We have several light sockets with light bulbs, controlled by a single light switch. I don't need that much light, so I want to remove a couple of light bulbs from their sockets.

Is that safe ?

In my case the sockets are pretty high up on the ceiling, and there is no danger of accidentally putting a finger in there.


Depends on what you mean by "safe". I wouldn't entirely trust it with a kid in the house, but it's probably fine for adults.

On the other hand, you can make it a bit safer by screwing in a dead bulb (which, like everyone, you'll acquire over time), or one of the edison-base-to-outlet adapters available at hardware stores. I'd consider either of those approaches reasonably child-resistant, especially given that the fixture is presumably out of reach of kids anyway. Not worth the effort, I expect, but you did ask.

  • 2
    I wonder how much money I could make selling molded plastic Safe-T-Bases for unused light sockets. Mar 13 '16 at 0:22
  • Yes, I can't believe they don't sell these!!
    – jtr13
    Nov 6 '18 at 19:40

I am a Fire Marshall. No, it is not safe. Lint, dust, a moth, or flying bug could cause a spark/fire. Better to leave a bulb in the socket, or insert a plug adapter than to leave the socket open.

  • Moths can make remarkably large fireballs when they tangle with 120 volts. Nov 21 '16 at 2:13
  • Glad my fire Marshall did not chime in like that lint going up into a socket on the ceiling? My bug zapper sparks moths and has never started a fire but there have been cool explosions in that thing. But I guess anything could happen.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 27 '18 at 20:16

I always leave a dead bulb in a socket, it is not like the electrons are going to fall and waste electricity without something in the socket, but it is so much safer.

002-00125-000 a product number from amazon , it changes the socket into a plug, in the middle of the page, there is a version for $2

I will feel better if you do.

  • 2
    I'd do something like this. Otherwise a tarantula or other large insect is going to crawl up in there, get zapped, set on fire, and ejected clear across the room into that pile of oily rags you keep next to the trashcan. Instant house fire. Not likely, but possible. Mar 15 '15 at 21:22
  • 4
    How much of a fool do you think I am -- A tarantula is an arachnid and not an insect.
    – Some Guy
    Mar 16 '15 at 0:17

You can put some tape over the opening and a warning label stating that they are still connected.

If you want to expend the effort you can remove the sockets and put a cover where the wires came out (again with labels stating the hotness of the wires).


It's about as safe as leaving an electric socket without a plug in it. How many of those do you have around your house?

  • It's really not comparable at all - sockets are deliberately designed to be reasonably safe to touch. In other words, the electrical connections are hidden in recessed holes to prevent accidentally shorting them out. Light socks are not - they're designed to have something occupying the space
    – Dan
    Oct 15 '15 at 16:51
  • @Dan - Have you seen the light socket for a GU10 bulb for example? Those electrical connections are certainly in recessed holes.
    – AndyT
    Oct 16 '15 at 9:49
  • @AndyT Well, then, please say "for a GU10 socket" in the answer. I mean, my appartment is full of E27 and E14 sockets, some of them on table / stand lamps within the reach of everybody. And these are not safe when unoccupied.
    – yo'
    Mar 12 '16 at 20:00

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