Sometimes, flickering lights are a problem you can solve on your own. In fact, it can be as easy as tightening a light bulb! However, flickering lights can also indicate an electrical hazard in your home, which is why we’re going to explain when to “DIY” and when to involve a professional.
7 REASONS WHY LIGHTS FLICKER IN HOMES
Below are some of the most common “culprits” behind flickering lights and tips about what to do in each situation.
Loose Light Bulb
If there’s one lamp or light fixture in particular that keeps flickering, it might just have a loose light bulb. When a lightbulb isn’t screwed in all the way, this can create a gap between the bulb and the socket, which can cause flickering. Shut off the power to the light, and use an oven mitt or heat-resistant glove to unscrew the light bulb and then screw it back in tightly.
Plug Not Plugged In All the Way
Before calling an electrician, don’t forget this step when troubleshooting a flickering lamp. Make sure that the plug is plugged in completely and not loose in the outlet.
Dimmer Switch Matched with Incompatible Bulb
Typically, it’s a good idea to save money by swapping out your incandescent light bulbs for LEDs. However, you might find that your old dimmer switches aren’t made to work with these newer, more energy-efficient lights. When buying replacement bulbs, it’s essential to check the ratings on the bulbs and your dimmer switch to ensure compatibility. You also have the option of upgrading your dimmer.
If the problem is isolated to one lamp or fixture and you’ve already gone through the troubleshooting steps listed in the three sections above, there might be a problem with the switch itself. For your own safety, leave wall switch repairs and lamp repairs to a professional.
If your lights briefly and occasionally flicker when one of your major appliances turns on, this typically is not something to worry about. However, if the flickering is very noticeable, happens every time a large appliance starts up, and keeps going while the appliance is running, this points to one of two things: a problem with the appliance or a hazardous issue with your electrical system.
If one of your appliance’s components is failing, this could cause the struggling equipment to draw a lot of power through the circuit. If the appliance is functioning just fine, then the circuit is being overloaded. In other words, more power is flowing through that circuit than it’s safely designed to handle. For this issue, it’s best to involve an electrician to inspect your home’s circuits, circuit breaker panel, and other areas of concern.
It’s normal for your home to have minor voltage fluctuations as long as it registers between 115 and 125 volts. However, dramatic fluctuations can have a noticeable impact on your lights, making them burn out faster, dim unexpectedly, and flicker persistently while a major appliance runs and after it stops. This is definitely not a problem with a DIY solution, so please contact an electrician to repair the issue safely.
If the flickering in your home has worsened over time, loose, old, or faulty wiring and connectors could be the cause. This issue can be a major safety hazard, as it increases your home’s risk of an electrical fire.
When electrical connections are loose, this can cause a dangerous situation called arcing. Arcing is when the electrical current “arcs” or jumps over the gap between two connections, and that split second of sparking can start an electrical fire. From 2012 to 2016, local fire departments responded to an estimated yearly average of 44,880 home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction. Arcing played a significant role in that number.
Many older homes lack the wiring capacity to meet the demands of high-powered contemporary appliances and electronics. If you own a home that’s older than 20 years and suspect that there might be a problem with its wiring or any other part of its electrical system, don’t wait to have an electrician perform an electrical safety inspection.
At, My Electric Works, our electricians are fully licensed and insured and will provide you with friendly, professional service that respects your time and property. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your home’s electrical needs: (614) 515-4520.