light socket outlet adapters for outdoors?

samahoweDecember 15, 2009

I've been wanting to wrap a lighted swag garland around my lamp post, but we don't have an existing outlet built in. Someone in Lowe's suggested I put a socket adapter on it to add an outlet, but they only have ones intended for indoor use. He said it should be ok as long as the light isn't exposed to rain/snow. The light is covered, but there is a gap that goes all the way around the base (similar one pictured below). Would it be unsafe to do that?

e only adapters I've seen, which are intended for indoor use, are similar to this:

My lamp post looks similar to this, except that it takes one standard size bulb, but you can see the opening near the base:

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Well, this is for temporary use, correct? I would say that, if you don't normally get rain/snow into the socket with a bulb in place, you shouldn't have a problem if you replace the bulb with a screw-in socket adapter. I don't know if the electrical code says anything about that, but, from a practical standpoint, I think you'll be pretty safe if you do this. I've got strings of Xmas lights on my Japanese maples and I just put a plastic sandwich bag around the connection of the plug to the outdoor extension cord, tape the bag opening shut, and make sure the opening is pointed down in case it rains. (Most people don't even bother with that.) In your case, although it might be overkill, you could put a plastic bag over your connection within the light fixture. Since I'm assuming there are no other light bulbs in the enclosure, and this plug-in should not be generating any significant heat, that shouldn't create a problem, and it would give you an extra bit of "water-proofing." Just my 2 cents. If anyone else sees a hazard here that I missed, please speak up.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 3:23AM
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This is a clarification to my answer above. I was thinking you were going to use a socket adapter like the one in the link below. If you are going to use the type that allows you to also have the bulb installed, then, obviously, you want to ignore my comment about putting a plastic bag over it! Nonetheless, whichever style you use, I think you should be ok.

Here is a link that might be useful: Socket adapter

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 3:52AM
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Yes it is only temporary, through the holiday. Just to dress up the post a little bit.

Yes, it's similar to the one in the link I posted. You screw the adapter into the socket of the fixture, then screw the light bulb back into the adapter. Light bulb will still be in place and working but then the Christmas lights will also be plugged into the adapter and on at the same time.

Would it be overloading it to have both the light bulb on and the Christmas lights on at the same time with this adapter? I wouldn't think Christmas lights pull much power at all, and it's only a 9ft string.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:00AM
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You're right...Xmas tree lights, especially that short a string, are not going to pull very many watts. The wiring to your outside pole is likely equivalent in capacity to any other circuit in your house and could probably carry a whole lot more than you'll have on it.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:12PM
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