LED Retrofits Done Right

Before you begin an LED sports lighting retrofit project, it's important to understand that a successful project involves more than swapping out fixtures. Light poles and cross arms are critically important in terms of avoiding serious safety issues and ensuring the best possible on-field lighting.

If the existing poles and cross arms have been in place and exposed to harsh weather for a number of years, it makes little sense to swap fixtures without inspecting the condition of these highly important structural components. Not only could unreliable cross arms and poles result in significant damage and harm individuals at the stadium, they also could result in misaligned fixtures, reducing light levels on the field of play and potentially creating spill light and glare for neighboring homes.

For wood poles, you should conduct a visual inspection to see if the poles are leaning, cracking or twisting. Leaning or twisting can affect alignment and reduce light levels. It's also a sign that the pole's structural integrity might be an issue. Next, check the condition of the wood by driving a screwdriver into the base at ground level to check for rotting or deterioration.

Steel poles typically don't suffer from leaning or twisting, but it can happen if the base has been buried without adequate backfill or a properly designed foundation, so be sure to check. You should also visually inspect the mounting arms, pole shaft, welds, wire access openings, base plates and anchor bolts for signs of corrosion, rust bleeding and metal fatigue. Check for loose nuts and hand-hole conduits and make sure the pole's electrical access covers were in place.

Poles that were installed more than 15 years ago might have built-in climbing steps or safety cables. Today, the climbing of poles is restricted, so the use of this equipment has been reduced, but you should still check to make sure they're properly attached and free from corrosion or decay.

Check the base of the pole above and below ground to look for signs of corrosion, and make sure if your poles have a protective mastic coating that there's proper coverage and no corrosion or pitting. Inspect the interior and make sure the coating is present at a level above ground water and that there is no corrosion.

Any red flags like signs of deterioration, corrosion or rust on poles of any type can be a sign of larger problems, and you should call in a professional inspection company.



Musco Sports Lighting