Why it's a bad idea to leave Christmas lights up for too long

Decorating with lights all year seems tempting, but should you?

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
smart Christmas lights
Alina Bradford/CNET

Since many smart lights can be programmed with an app to match the color motif of any holiday, it may seem like a good idea to keep your lights up year-round. Even though red, white and blue lights may sound festive for Independence Day and orange and black lights sound like the perfect addition to Halloween decorations, think twice.

Smart lights are not intended for year-round use. In fact, many, like the iTwinkle Lights by GE, were only intended for around 90 days of use, per year, max. Cords can dry out and crack when exposed, long-term, to the elements and can cause shorts in the wires or electrocutions when touched. Worn wires can also cause a fire hazard. Plus, using them more than the suggestion on the box can void the warranty.

If you really want to use lights throughout the year, there is a solution to make putting them up and taking them back down again a snap. Screw in cup hooks 4 inches apart on the trim along your roof line or on the trim around windows.

Whenever you want to throw up a strand of lights, all you need to do is hook the strand on the cup hooks. No need to spend hours installing light clips. To make the cup hooks invisible, spray paint them to match your trim before putting them along the roof line.