Is It Safe To Leave A Light Bulb Socket Empty? (No, Here’s Why…)

We all know the pain of having light bulbs burn out when there is no fresh one in the pantry.

For this reason, it is easy to be tempted to remove a couple of your light bulbs, especially if you have several light sockets loaded with bulbs and don’t need that much light.

(In this regard,) Is It Safe To Leave A Light Bulb Socket Empty?

No – don’t do it. While leaving light bulb sockets empty might be acceptable for adults, they pose an electrocution risk and fire hazard. Lint, dust, flying bugs, or moths can get ignited into the socket, potentially causing a spark or fire.

If you must remove your light bulbs from their sockets, make sure to insert a plug adapter into the socket instead of leaving it open.

In this post, you will learn more about light bulb sockets and what you can do to ensure safety.

See Also: Can A Bad Light Switch Cause Light Bulbs To Blow Out?

Should You Remove “Dead” Bulbs From Their Socket Or Leave Them?

It is common knowledge that open light bulb sockets are never safe for children.

The biggest safety issue associated with open bulb sockets is the dangerous high voltage exposed at the bottom of the socket.

For safety reasons, if your light bulb burns out at a critical moment but you don’t have a new one to replace the burned-out bulb immediately, it is a good idea to leave the dead bulb in its socket unless you have another way to fill the socket.

But how is it a good idea to leave a dead bulb in the socket?

Dead bulbs do not consume energy.

Typically, before burning out, lightbulbs convert all the electricity they draw to light energy.

As such, when the light bulb burns out, it no longer draws electricity simply because it cannot convert to power.

How To Fill An Empty Socket Safely

If you don’t want to leave the burned-out bulb in its socket, there are other ways you can fill the socket to ensure safety.

While this is relatively simple, depending on what you are using to cover the open light bulb socket, filling an empty socket requires one to consider several precautions in order to avoid the risk of being electrocuted.

That said, here are a few ways to fill an open light bulb socket. Always remember that electricity is hazardous.

1. Use Fillers Or Adapters

You can buy non-metallic safe socket fillers, which are simply plastic pieces that can easily screw into empty bulb sockets.

They insulate the open socket and provide a better aesthetic and pleasing look than using electrical tape strips.

Even better, adapters work better in case you are filling sockets in an area that children can easily reach.

When it comes to functionality, adapters have an advantage in that they help convert the bulb socket into an outlet to plug in your phone and charge.

2. Use Electrical Tape

You can use electrical tapes to cover up open sockets as you still look for a replacement bulb.

Electrical tapes are preferred in a case where a bulb that has burned out cracks, becoming more hazardous.

3. Leave A Dead Bulb

If you don’t have a standby bulb to replace burned out bulbs, one of the cheapest options is to leave the dead bulb in the socket for as long as possible or until you buy its replacement.

As long as the glass is not damaged, then you have nothing to worry about over a dead bulb in the house. It poses no harm and does not consume electricity.

Does Electricity Escape Through An Open Light Bulb Socket?

When you switch on and off your light bulb socket (without a bulb in place), it will not impact the amount of electricity available.

Because there’s no bulb to convert the electricity to light energy, electricity will definitely escape when you turn on the empty light socket because no electric current is flowing.

In this case, for current to flow through a light bulb socket, there must be a functional light bulb in place that can complete the circuit.

As such, until you attach a non-faulty light bulb to the socket, the socket will not in any way consume electricity.

You can give it a try by continuously checking your electricity meter.

As much as it will cost you nothing by having several or a few open sockets in your house, it may at times pose a considerable danger in case of an accident.

For example, if an electric spark occurs in the socket, it might lead to a colossal fire outbreak because there is still electricity within it, and the spark can complete a circuit.

Above all, an uncovered light socket that is left on, even when not touched to produce sparks, can be very hazardous to both you and your property.

In a few circumstances, electricians will design a socket that is parallel to the circuit, which automatically gives a short circuit.

In such a case, electric energy will continue to flow, thus overheating and melting the wires because they lack a bulb to help dissipate the energy they carry.

This, therefore, becomes more dangerous and can cause huge losses in case of an electrical fire outbreak.

Therefore, you should always make sure that you cover all empty sockets or replace blown-out light bulbs to reduce electrical risks. Do not be fascinated that empty sockets do not consume electricity to overlook the fact that they still carry some electricity.

Is It Safe To Leave Open Sockets Turned On?

Now that you already know that open sockets do not consume energy, it should not give you a guarantee to switch them on anyhow.

A switched-on open socket poses more possibility of an accident. Let’s say, for example, if dust and bugs get to the open socket, they can complete the circuit and cause a fire.

You may also be wondering if a light socket can shock you. In a situation where the socket has a bulb, it is safe and will not shock you. On the contrary,

if you touch it with a wet hand or touch a metallic part of the socket, you may conduct electricity, complete the circuit, get shocked and potentially harm your body.

In a situation where a light bulb socket is empty and switched on, it is always a shock hazard. That’s why you should always fill light bulbs and be very cautious when handling open sockets.


Leaving your light bulbs sockets empty can be very dangerous and, should anything happen, they may end up bringing losses you never expected.

Therefore you need to ensure that all your light bulb sockets are covered.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you can keep your family, friends, and property safe from electric fires that may result from not covering all empty light bulb sockets.