I have a Christmas lights setup where one extension cord has its ground socket empty and facing upwards.

Do I need to worry about rain water potentially getting into the open ground socket? If so, would covering the hole with electrical tape be an appropriate fix?enter image description here

  • 5
    A permanent fix would be to install a weather proof outlet (GFCI protected) at that point with an in-use cover. Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 9:03
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    Also it looks like those lights say for indoor use only right on the tag...
    – Grant
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 12:10
  • 5
    It looks like all three are exposed to the environment
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 12:32
  • Yes, you should. The plugs and sockets are usually sealed by air and plastic. They are not waterproof. The tag, @Grant is referring to, is there for a good reason.
    – Crowley
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 16:21
  • 2
    @Grant - The lights are actually for indoor and outdoor use.
    – Craig
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


You would do well to pull some slack to that extension cord and arrange the plugs so that they at least face down. It is not just the GND terminal of the extension cord that is of concern. You also have the open prong holes on the stackable Christmas tree light string that is facing up.

Water that gets into the electrical plug contacts raises the most concern that it can and will lead to corrosion on the metal contacts.

I have found that a better overall solution is to arrange the Christmas light installation so that plugs and extension cords are terminated up under the roof overhang.

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    First paragraph +1 .... On the other hand, as for the novice doing something with plastic bags and tape, open air upside down is a far better option. Last christmas a neighbor asked me why their christmas light wouldn't come on, I found two plastic baggies full of water with plugs taped inside.
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 13:32
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    @Tyson - You have a good point. I'll change the answer.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 13:47
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    Right, most don't understand that the plastic encased connection must still have drip loops.
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 13:51
  • I appreciate the detailed response. It's good to know that it won't cause a fire or something disastrous. As noted below, I ordered some protector sleeves to help reduce the risk of water getting in and will look into the drip loops.
    – Craig
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 18:24
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    @Craig Don't read this wrong, but if you keep your situation as it is in the picture, there's definitely a risk of fire. Water itself won't do much (unless there's enough salt or other impurities in it), but the corrosion it facilitates will lead to an increased chance of shorts. I've seen outdoor-outlets where the waterproof cap fell off catch fire like that.
    – Mast
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 21:50

Another option may be to put the connection in a protector sleeve like this:

enter image description here

This one is available at Home Depot for $5.

  • 1
    With that cover you need drip loops. Snap that cover over the OPs plug just like they oriented in the picture and water can run down the cord and straight into the plug. In that case, it's actually not an improvement since the cover hides the fact water can run down the cord and get in. If the user understands what a drip loop is, then that cover would be fine.
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 16:33

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