truss arm, and any other such equipment used, must be added to the luminaries EPA to determine the total EPA capacity of the pole.
GROUNDING PROVISION — A drilled and tapped hole located near the hand hole to allow attachment of the ground connection and grounding wire.
ISOTACH WINDMAP — This is a mean occurrence wind map produced by the National Environmental Data Service, which gives the 50-year wind velocity for each area of the country. These 50-year wind values are used in designing poles.
MAST ARM — A single member luminaire arm, usually tapered and elliptical for optimum strength. They range from 6-15 feet in length.
MOUNTING HEIGHT (MH) — The height measured from ground level to the position of the luminaire. This height may include the rise of the luminaire arm and would subtract the burial length of an embedded pole.
PEDESTAL POLE — A term used to describe the short range of poles. These poles are generally 4-5 inches in diameter and have a 6-20 foot mounting height.
POWDER PAINT — An electrostatically applied powder paint that is then oven cured on to the pole.
SATIN FINISH — The natural sanded finish of an aluminum pole. This finish is a bright metallic finish which weathers very well over the life of the pole.
T-BASE — Originally used for housing ballast. Now primarily a breakaway device.
TRUSS ARM — A two-member luminaire arm that has vertical supports between the two arm members. The number of vertical supports is determined by the load and length of the arm. Truss arms range from 8-18' long.
WALL THICKNESS — Thickness of aluminum tubing used.
X-BASE — Functions as anchor base but provides breakaway mechanism.