A flickering light bulb is an annoyance that can be caused by anything from a loose bulb to the outdated wiring.
While some of the causes of flickering lights are minor and easily fixed, others can become fire hazards if left unchecked. By knowing the cause of flickering lights, you can make sure a minor inconvenience does not become a severe problem.
Here’s a quick guide on why you may have lights flickering in your house and what to do about it.
1. Checking the Bulb
Fluorescent bulbs flicker for a variety of small, non-concerning reasons.
They may flicker because the temperature is cold or they’re powering up, among other things. However, if the bulb is flickering frequently, you may want to contact an electrician.
Flickering in LED bulbs is often related to dimmer switches. Many LED bulbs do not produce a high enough voltage to work with dimmers. If this is the case, change the light bulb to one designed to work with a dimmer.
Make sure the lightbulb is screwed in correctly. The bulb should sit tightly enough against the socket to make a stable connection and work properly.
2. Loose Connection
Flickering lights can occur because of a loose connection between the power switch and bulb. You can check the connection by gently wiggling the switch. If this causes the bulb to flicker, replacing the switch should fix the issue.
A flickering light bulb can also occur because of a loose connection between the plug and the outlet. This can be fixed by unplugging the light and adjusting the metal prongs.
3. Overloaded Circuits
You may have overloaded circuits if the lights flicker or blink when you turn on an appliance.
Many homes, especially ones that are older, can only support a certain level of electrical voltage. In such homes, too many appliances being on at the same time can cause flickering or blinking lights.
If this only occasionally happens, it’s not much cause for concern, but if the lights continue to flicker or do not come back on, this may be a sign of sensory overload on a circuit.
You should contact an electrician to discuss increasing your electrical supply or having a dedicated circuit if this is the case.
4. Old Wiring Connections
If your lights continue to flicker after troubleshooting, this indicates an issue with your electrical system. This can include:
- Loose wiring
- Loose service conductors
- Switch failure
- Worn breaker box connectors
It is recommended to call an electrician to investigate and fix the issue as soon as possible to avoid it becoming a fire hazard.
5. Factors Outside Your Home
If you share a transformer with surrounding homes, flickering lights can be caused by neighbors’ heavy electrical usage.
It is also possible that a storm or downed tree took out the power lines, or there is an issue with the electric utility service. This may be the case if you notice your neighbors’ houses are also having issues with their ceiling light flickering or power outages.
Fixing Flickering Lights
While flickering lights may sometimes just be a minor annoyance, they may potentially be pointing towards a serious electrical issue.
If you have a flickering light bulb, check the bulb, switch, and outlet to see if it is possible to fix the issue on your own. When you cannot fix the light on your own, call an electrician to help, especially if your lights are flickering frequently.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out some of our other quality articles about home care and maintenance.