Flagpole repair and maintenance
FLAGPOLE REPAIR & MAINTENANCE INFORMATION
Your flagpole is an investment, and with the right care and maintenance, it can stay looking great for decades to come. At Carrot-Top, we take pride in our line of flagpoles and top-quality flagpole parts and accessories.
Our customer service department is here to offer advice and insight for any questions you might have and can back it up with more than three decades of experience. We’d like to offer this comprehensive guide of suggestions for care, maintenance and repair for your commercial or residential flagpole.
Anatomy of a Flagpole
Here’s a breakdown of the various parts and components of a flagpole; you can also refer to diagrams that identify the parts and accessories of an internal or external halyard flagpole. For clarification to help you choose the right flagpole for your location, see our Flagpole Guide Buying Tips page.
This is a glossary of terms that you might encounter:
A - Finial
A decorative ornament that’s mounted at the top of the flagpole, above the truck. Typically, a finial might be in the shape of an acorn, a ball or an eagle.
B - Truck
Pulley assembly that mounts at the top of the flagpole. Stationary trucks are mounted over the top of the flagpole and are secured with setscrews, while revolving trucks screw into the flagpole’s top with a standard 1 ¼” National Pipe Thread spindle. Revolving trucks are mounted with bearings that allow them to turn along with prevailing winds.
C - Snaphook
Also referred to as a flag snap, the snaphook is a metal or vinyl hook with a spring closure, used to attach the flag to the halyard. Snaphooks are similar to the type of closure often found on a dog’s leash.
D - Halyard Channel
Usually several feet long, the halyard channel extends upward from the cleat, covering the external halyard and helping protect against theft or vandalism.
E - Halyard
The halyard is the rope that is used to raise or lower the flag and can be located internally or on the outside of the pole. The halyard runs through the pulley system in the flagpole’s truck and is secured with the cleat at the base of the pole.
F - Cleat
This T-shaped metal device holds the hoisted flag in place by wrapping the halyard around the cleat multiple times. The cleat is typically mounted to the pole about five feet above ground level.
G - Butt
The flagpole’s butt is its base end; the larger, lower end of the flagpole shaft.
H - Flash Collar
A cover that goes around the base of the pole at ground level, usually the same color and material as the flagpole. A flash collar gives the pole a clean, finished look and helps protect the flagpole and foundation from the elements.
I - Foundation Tube
A steel or PVC tube that is placed in the ground to support and hold the shaft securely in place.
Care and Inspection of Your Flag and Flagpole
How do I clean my flag and flagpole?
- Most aluminum flagpoles can be cleaned with mild soap and warm water. Simply attach a soapy sponge to the halyard, then clean the pole by raising and lowering the halyard with sponge attached.
- Flagpoles with anodized finishes, such as Clear, Bronze or Black, do not require cleaning. The anodized color serves as a protective coating, and cleaning the surface can actually damage them and void the warranty.
- Fiberglass flagpoles can be cleaned with a mild bathroom cleaner and water. Cleaning kits are available from Carrot-Top; call 800-628-3524 for details.
- Flags should not be dry-cleaned; spot clean with mild soap and water only.
- Remember that cotton flags are advised for indoor display or parade use only, as their colors can bleed and run when wet. Nylon and polyester materials are recommended for outdoor use.
How often should the flagpole and its components be checked?
Inspect the flagpole and its parts whenever you replace the flag.
- Flagpoles that are subject to extreme weather, such as high winds, extreme humidity or extreme cold, are at greater risk for damage and wear
- Cold weather can cause a halyard rope to degrade and dry-rot
- Salt air can cause a halyard rope’s fibers to appear “rotted out”
- Wind, rain and humidity can stress rope and cause it to fray
Raising and lowering the flag
- Be sure to examine the halyard for wear whenever the flag is raised or lowered
- If the flag isn’t lowered daily, check the halyard at regular intervals
- If weather is turning inclement, such as high winds, sleet or ice accumulation, be sure to lower the flag
Replacement of Flag, Flagpole or Component Parts
When should the flag, flagpole and/or component parts be replaced?
Replacing a damaged flag
- A flag that’s flown daily generally has a service life of about six (6) months, depending on weather and type of flag material. Refer to Carrot-Top’s Flag Etiquette Guide if you have any questions about proper flag handling.
- Replace your flag when it is frayed or fading; Carrot-Top’s Beacon or Patriarch flags are guaranteed for 6 months
- When the flag is replaced, check the snaphooks, truck, halyard and caulking around flash collar
Replacing the halyard, snaphooks, and snaphook covers
- Snaphooks and snaphook covers should be replaced whenever the halyard is replaced
- A halyard can be replaced without a bucket truck; just tape the end of the new halyard to the old one and pull it up the flagpole and through the truck’s pulley
- A little tape around a frayed halyard end will help it pass through the truck’s pulley smoothly. Be sure not to overlap the two ends or use an excessive, bulky amount of tape; you want the rope to glide through the pulley easily
- Questions? Call Carrot-Top’s Care Team at 800-628-3524
Broken or missing rope
- If the rope is missing or broken, call Carrot-Top’s Customer Care Center at 800-628-3524; our representatives can walk you through what you may need for repair or replacement
- A bucket truck might be required to run the halyard through the truck at the top of the flagpole
- If your flagpole shows signs of leaning or instability, contact Carrot-Top right away. Cordon off the area and avoid close proximity to the flagpole until it can be removed or stabilized
How can I be certain I’m ordering the right replacement parts for my flagpole?
The flagpole’s height, diameter and thickness of the tubing walls all figure into the ratings for the wind velocity that a flagpole can withstand, and the specific flag size(s) that the pole can display. When it’s time to purchase replacement parts, the following measurements will be required:
Above-ground height of the flagpole refers to the measurement from the ground to the flagpole’s top. The height will determine how much halyard (rope) the flagpole needs and what size flag can safely be displayed. If you’re not sure of the flagpole’s height, here are a couple of suggestions:
- Attach a string or fishing line to a helium balloon and let the balloon float up to the flagpole’s top. You can then measure the balloon’s string to determine the height
- Measure the length of your halyard rope, divide this number by two and add five feet
- Starting at the base of your flagpole, measure the length of the shadow along the ground. Insert a broom handle or straight stick into the ground. Measure the height of the stick from the ground to the top and the length of its shadow starting at the base. Using the length of the flagpole shadow, length of the stick shadow and stick height, enter your measurements into the following formula: Unknown height of pole / Length of pole’s shadow = Height of stick / Length of stick’s shadow Solve this by multiplying the length of the flagpole’s shadow by the height of the stick. Then divide that number by the length of the stick’s shadow. You should now have your flagpole’s height
- You can fashion a simple clinometer by folding a sheet of paper into an equilateral triangle. Hold the triangle at eye level and sight along its longest edge, making sure that your head is straight and not tilted back. Walk backwards until you can see the top of the flagpole while sighting down the triangle, keeping the bottom edge of the triangle parallel to the ground. Measure that distance to the flagpole, subtract your own height and you will have a pretty good estimation of the flagpole’s total height
This is the size of the top of the pole, and is standardized according to butt diameter and overall flagpole height. If you can supply Carrot-Top with that information, we can easily determine top diameter for you.
Butt or Base Diameter
The butt diameter will be needed to determine the size of the foundation sleeve, flash collar, ornament and halyard thickness. As close to the ground as you can manage, measure around the circumference of the flagpole with a measuring tape. You can then divide this circumference by pi (3.14) to determine diameter.
If you are unable to get these dimensions, or if your flagpole is already erected, don’t worry! A call to a Carrot-Top expert will help walk you through what you need to know to get the correct components.
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