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Why Do My Lights Flicker?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Find Out Why Your Lights Flicker and How to Fix Them

Are you having problems with old house lights flickering? It’s often a cause of concern when the lights in your home or office keep flickering for no obvious reason. They are quite annoying and can cause safety concerns if left unaddressed. But don’t worry because we’re here to help you understand why they happen and what to do to fix lights flickering frequently.

Electrician lights flicker DIY fix
Check out the list below for the most common causes your lights might be flickering.

Common Causes of Lights Flickering Frequently

You might be wondering, “Why do my lights flicker every night at the same time?” or “Why do my lights flicker when I turn something on?” Flickering lights can occur for several reasons, including electrical problems, environmental factors, and faulty light bulbs.

This blog will explore some of the most common reasons your lights keep flickering and what steps you can take to handle the problem. Understanding the underlying causes of flickering lights can help you take the necessary precautions to keep your home safe and secure. On that note, below are a few common causes of lights flickering frequently:

Faulty Light Bulbs

One of the common reasons behind lights keep flickering is simply a faulty light bulb. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix – you just need to replace the bulb with a new one. But if the problem persists even after replacing the bulb, something else is likely causing the flickering. It’s best to reach out to a licensed electrician to diagnose and fix the problem.

Loose or Damaged Wiring

Another possible cause of lights flickering frequently is due to loose or damaged wiring. This can happen over time as wires get old and start to deteriorate. The loose wiring could also be due to animals chewing on the cables or a DIY project that went wrong. If you think the wiring is the problem behind your flickering lights, you should call a qualified electrician to address the issue.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your lights are flickering, along with some info and suggested solutions.

Problem With the Electrical Panel

The electrical panel or breaker box is part of the electrical system responsible for controlling the distribution of electricity in a house. If there’s a problem with the panel, this can cause a wide range of issues, including flickering lights. There are various possible reasons why an electrical panel causes flickering, such as an outdated or damaged electrical panel or faulty wiring.

Overloaded Circuit

If too many appliances are drawing power from a single circuit, it can cause the lights to flicker. This happens all the time in older homes, which are not equipped to handle the electrical demands of modern appliances. You can find out if this is the case by unplugging some of your home devices and seeing if the problem persists.

Electrician lights flicker diagnose control panel
Make sure your circuit breaker panel isn’t overloaded.

Voltage Fluctuations

Why do my lights flicker when I plug something in? Sometimes, it’s not because of your home’s wiring or electrical system. It could be due to voltage fluctuations, which occur when the power grid experiences heavy usage, or a problem with the electricity supply to your home. The good news is it is typically a temporary problem and will resolve on its own.

Bad Dimmer Switches

If you have a dimmer switch installed for your lights, the switch itself may cause flickering. Older dimmer switches are often incompatible with newer light bulbs, particularly LED ones, causing flickering. They may even damage the bulbs. If you suspect your dimmer switch is the culprit, try replacing it with a newer, LED-compatible switch.

Flickering lights can be a nuisance but are usually caused by one of the common problems mentioned above. They are generally easy enough to fix or resolve on their own. But if you are unsure of the cause or uncomfortable trying a DIY fix, it’s always best to call a trusted electrician to diagnose and perform the necessary repairs.

Electrician lights flicker dimmer switch fix
Each of these solutions could fix your light flicker issues.

How to Fix Flickering Lights in the House

Flickering lights can be frustrating, but there are ways to fix it, even on your own. The first step is to pinpoint the exact cause of the flickering. If it’s a faulty bulb, the solution is simply to replace the bulbs. But if it’s not the bulbs, try inspecting the wiring at the light fixture and circuit breaker. As said before, loose or damaged wiring can cause flickering lights.

Check the switch as well, as it could be faulty and will require a replacement to fix. Another possible cause is overloading, which usually happens when running multiple appliances. In that case, consider plugging in the different devices you are using into various outlets. This will balance the power draw and hopefully stop the flickering.

Some household appliances draw a large amount of electricity. Examples of these are air conditioners and refrigerators. If flickering happens when you’re running these appliances, the problem could be a voltage drop. You can solve the problem by plugging your fridge and AC into dedicated circuits. But if it doesn’t work, it’s best to call a licensed electrician.

Get Help from a Professional

If your lights flicker frequently and the problem quickly becomes a reason to worry, it’s best to contact a professional. Some common reasons behind flickering lights can be serious concerns, which are best handled by a licensed electrician. If a simple swapping of bulbs doesn’t work, a professional electrician can perform a safety inspection, troubleshooting, and repair to help you.

Flickering Lights FAQs

Are flickering lights a sign of a more serious electrical problem?

Yes. Flickering lights can indicate a more serious electrical issue, such as loose wiring or a faulty electrical panel. If your lights are frequently flashing for long periods of time, you need to call a qualified electrician to address the issue. Ignoring persistent multiple lights flickering in the house can result in more serious problems, such as damage to your appliances or electrical fires.

Can LED lights flicker?

Yes. LED lights can flicker. The most common cause of flashing LED lights is an incompatible dimmer switch. Ensure that you use a dimmer switch compatible with LED lights to prevent them from flickering. In some cases, LED lights flicker due to voltage fluctuations or an issue with the LED driver. If the flickering is persistent or you’re unsure what the cause is, it’s best to call a licensed electrician for help.

Is it normal for lights to flicker occasionally?

Occasional flickering is typically not a cause for concern. It can happen due to temporary voltage fluctuations in the power grid. This is more common during peak usage times, such as on hot summer days when many people use air conditioners. But if your lights keep flickering a lot and for a long stretch of time, it could indicate a more serious electrical problem.

How can I prevent lights from flickering in the future?

You can prevent lights from flickering and dimming in the house by using the correct wattage and type of bulb for your fixtures. If you have an incompatible dimmer switch, it also helps to replace it with a compatible type. Also, avoid overloading circuits by unplugging unnecessary appliances and upgrading your electrical panel if necessary. Keeping your electrical system up-to-date and well-maintained not only prevent lights from flickering but also other electrical problems.

Can flickering lights affect my appliances?

Flickering lights can potentially damage your appliances if electrical surges or voltage fluctuations cause them. Devices that rely on a steady power supply, such as refrigerators and computers, are especially susceptible to damage from electrical surges. Fortunately, you can protect your appliances from damage using voltage stabilizers and surge protectors.

Hire a Local Electrical Pro

The methods above are effective DIY tips to investigate, diagnose, and fix your flickering lights. But if you need professional help, then don’t hesitate to contact a local electrician using the phone number or form on this page.

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