Leave The Light On, Baby

The Holidays are here, but they’ll be gone before you know it. You’ve bought the presents; they’ll be opened. You’ve prepared all the food; it will be eaten. You’ve strung up all the lights; they will be taken down. … Or will they? Could it be? Can you really leave your lights up on the house all? Year. Round? Most likely, yes. Should you? Are you done with all the questions?? Ready for Answers??? Good.

Yes! … And No.
Think of any kitschy bistro with a chic outdoor patio area. It most likely has string lighting in some Edison style light bulb on thick black cords draped from the trees or between the roof of the building and some posts. Those lights are up and running all year and they are out in the elements. Extreme heat to extreme cold. These lights, however, are intended to be used for outdoor areas year-round. Christmas lights are designed to withstand moisture, and be outside, yes. But are they built to last in the extreme heat as well as the extreme cold?

Depending on the type of lights you’re using, you may just be in luck. Older models of incandescent lights can be left up year-round if you like. They are more susceptible to the elements, though. The shift in cold to hot can damage them, as well as prolonged exposure to rain and moisture. You may get a few seasons out of your lights, but in the end, they will need to be replaced soon than if you were to take the time to un-string them and carefully wrap them and store them in a safe, dry place away from any hungry critters.

LED outdoor lights, on the other hand, are better built and capable of withstanding the elements for longer than their incandescent counterparts. Consider the fact that LED bulbs save you money and energy. Now they can also save you time by being able to be installed once and lit up only when the season calls for it. Or whenever you dang well, please.

Should You Use Your Lights All Year?
Well, in the UK if you don’t remove them by Twelfth Night (the day the Wise Men reached Baby Jesus, not the play about a shipwrecked cross-dressing twin) you have to keep them up year-round to avoid bad luck. But honestly, that’s a total YOU thing. Dreary winter days are shorter, the temperatures are biting cold. But somehow soft, glowing lights on the bleakest of nights make the days a bit more bearable. However, as the frost begins to thaw and the sun sticks around a little longer each day, you may not want to keep your lights on. Or maybe you do. Depending on the amount of lighting you use (Traditional, Heavy, or Extravagant – you do the math) it could add anywhere from an extra $15 – $300+/month if you use incandescents, or $5 – $40/month if you use LEDs to your electric bill. It’s your preference in the end. As long as your lights are specifically designed for Outdoor use, do what you will.