How to deck your halls, permanently, with year-round LED lights

For many, this is the time of year for decorating the tree, hanging stockings, baking delicious goodies and, finally, climbing a ladder to the roof to complete the most frustrating (and, perhaps, dangerous) holiday task: putting up outdoor lights.

Regardless of your thoughts on how soon is too soon for setup, hanging Christmas lights remains one of the most inconvenient tasks in a homeowner’s holiday checklist. However, in recent years, permanent outdoor smart lights have been surging in popularity. These lights, controlled via smartphone apps and installed by professionals, can significantly outlast standard holiday lights and provide more versatility for use in all seasons.

Typical holiday lights are not designed for sustained, year-round use. Most lighting manufacturers rate outdoor lights for only 90 consecutive days outdoors to prevent frayed or cracked cables, which can cause electrocution. This is not the only hazard traditional lights pose, either.

Every year, installing lights routinely lands several people in the hospital. A 2015 National Post story noted that over the previous 10 years, Calgary’s Foothills Hospital had treated 40 decoration-related injuries, two of which were fatal. This phenomenon is prevalent enough that it was the subject of a 10-year injury study from 2002-12.

Calgarians who do want a more permanent and hassle-free lighting setup have a few options to choose from. Both Calgary-based Gemstone Lights and U.S-based Trimlight can install smart lights for local homeowners, with packages sized to fit most homes and budgets. From their respective smartphone apps, the colour and pattern of the lights can be adjusted to fit any season or occasion.

Installation involves mounting a metal rail on the home, a process that usually only takes a day to complete. Once installed, these permanent lights are rated to last 50,000 hours, according to Gemstone, which works out to more than 20 years of usage at an average of 6 hours a day.

Prices can vary greatly from home to home, but both Gemstone and Trimlight offer free quotes for service within the Calgary area.

Regardless of which installer or package you choose, permanent lights are a surefire way to make your home a little bit safer, and a lot brighter, this holiday season.

By Stefan Strangman - December 4, 2020