Are Your Lights Flickering? Here Are Some Possible Reasons

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If your lights are flickering and they are not Christmas tree lights or even possible ghost interference, you will most likely be annoyed with the repeated nuisance blinking. It could either be a problem with a simple and easy solution or could be an indicator of a much more serious electrical issue that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Don’t be tempted to ignore this type of issue, as it could affect the safety of your home and serious consequences like electrical home fires can occur. We will be sharing some information that could help your “investigation” and possibly pinpoint the root cause of your flickering light. From there, you can get the help that you need from a professional electrician or you can even just apply the fix yourself for uncomplicated issues.

Before we go through the possible reasons, let us first differentiate between dimming and flickering lights.

If your light is brightening then dimming swiftly, then it's flickering, whereas dimming is when the brightness of your light drops a notch and stays on that level. We will focus on the flickering of lights.

When investigating your flickering light situation, the first that we would suggest is to look for patterns to narrow down possible causes.

What do we mean by pattern?

1. Pattern 1: Is it one light flickering only? If yes, most likely it is an isolated issue. It could be a bulb that’s loose in its socket.

2. Pattern 2: Multiple lights are affected but in one room only. This could be indicative of a circuit issue. Don’t attempt to try to fix this yourself. Call in your trusted licensed electrician. (Don’t have one? Click here)

3. Pattern 3: Your lights flicker only when large appliances are on – this is a much bigger issue that most likely calls for an electrical upgrade (will discuss more of this in the next section), as the power in your home is not enough to sustain your electrical needs.

4. Pattern 4: Flickering issue affects your house – if you observe this, then your lights have a major issue and you are at high risk of an electrical fire. You certainly need a licensed electrician to assess the problem for you.

5. Pattern 5: Your neighbors are also experiencing the same flickering issue- if you can spot this, this means that the problem is not in your electrical system but a much wider issue from your electrical company. If you notice flickering of lights not contained in one area only, it is wise to call your electric company and ask if there are other reported cases, so that you can deduct that from your list.

Here are simple fixes that you can do when you observe flickering lights in your home:

Simple Fixes for Flickering Lights

1. Tighten loosened bulb – the socket might not be in proper contact with your bulb, thus resulting in flickering.

Tightening loose bulbs is probably the quickest fix for the isolated issue. But before tightening possibly loose bulbs, safety first, please! You just have to simply turn off the power, if the bulb is warm or hot, use a glove then adjust by rotating the bulb into its socket.

In case you are using older light fixtures, it could be that the sockets have been subjected to wear and tear, and rotating it in place might not help. In these cases, you will have to replace the whole thing or the socket.

2. Upgrade your bulbs to a smart bulb – if replacing your switch doesn’t solve the issue for those using a dimmer switch, then you can upgrade to smart bulbs. This type of bulb doesn’t need any physical dimmer switch, so even if you have old wiring, it won’t be affected anymore.

3. Upgrade your switches – if the issue is not a bad bulb, then your wall switch might be the culprit. Make sure to check if the bulbs you are using are compatible with the dimmer, as a mismatched bulb and dimmer could lead to flickering and even buzzing sounds.

4 Downgrade back to regular incandescent light – upgrading to LED lights is a good decision, as they last long plus you can save money; however, there are some ceiling fans with lights that don’t work properly when using LED ones. If you have recently upgraded to LED lights but the fixture keeps on flickering, then try reverting to regular incandescent light.

If your issue isn’t covered by the simple fixes above, then most likely you have a bigger problem that demands assessment, repair, or replacement from a professional electrician. Do not put your household at risk, as not all can be DIYed or searched on the web or YouTube. Additional warning, if you notice the unusual sound and even burning smell from appliances or devices, treat it as an electrical emergency and call in the electrician.

Here are more reasons for flickering lights that needs a pro to solve:

1. Wiring issues – wiring issues are not limited to flickering light problems but can also cause a more serious complication– arcing that could lead to electrical fires. You have to call a licensed electrician to pinpoint this issue. This is why it is also important to have an electrical inspection, as it covers your electrical wiring or if you live in an older house, make sure to budget on having your electrical wiring upgraded. 

2. Fluctuations on electrical voltage – flickering lights, bulb burnouts, and dimming of lights are some tell-tale signs of fluctuations in your electrical voltage. In a 120-volt circuit, you will most likely get a reading of 115-125 volts, if it's higher than 125-volts, then the voltage in your home could be too high, resulting in flickering lights. This could mean that your electrical system has major issues that need to be diagnosed by a licensed electrician.

3. Issues with electric utility service – as mentioned earlier, if several houses in your neighborhood are experiencing flickering lights, then your provider is to blame. Call your utility provider for the next step.

4. Overloaded circuit- sometimes flickering of light could happen if a major appliance or device starts up, but if the flickering is frequent, then your circuit is overloaded. Again, do not attempt to solve the issue by yourself and call in an electrician.

If you are concerned with lights flickering at your home, click here and let Same Day Pros help you.

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